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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Former US Governor Calls For Climate Change Wake-up

A farmer and his children plant a field with bean seeds and fertilizer in southern Ethiopia in 2008, a year after severe floods destroyed most of the food crop. Ethiopia is the country 10th most vulnerable to climate change effects, <a href=''>according to a 2013 report by Maplecroft</a>.

Bill Richardson

Wake up to the reality of climate change


By Bill Richardson

(CNN) – "Nothing poses a bigger threat to our water, our livelihood and our quality of life than a warming climate." Those are my words from 2006 upon the signing of an executive order on climate change for New Mexico when I was governor. 

Floodwaters course through Odo Ona in Nigeria's Oyo State in 2011. At least 102 people were killed when a dam burst during torrential rain.

 Almost a decade later, this statement still holds true. But now we have even more information about climate change, both the risks and solutions. 

The just-released report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a collection of more than 800 leading climate scientists, reaffirms that climate impacts are already occurring and having a dramatic impact on society. Climate change is driven by our dependence on fossil fuels and is expected to get worse. In order to shift directions, we need nothing less than to rethink how we power our country.

Residents of Jacmel, Haiti, make their way through floodwaters as Tropical Storm Isaac dumps heavy rains in August 2012. An extreme exposure to climate-related events, combined with poor health care access, weak infrastructure, high levels of poverty and an over-reliance on agriculture have led to the country being categorized as at "extreme" risk. Here's what we know: 

The climate science is settled. The IPCC report is the latest addition to a staggering body of scientific research connecting our energy choices to costly climate disruption. The report is consistent with several other authorities -- such as the National Academy of Sciences, U.S. Global Change Research Program, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- that bring stronger language and greater certainty about climate change and its risks. Just as we know that smoking causes cancer, we understand that human activity causes climate change. 

Bangladeshis attempt to stay dry above flood waters in the capital, Dhaka. Bangladesh was ranked by Maplecroft the country most vulnerable to climate change, and Dhaka the world's most vulnerable city, due to its exposure to threats such as flooding, storm surge, cyclones and landslides, its susceptible population and weak institutional capacity to address the problem.
 Climate change is happening now and we are all feeling the effects. Earlier this month, the American Association of Advancement of Science reminded us that "climate change is happening here and now." 

Tainted water pours into a containment pond in a Unity field processing facility in what is now South Sudan, where there are concerns about the environmental damage being caused by the oil industry.We are now witnessing how it is changing our world: The past winter was the eighth-warmest on record. For 348 consecutive months -- 29 years -- global temperatures have been above average

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Bill Richardson -2007

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