The Senate finally passed a bill to address significant new fuel economy standards, a vastly improved renewable fuels standard with strong environmental safeguards, and new efficiency standards that will essentially phase out the incandescent light bulb. The bill does not include everything we need, but it is a first step towards moving America beyond oil and a real down payment on curbing global warming.
BEST CONCLUSIVE, LAST WARNING: The IPCC Report
In November, the final IPCC report was issued representing years of study and the consensus of 2500 of the world's experts. The head of the IPCC said upon its release: "What we do in the next two or three years will define our future." Time Magazine characterized the report as a final warning to humanity.
BEST COLLEGE EFFORT: College of the Atlantic
The College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, Maine was the first college to pledge to become carbon neutral in 2006. The small college of just 300 students has just one major: human ecology, or the "study of our relationship with our environment." This tiny college started quite a trend, now more than 459 other US colleges and Universities have signed the American Presidents Climate Commitment committing their campus to go climate neutral. Universities are like small cities and are a glowing example as to what can be done across the country!
BEST PRODUCT: SIGG Bottles
The popular SIGG bottles are lightweight, aluminum bottles that are recyclable and 100% biodegradable. With 2.5 million plastic water bottles being thrown away every hour in the US, we hope people will start ditching the plastic and filling up reusable bottles. Here's to a plastic free 2008!
BEST CITY EFFORT: Chicago, Illinois
Chicago has green roofs, great recycling and sustainability programs, and was home to the Cool Globes exhibit this summer. Now it is undertaking a major alley retrofit. Chicago is the alley capital of America and will retrofit its 2,000 miles of alleys (which have the paved equivalent of five midsize airports) with environmentally sustainable road building materials that will allow water to penetrate the soil through the pavement itself, then the water will recharge the underground water table instead of ending up as polluted runoff in rivers and streams. Some of the water may even end up back in Lake Michigan, the city's primary source of drinking water.
BEST AWARD: Nobel Peace Prize to Al Gore and the IPCC
An excerpt from the Citation awarding the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC and Al Gore: "By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2007 to the IPCC and Al Gore, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is seeking to contribute to a sharper focus on the processes and decisions that appear to be necessary to protect the world's future climate, and thereby to reduce the threat to the security of mankind. Action is necessary now, before climate change moves beyond man's control."
BEST MAGAZINE COVER: Sports Illustrated
On March 12, 2007, Sports Illustrated ran a cover of Dontrelle Willis up to his knees in water at Dolphin Stadium in Florida. The cover read: "Sports and Global Warming: As the Planet Changes, So Do the Games We Play. Time to Pay Attention!" We salute Sports Illustrated for connecting the dots for their readers on how global warming is going to impact athletes, the games they love to play and the fans who love to watch.
BEST REPORTING: Tom Friedman, New York Times
Tom Friedman, the regular op-ed contributor to The New York Times, consistently provides honest, accurate, fact driven, and thought-provoking pieces about global warming. He has been instrumental in waking up the American people to this issue. (Photo: Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times)
These are great steps taken by people and organizations. However, we must make giant strides if we hope to even try to remediate the disastrous melting of the ice in Greenland, the Arctic and the shield ice in the Antarctic.
Water does not reflect sunlight like ice does, so the more ice that melts, the faster it will melt. Whether man caused global warming is superfluous now. The question is how do we stop it.