is growing consensus among the world's scientists that the rising
accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is impacting
the global climate. Increased greenhouse gases (especially carbon
dioxide) in the atmosphere are trapping heat on the Earth and
warming the earth beyond its normal temperature (1O in the last
century), having a range of effects on the global climate. Fossil
fuels, which formed millions of years ago over a very long period
of time, being burned by humans for electricity and vehicles are
82% of these greenhouse gases.
US climate scientists recently concluded that global warming is
definitely a result if human activity. Tom Karl, Director of the
National Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration and Kevin Trenberth, senior scientist and head
of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric
Research writing in the journal Science, have stated that global
climate change has "exceeded the bounds of natural variability,"
and that "the likely result is more frequent heat waves,
droughts, extreme precipitation events ... wildfires, heat stress,
vegetation changes and sea level rise."
Effects of Climate Change:
Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a group of over 2,500 of the world's
climate scientists, is predicting that these impacts may include:
global average temperatures with a resulting disruption of natural
in precipitation rates in many regions impacting on water supply
and food production
in the incidence and intensity of extreme weather events, such
as floods, blizzards, tornadoes, and droughts
in sea level impacting on coastal areas and low-lying regions
The EPA's Global Warming program has similar predictions. See
to the IPCC, since the beginning of the industrial revolution
250 years ago, carbon dioxide has increased in the atmosphere
from about 280 to over 380 ppm and the carbon level has never
been higher than 300ppm in the last 420,000 years according to
ice core data. Methane has increased by 151% (750 to 1625) and
nitrous oxide by 17% (270 to over 310) in that time period.
trend towards deforestation around the globe means that less carbon
dioxide is being absorbed.
are retreating in mountains around the world
the tropical oceans, corals are dying off from warming waters,
threatening the biodiversity of the oceans. In 2005 scientists
reported that the oceans are becoming more acidic due to excess
carbon in the atmosphere.
2004 NASA researchers (published in the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences) indicated that soot particles, primarily
from burning diesel fuel, may be reducing the ability of snow
and ice to reflect sunlight, contributing to world wide melting
of ice and as much as a quarter of observed global warming.
2005, scientists report that a vast area of Siberian tundra
is thawing after 11,000 years and may release millions of tons
of greenhosue gases, especially methane.
Effects of Climate Change on Long Island:
EPA states that "IPCC models predict a rise in sea level
over the next 100 years
with a most likely case of a rise
of 50 centimeters. Such a rise would inundate wetlands and lowlands,
accelerate coastal erosion, worsen coastal flooding, threaten
coastal structures, raise water tables, and increase salinity
of rivers, bays, and aquifers
Total monetary losses caused
by a 1 meter rise are estimated to be between $270 and $275
billion, not including future development."
to EPA, global warming could have many impacts on fish and other
aquatic species. Wetland loss, salinity changes, and higher
temperatures are all likely to affect finfish and shellfish
in the coastal zone. The commercial and sport fishing industries
are important on Long Island, so such changes would be devastating
to this sector of the economy.
Environmental Protection Agency's Publication "Regional
Impacts Report," Chapter 8 says: "Global climate change
is expected to alter coastal hydrology, the frequency and severity
of severe storms, and sea-ice cover
Changing climate generally
is increasing the vulnerability of coastal areas to flooding
both because higher sea level raises the flood level from a
storm of a given severity and because rainstorms are becoming
more severe in many areas. It also is possible that hurricanes
could become more intense."
Contribution to Greenhouse Gas Emissions:
compiled by the International Council on Local Environmental Initiatives
(ICLEI) found that, "Suffolk County residents and employees
alike are responsible for emitting 25 tons of CO2 per person per
year. This is over twice the New York State average, which is
11.8 tons CO2 per capita, and over four times as much as the national
average at 5.6 tons of CO2 per capita." An inventory was
not done for Nassau, but it is safe to assume that figures might
are currently about 3 million people residing on Long Island.
As a result, although Long Island has about 1% of the US population,
we produce over 4% the total US greenhouse gas emissions. The
region is highly dependent on fossil fuels, so reductions in use
of these conventional energy sources on Long Island and a move
toward alternatives can have a significant impact on the global
and local environment.
to estimates contained in the Citizens Energy Plan released in
2002, there was a 22% increase in power plant electricity production
on Long Island during the period between 1995 and 2000, going
from 9,352,710 megawatt hours to 11,433, 405 megawatt hours in
that time period.
Effects of Fossil Fuel Use and Global Warming:
and Suffolk Counties are designated non-attainment areas for tropospheric
ozone under the Federal Clean Air Act which is a cause for concern.
In a paper entitled, the Health Effects of Air Pollution On Children,
Michael T. Kleinman, Ph.D., writes: "Recent study results
suggest that children with asthma are at much greater risk of
increased asthma symptoms when they live in communities with higher
levels of ozone and particles and participate in three or more
competitive sports." (Dept. of Community and Environmental
Medicine, University of California, Irvine, 2000.)
Global Warming program relates the problem of climate change to
various health impacts including asthma due to air pollutants.
Long Island has a 7% rate of childhood asthma.
"Global warming may also increase the risk of some infectious
diseases. Diseases that are spread by mosquitoes and other insects
could become more prevalent if warmer temperatures enabled those
insects to become established farther north; such 'vector-borne'
diseases include, malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis."
For example, malaria reemerged on Long Island in 1999.