Press Releases

Washington, DC – Citing the conclusions of a new report summary detailing the human impact on climate change, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today called for immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors of the economy. Senator Feinstein said that the fourth assessment report summary issued by the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is a “clarion call to action.”

“The report issued today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change states that human activity has ‘very likely’ caused the earth’s temperature to rise more than 1 degree over the last century alone.

The report is the consensus of more than 600 leading scientists representing 42 countries from around the world. The report clearly states that global warming is real, that it is happening, and that action needs to be taken.

With the facts put together, this report comprises a clarion call to action.

The report concludes:

  • Global atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased markedly as a result of human activities since 1750 and now far exceed pre-industrial levels – with increases in carbon dioxide due to the use of fossil fuels, while those of methane and nitrous oxide primarily caused by agriculture. 
  • Improvements in climate science since the Intergovernmental Panel’s Third Assessment Report in 2001 led the scientists to express a very high confidence (90 percent certainty) that the impact of human activity has been one of global warming.
  • The evidence of this warming is unequivocal and the impact of human activity discernable: Glaciers the size of small countries are melting into the ocean. Seas are rising and salinity is increasing. There are more frequent heat waves, more intense and longer droughts, more frequent tropical cyclone activity, and heavier patterns of rainfall. 
  • Historical climate information supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half-century is unusual in at least the previous 1300 years.
  • Continued greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce changes in this century that would very likely be larger than those in the last century. 
  • Global warming and sea level rise would continue for centuries due to climate processes and feedbacks, even if emissions are stabilized.

And the scientists predict that the rate of this warming will only continue to increase. If we do not take action now, the earth’s temperature could rise between 3.2 to 7.8 degrees – or even higher – by the end of the century.

The impact would be catastrophic:

  • Sea levels could rise by 7 to 23 inches. Low-lying nations and coastal communities will be lost to flooding. The lives of 10 million people would be impacted by such flooding. 
  • Arctic sea ice would disappear entirely, causing seas to rise by an additional 4 to 8 inches.
  • Snow cover will contract – with widespread thawing of much of the permafrost.
  • The Gulf Stream and the North Atlantic Drift, the currents which warm North America and Europe, could slow down between 25 to 50 percent.
  • Extreme weather patterns could become the norm, particularly in the tropical regions. 

And all this by the end of the century. So, the urgency is unmistakable. Time is running out.

The reality is that the warming cannot be stopped, but it can be slowed. If we take action now, we can contain the warming to 1 to 2 degrees.

The question becomes what can be done? The simple truth is that there is no silver bullet. We need legislation that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the board.

That’s why I believe:

  • We need national cap-and-trade programs tailored for the electricity and industrial sectors.
  • We need to increase fuel economy standards for cars and trucks by 10 miles per gallon over 10 years (or from 25 to 35 miles per gallon by 2019).
  • We need to increase supplies of low-carbon fuels like biodiesel and E-85, while also reducing tailpipe emissions.
  • And we need to implement national energy efficiency program. 

The bottom line is that every home, business, and industry must do its part.

The time to act is now. The very future of our planet hangs in the balance.”