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Sierra Magazine
Last Words

ARE YOU CONCERNED ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING?

Global warming is the most important environmental question we've ever faced, by an order of magnitude. What does it mean that humans are now warming the earth? It means that we've become big enough as a species to alter every square inch of the planet, and it means that somehow we've got to summon the self-restraint necessary to make ourselves smaller, in numbers and in appetite. Climate change is our final exam as a species, ready or not.
Bill McKibben
Author of The End of Nature

Climate change means boom time for the ol' U.S. of A. Think of the global demand for seawalls, bioengineered agriculture, and hazard insurance. My advice to ditherers: maximize your climate leverage. Consume more feedlot meat and rice to increase methane emission. Move to the suburbs. Buy a big truck and drive alone. Oppose carbon taxes, green candidates, and cost-effective building codes. Continuing our nation's proud heritage of energy profligacy will surely increase our cost of living, but the Chamber of Commerce will thank you.
Rick Heede
Research Scholar
Rocky Mountain Institute

The hyper-consumerist industrial mode of activity is pushing humanity over the brink. For human beings to live on this planet in dignity requires a radical reduction in carbon emissions. Thoughtful observers estimate that an 80 to 90 percent reduction is needed. That can be done--but only if the complacency of today's leadership is exchanged for wisdom and decisive actions. Don't wait for Washington!
Jerry Brown
Former Governor of California

As long as the warming scenarios remain mild, as predicted by climate scientists, the magnitudes of the benefits to the U.S. economy would exceed the damages by $30 billion to $40 billion. Although we should monitor global warming carefully, it does not require rash and expensive mitigation strategies. We have time to further study its impacts and determine prudent responses.
Robert Mendelsohn
School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Yale University

The big polluters of the oil, auto, and coal industries fund "skeptics" to pump out the myth that global warming doesn't exist, and lobby Bill Clinton and Congress with the message that "we can't afford to stop global warming now. Let's wait 20 or 30 years and see if our kids can." But what will happen to endangered species when a changing climate has killed off their food sources and dried up their water sources? What will happen to old-growth forests when rising temperatures spur insect infestations? What will happen to wilderness when our recklessness kills off the plants and animals who call it home? Global warming isn't some big, far-off threat. It's affecting the backyards of each and every one of us today.
Steve Pedery
Sierra Club Global Warming and Energy Team

To provide a legacy for future generations, as well as to avoid geopolitical conflict, we must develop an environmentally benign pattern of technologies to turn global warming around. What we need to do to reverse the trend-namely, increase our energy efficiency and advance sustainable energy-we should do for other reasons as well, such as more efficient economies, less air, water, and soil pollution, and national security. Energy efficiency is almost a closed-book issue: the waste in air-conditioning, home appliances, and power generators has been overwhelmingly demonstrated. There can be a dramatic reduction in energy consumption. Alternative technologies, whether solar panels, wind power, or biomass are feasible, economic, and, if you consider the long-range costs of fossil fuel and nuclear power, the best bargains around.
Ralph Nader
Consumer Advocate


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