Dec. 1, 2013 Methane in the Arctic Leaking at an Alarming rate

Nov. 6, 2013.  Greenhouse gases continue to increase.  We are abandoning our responsibility to future generations.

Nov. 5, 2013.  Window for limiting climate damage is rapidly closing.

Oct. 26, 2013.  Arctic temperatures the warmest in 44,000 years

Oct. 4, 2013.  Oceans under grave threat from global warming, acidification and declining oxygen levels.

Oct. 2, 2013.  Climate scientists getting swift boated by the media.

Sept. 14, 2013.  Delaying climate action would triples mitigation costs

Sept. 14, 2013.  Unprecedented Rate and Scale of Ocean Acidification Found in the Arctic

Sept. 14, 2013.  US and China agree to curb short lived greenhouse gases.

June 25, 2013.  President Obama starting to lead on the Climate Crisis.  Public health consequences are now receiving the long overdue attention they deserve.

Jan. 16, 2013.  Global warming has increased monthly heat records by a factor of five.

Jan. 16, 2013.  Particulate matter pollution a significant cause of global warming.

Jan.  12, 2013.  Earth on pace to be 10 degrees F hotter by end of century.

Jan. 8, 2013.  2012 the hottest year on record for the lower 48 states.

Jan. 8, 2013.  The climate crisis is also our biggest economic crisis.

Dec. 21, 2012.  The climate crisis and air pollution already killing 5 million people a year

Dec. 19, 2012.  Deseret News.  Climate crisis already causing significant harm in the West.

Nov. 2, 2012.  Op Ed SL Tribune.  Our Dysfunctional Agricultural System and GMOs Increase Global Warming and increase Pesticide exposure.

Sept. 30, 2012.  Acidification of oceans is threatening the world’s food supply

Sept. 30, 2012.  A majority of sportsmen and hunters believe in global warming and prefer conservation over fossil fuel development

Sept. 27, 2012, Global warming costing the world’s economy $1.2 trillion a year

Romney energy plan/climate consequences.  Op Ed Salt Lake Tribune Sept. 1, 2012

The Drought:  It’s the Climate Crisis, Stupid.  Op Ed Deseret News, July 27, 2012

Op Ed on the Climate Crisis and Wildfire pollution, July 8, 2012

Climate Crisis:  The Silence is Deafening, Op Ed Common Dreams May 14, 2012

The Drought:  It’s the Climate Crisis, Stupid

Utah must respond in earnest to this developing climate crisis.  After consulting with energy experts here are our recommendations:

1.  The Utah Medical Association and the Utah Physicians for Healthy Environment have formally requested that the Governor develop a plan to reduce statewide greenhouse gas emissions.  Today we ask specifically that this plan reduce the state’s greenhouse gases 25% by 2020, including a steady transformation of our electricity generation from fossil fuels to renewable sources.

We urge the adoption of a program we call 55, 65, 75.  This means drive 55, turn your thermostat down to 65 in the winter and up to 75 or higher in the summer

The driving forces behind the new world economy, lead by China, have dramatically shifted from fossil fuels to renewable energy.  If Utah’s economic platform remains dependent on dinosaurs, literally, we will lose any ability to compete in the new paradigm. In a recent study, the Wisconsin Public Service Commission demonstrated that $340 million invested in aggressive energy efficiency programs would save $1.3 billion annually, create 9,000 jobs, reduce overall state electricity use 1.6% and prevent 12 million tons of CO2 reaching the atmosphere.

2.  Utah should adopt and enforce the most current energy efficiency code for homes and buildings. Utah should  establish reimbursement rates for home owners and businesses that wish to generate their own electricity from clean sources. This reimbursement should be sufficiently favorable to make it truly feasible for the average home owner and average small business owner.

3.  The Utah Medical Association and UPHE have formally recognized that public education is critical to modifying behavior regarding greenhouse gas emissions.   Today we request that the state board of education formally incorporate the teaching of greenhouse gas science into the core science curriculum of public junior high and high school.  We cannot think of a more important scientific concept for our children to understand.

4.   We appeal to the public for rapid adoption of other lifestyle changes.

  • We  ask consumers to, wherever possible, buy local;
  • We ask homeowners in the state to convert lawns to gardens, fruit trees, nut trees, and shade trees with the goal of decreasing dependency on out of state and out of country food sources and augmenting the natural carbon sink that trees provide.   According to the US Forest Service, large diameter, long-lived, leafy trees tend to be the most beneficial in regards to carbon sequestration. Tree species is a strong determining factor regarding carbon sequestration. Trees vary between being fast or slow in storing carbon. Tree species also vary in how much they output harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) such as isoprene, which produces the greenhouse gas ozone. Therefore, we encourage the selection of tree species that are long lived, rapidly sequester carbon but which also do not have a high output of VOC’s. Those types of trees capable of being grown in Utah are listed on this slide.
  • We encourage a sharp reduction in meat consumption.  The average American adult eats a half a pound of meat per day, far in excess of protein requirements.  Meat is by far the most carbon intensive of all food commodities.
  • We appeal to the public to begin serious water conservation in our homes and businesses. Utah should adopt and enforce a formal water conservation program far more extensive than the status quo and similar to other desert cities throughout the world.  Water is the limiting factor to growth and survival in the West and will become even more so with this evolving climate crisis.
  • It is long overdue that we divert highway construction funds into more  mass transit infrastructure and heavily incentivize mass transit use.

5.  We ask the state to develop a strategy to save regional farmland from housing development and water diversion schemes that threaten future agricultural production.  As the climate crisis deepens and the price of fossil fuels inevitably climbs, especially oil, the importance of producing “local” commodities will steadily increase.  That will make regional agriculture even more valuable and important to near by population centers.  The previously mentioned Las Vegas pipeline would sacrifice an irreplaceable agricultural resource for more real estate and hotel “growth” inLas Vegas

Today, parents sacrifice for many years in the hope that their children will have a better future by going to college.  Most adults learn to adopt personal habits that science has told them is in the interest of their long term personal health, even though the short term benefits may be imperceptible.   Most adults don’t smoke because it will kill them tomorrow, but because it may kill them 30 years from now.  Scientists know that we are creating an atmosphere that will endanger us all, with as much certainty as we know that smoking causes cancer.

The climate crisis should be thought of this way:  the Earth is our home, it has developed a heavy smoking habit and we have been lighting the cigarettes.   We must open the windows, put away the ash trays, hide the matches and stop supplying the cigarettes.

We are realistic yet optimistic about Utahdoing it’s share.  Over 160 years ago, our pioneer ancestors completely uprooted their lives and came toUtah.  They built communities from scratch that many of them knew they would not live long enough to benefit from.  They wisely stored food, clothing, and all the necessities for life in the event of some kind of catastrophe. They sacrificed virtually all they had for the greater good. We are at a similar point in history now.  We ask for community sacrifice in the interest of safeguarding life as we know it.  It is inconceivable to us that our pioneer ancestors wouldn’t sacrifice now to safeguard the future health for their children and grandchildren.

Written on December 17th, 2011

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Utah Physicians for Healthy Environment