America Wakes Up to Climate Change

After years of debate in the United States, and opposition to action by the Bush administration, America is finally waking up to the reality of global climate change. Leadership is still not coming from the president, but the private sector has begun to act.

Leaders of major US companies have decided that global man-made climate change is real, must be controlled, and that business must play a constructive part in the process. Thus, even as the Bush administration and some scientific contrarians pretend that there is no problem, US corporate leaders are seeking practical solutions.

The basic situation has been clear for years. Global use of fossil fuels is contributing to a sharp rise in atmospheric carbon dioxide, which is causing the Earth to warm. Rainfall patterns are changing. Deserts and dry regions are becoming drier.

Extreme weather events such as hurricanes and typhoons are likely to increase. Flooding in Europe is likely to intensify, a process that may already have begun. Sea levels are rising, and could climb sharply if global warming leads to a destabilization of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets. In short, the scientific evidence is strong and growing that the planet is at grave risk, with many ill effects already being felt and more to come.