2008 Articles for Climate Change Chapter 9:
What Are Governments Doing About Climate Change

2008 July 16. US EPA Says Greenhouse Emissions Endanger Health. By Deborah Zabarenko, Planet Ark. Excerpt: WASHINGTON - The US Environmental Protection Agency said on Monday that greenhouse gas emissions endanger human health, a critical finding that has languished in bureaucratic limbo since last December.
In a 149-page document, the agency's scientists said that "warming of the climate system is unequivocal" and that potential health risks include more heat waves, floods and droughts, insect outbreaks and and wildfires, along with crop failure and decline in livestock and fisheries productivity.
"This is a long-awaited EPA analysis that has been kept under wraps by the White House," said Vickie Patton of Environmental Defense. "It's of critical importance because it looks at the extensive body of science demonstrating that global warming threatens Americans' health and well-being."
The document posted on EPA's Web site was part of the environment agency's response to an April 2007 Supreme Court ruling that for the first time found that greenhouse gases can be regulated as a pollutant under the US Clean Air Act...
This information had been sent to the White House last December by e-mail, but officials there refused to open it...
The Bush administration has opposed economy-wide moves to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Both major presidential candidates, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barack Obama, have said they would act to stem climate change.

2008 May 28. New Climate Report Foresees Big Changes. By ANDREW C. REVKIN, NY Times. Exerpt: The rise in concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere from human activities is influencing climate patterns and vegetation across the United States and will significantly disrupt water supplies, agriculture, forestry and ecosystems for decades, a new federal report says.
The changes are unfolding in ways that are likely to produce an uneven national map of harms and benefits, according to the report, released Tuesday and posted online at climatescience.gov. The authors of the report and some independent experts said the main value of its projections was the level of detail and the high confidence in some conclusions. That confidence comes in part from the report's emphasis on the next 25 to 50 years, when shifts in emissions are unlikely to make much of a difference in climate trends. The report also reflects a recent, significant shift by the Bush administration on climate science. During Mr. Bush's first term, administration officials worked to play down a national assessment of climate effects conducted mainly during the Clinton administration, but released in 2000.
The new report, which includes some findings that are more sobering and definitive than those in the 2000 climate report, holds the signatures of three cabinet secretaries. According to the report, Western states will face substantial challenges because of growing demand for water and big projected drops in supplies....

2008 May 14. NASA STUDY LINKS EARTH IMPACTS TO HUMAN-CAUSED CLIMATE CHANGE. NASA RELEASE: 08-127. Excerpt: WASHINGTON -- A new NASA-led study shows human-caused climate change has made an impact on a wide range of Earth's natural systems, including permafrost thawing, plants blooming earlier across Europe, and lakes declining in productivity in Africa.
Cynthia Rosenzweig of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science in New York and scientists at 10 other institutions have linked physical and biological impacts since 1970 with rises in temperatures during that period. The study, to be published May 15 in the journal Nature, concludes human-caused warming is resulting in a broad range of impacts across the globe.
"This is the first study to link global temperature data sets, climate model results, and observed changes in a broad range of physical and biological systems to show the link between humans, climate, and impacts," said Rosenzweig, lead author of the study. ...Observed impacts included changes to physical systems, such as glaciers shrinking, permafrost melting, and lakes and rivers warming. Biological systems also were impacted in a variety of ways, such as leaves unfolding and flowers blooming earlier in the spring, birds arriving earlier during migration periods, and plant and animal species moving toward Earth's poles and higher in elevation. In aquatic environments such as oceans, lakes, and rivers, plankton and fish are shifting from cold-adapted to warm-adapted communities....