How To Leave Global Warming Out In The Cold

Global warming, experts contend, is an urgent problem-but there are concrete steps every American can take to be part of the solution. There are so many things we do every day that use energy-therefore we have so many opportunities every day to make a difference.

The Problem

When cars, factories and power plants burn fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, they release global-warming pollution. These pollutants accumulate in the atmosphere for many decades, acting like a huge blanket that traps heat. That, in turn, warms our planet. The global-warming pollution, primarily carbon dioxide, emitted from the first model T's is still in the atmosphere, acting as a thickening layer of insulation. With our increased reliance on fossil fuels, the concentration of these pollutants continues to accumulate, threatening the stability of our climate.

Distinguished scientists across the nation have been surprised by the speed and severity of the issue and its effects on people's lives: the elderly suffering from heat waves, families whose homes are threatened by floods and eroding coastlines, hunters and anglers watching wildlife disappear and homeowners who are at risk of mudslides.

Scientists are convinced that we now have a small window of time to avoid the most dangerous consequences. If we join together now to solve this problem, they say, our children may be spared even more dramatic effects within their lifetimes.

Some Solutions

To help, there's a Web site that lists easy ways to help slow down global warming. For example, did you know that:

• An energy-conscious family can reduce its global-warming pollution contribution by over 35,000 pounds per year by taking such simple steps as selecting Energy Star appliances and insulating their house.

• You can save money on electricity by installing a programmable thermostat, which reduces global-warming pollution.

• If you plan your trips to combine errands, this will reduce emissions, saving gas, wear and tear on your car, and your valuable time.

• Whatever kind of vehicle you drive, choosing the most fuel-efficient model in its class is the single most important way to cut global-warming pollution.

"Global warming is the most serious environmental challenge of our time. It is more urgent and its dangers are more fundamental than most Americans realize," explained Fred Krupp, President of Environmental Defense. "Millions of individual Americans acting together add up to a powerful part of the solution. Many of the transformative solutions will emerge from America, the country with the deepest reservoir of scientists, engineers and bold investors."

Environmental Defense is a centrist organization dedicated to protecting the environmental rights of all people, including the right to clean air, clean water, healthy food and flourishing ecosystems. Guided by science, Environmental Defense works to create practical solutions that win lasting economic and social support because they are nonpartisan, cost-effective and fair.

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