Crucial Facts from The Union of Concerned Scientists
Facts that our present administration and some of our influential corporate leaders choose to ignore, fearing that these “inconvenient truths”, as Al Gore would call them, may adversely affect their personal wealth and fame.
- The Union of Concerned Scientists fights attempts to censor, distort, or manipulate science by politicians or interest groups.
- Since 2013, the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere has exceeded 400 parts per million – the highest level humankind has ever experienced. Expanding our use of clean and renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, biofuels, and geothermal energy, is essential to reducing global warming pollution while providing secure and reliable power.
- Sustainable agriculture is less damaging to the environment than industrial agriculture, and produces a richer, more diverse mix of foods.
- The role of science in our democracy has been marginalized, misrepresented, and manipulated. The challenge is to change the discussion and advance the essential role of science, evidence-based decision making, and constructive debate as a means t improve the health, security, and prosperity of all people.
- Tropical deforestation accounts for 15 percent of the world’s global warming pollution-more than the total emissions of every car, truck, plane, ship, and train on Earth.
- Today more than 25,000 nuclear weapons exist around the globe. These weapons are a detriment to our society, not an asset.
- There are more than 100 nuclear reactors providing commercial power in the United States, many of which are near the end of their mandated lifetime. With 10 safety incidents classified as “near misses” in 2015 alone, improving safety and security provisions at these plants is more critical than ever.
- Renewable energy technologies tap into natural cycles and systems, turning ever-present energy around us into clean, safe, and sustainable sources of electricity. Requiring utilities to generate at least 20 percent of their electricity from renewable sources would not only reduce global warming emissions but also create jobs and save consumers money.
- Arctic sea ice is a sensitive indicator of the effects of global warming. Over the past few years the amount of ice that covers the Artic has steadily decreased and is now at record-low levels. This has potentially drastic effects on wildlife, ecosystems, and climate.
- 2015 was the warmest year ever recorded in the United States, with tens of thousands of heat records shattered across the country. The impact of climate change has hit home-from extreme droughts to raging wildfires to record flooding to more extreme and frequent storms.
- Since 1970, the annual average temperature in the Northeast United States has increased by two degrees Fahrenheit – with winter temperatures rising twice as much.
- Rapidly retreating glaciers, melting sea ice, and thawing permafrost alter nature’s delicate balance in Artic ecosystems, threatening the continued existence of many species of Arctic wildlife, which highlights the impact of global warming on animals, humans, and the environment, and the importance of science-based solutions to protect our health and safety.