Global warming is the greatest threat humanity has ever known. When will we begin to treat it as such?
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of more than 500 scientists who for over 10 years reviewed existing scientific literature on climate change, concluded that global temperatures will rise 2.7 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. The primary reason for this warming, also concluded by the IPCC, stems from human activities, namely the burning of fossil fuels.
If nothing is done to reduce humanity's dependency on these fuels, Washington can expect increased drought and wildfires, decreased mountain glacier volume, increased sea level rise, decreased mountain snowpack that will cause stress on critical summer stream flows, and increased risk to human health due to toxic particulates in the air and intensifying summer heat waves.
These dire scenarios don't have to become a reality. We can still slow and maybe even stop climate change if action is taken now. Washington has already demonstrated that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is not only environmentally beneficial, but also essential to a thriving, sustainable economy.
Washington should continue to set an example to the rest of the nation by increasing funding in renewable and energy efficient technologies; supporting environmentally sound transportation and land-use policies; supporting the raising of vehicle fuel standards and embracing sound energy conservation practices.
Global warming is a reality. The question now is whether we have the courage and determination to face it.