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Physicians Call on Bush to Take Urgent Climate Action

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<-- Return To Surviving Climate Change

Online Book:
Read Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises (2001) online.

Source: Common Dreams

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 12, 2001
5:00 PM

CONTACT: Physicians for Social Responsibility
Tarek Rizk 202-667-4260

Physicians Call on Bush to Take Urgent Climate Action Administration Must Work to Craft New Energy Policy, PSR Says

WASHINGTON - December 12 - With the release of the latest in a line of National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reports dating back to the 1972 that warn of the potentially devastating environmental and health effects of global climate change, Physicians for Social Responsibility (PSR), called on President Bush today to take urgent action to prevent a climate catastrophe.

"There can be no higher priority for our nation's security and the health of the planet than curbing global climate change," said PSR's Executive Director and CEO, Robert K. Musil, Ph.D., M.P.H. "This NAS report should be the last wake up call the Bush Administration needs. To not respond with action is to risk American security and the public's health."

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The new NAS report, Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises, states that "greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional and global climatic events." The report goes on to warn that, "because climate change will likely continue in the coming decades, denying the likelihood or downplaying the relevance of past abrupt events could be costly."

The NAS report is a departure from previous warnings in underscoring the possibility of larger and more sudden changes than have generally been predicted including sudden snaps in average global temperature of up to 10 degrees C. Such a change would be even larger than the shift from the Ice Age to the current world climate system that has supported the development of human agriculture, civilization, and adaptation to disease.

A series of PSR reports called Death by Degrees has already documented in detail the potential for climate change to affect human society and health. Higher temperatures and increased weather activity can cause an increase in heat-related illness and death, worsen air quality with increasing cases of respiratory illness such as asthma, decrease water quantity and diminish water quality, and affect the spread of insect populations that carry diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Additional effects from sea level rise, flooding and drought can affect human settlements and food production globally and may produce large numbers of refugees subject to further disease and civil unrest.

"Now is the time for the Bush Administration to admit that it needs to work with the Senate to develop a new energy plan. The U.S. needs invest in responsible energy strategies that will curb greenhouse gas emissions," said Musil. "The only way protect ourselves is to decrease our reliance on fossil fuels."

PSR has been advocating that the United States clean up old and dirty power plants, invest in renewable energy sources, improve energy efficiency of appliances, and increase the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks.

"There is no more time to waste," said Musil. "The effects indicated by the new NAS report and by PSR's research could be as devastating as terrorist attacks. The Administration needs to act accordingly."

###

Online Book:
Read Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises (2001) online.

<-- Return To Surviving Climate Change

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