July 30, 2007

SENATOR CARDIN VISITS GREENLAND TO WITNESS EFFECTS OF GLOBAL WARMING

Susan Sullam: 410-962-4436

 

 



WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Benjamin L. Cardin, D-MD, today said his weekend fact-finding trip to Greenland "clearly illustrated the effects of global warming on the world's largest glacier mass."   The Senator visited the Kangia Ice Fjord near Illulissat and the iceberg-filled Disko Bay with colleagues from the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.

 

The Senator said that Disko Bay, the location of the world's largest ice fjord, has experienced a 50-foot reduction in its glaciers in just 10 years.    He stressed that Greenland contains 10% of the world's ice and if all of it were to melt, sea levels would rise 22 feet.

 

"The scientists all agree that greenhouse gas emissions are a serious contributor to global warming.   There is no dispute that reducing the amount of greenhouse gases would improve the global environment," said the Senator.

 

In a recent report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) documented evidence that human activities are changing the planet's atmosphere.   The report also documents the widespread reduction of the Earth's ice, including snow, river and lake ice, sea ice, permafrost and seasonally frozen ground, mountain glaciers, and the great ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica.

 

Maryland is particularly vulnerable to global warming.   According to a 2005 report of the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), more than 12% of Maryland has been designated by the National Flood Insurance Program as a Special Flood Hazard Area, and an estimated 68,000 homes and buildings are located within the state's floodplain.   Tide gauge records for the last century show that the rate of sea level rise in Maryland is nearly twice the global average.  

 

"There is no question that a rise of sea level by just a couple of feet would change our State forever," he said.   The Senator has co-sponsored The Global Warming Pollution Reduction Act , S. 309, which would require that U.S. emissions of key pollutants such as carbon dioxide be capped in 2010, reduced to 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.   To achieve emissions reductions, the bill calls for more reliance on clean, renewable energy sources, improved energy efficiency and clean cars.