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Fighting Catastrophic Climate Change: Maryland's Paltry Proposal

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"If you think mitigated climate change is expensive, try unmitigated climate change."

Dr. Richard Gammon, Professor of Chemistry, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington

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Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley has proposed legislation, ironically called "The Global Warming Solutions Act," the bill requires reductions in statewide greenhouse gas emissions of 25% from 2006 levels by 2020. Senator Paul Pinsky and Delegate Kumar Barve are sponsors of the bill in the Maryland General Assembly.

The Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) calls this "terrific news," and asks us to thank Governor O'Malley for this legislation. It's likely the legislation got watered down in the negotiation process with labor union leaders, environmentalists and manufacturers, but whatever the reason, it offers way too little, way too late. It amounts to unmitigated climate change. Maryland is fiddling while the earth burns.

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If this were an ordinary issue incremental steps may be appropriate. But this crisis is perhaps the most daunting challenge ever faced by humanity. Our survival on this planet may depend on a swift, dramatic response.

There is scientific consensus that we are in the midst of a worldwide emergency with catastrophic climate change -- the human-made, warming-driven destabilization of the earth's climate system. The problem is caused primarily by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels (like coal and oil) and deforestation.

In 1990, the statured scientists of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told the world that to stop catastrophic climate change we must reduce greenhouse gases, mostly carbon dioxide, by 60-80% immediately.

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Nineteen years later, the world has done little to reduce greenhouse gases or avert the threat of catastrophic climate change. In 2001 the IPCC said that global warming was increasing 50% faster than originally believed. And the IPCC are the conservatives in this debate.

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Karyn Strickler is a political scientist, grassroots organizer and writer. She is founder and president of Vote Climate U.S. PAC, working to elect candidates to get off fossil fuels and put a price on carbon. Karyn is the former host and (more...)

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