August 6, 2006

To the editor,

 The record heat wave that recently swept America should be a wake up call that prompts everyone to take action to stop global warming.  Having studied the issue intimately for two decades, and publishing my second book Arctic Melting with interviews of top global scientists on the issue, I am afraid we are unleashing a runaway greenhouse effect that will make heat waves far more common and severe.

            With undisputed evidence that we as humans are causing this unprecedented change, we must make it our top unifying goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions personally, locally, regionally, statewide, nationally and globally while we still have a chance of leaving a world with the great diversity of life today to future generations.

            Our burning of fossil fuels has caused a massive warming that is triggering what scientists call feedback loops, where the warming actually causes more warming.  Evidence continues to emerge about how carbon dioxide and methane are being released from the permafrost in the Arctic, causing more warming.  I have witnessed 30 foot sinkholes in recent years throughout the Arctic, where a decade ago the land was frozen solid. 

This, and the exponential increase in the amount of heat absorbed by the earth when the snow and ice changes to open land and water, threatens a runaway greenhouse effect that combined with the global increase in greenhouse gas emissions threatens a very bleak future of increased heat waves, droughts, floods, hurricanes like Katrina and tornadoes, and an increase in their severity.

            Hundreds of thousands of people have died already and hundreds of millions are expected to die this century because of climate change.  The cause of climate change is clear and undisputed among scientists.  The burning of fossil fuels is the primary reason why we have seen the climate change in recent decades, that is expected to get much worse.

The solution is also very clear: stop burning fossil fuels.  This does not mean going back to the stone age.  I show in my Arctic Melting book how we can meet all of our energy needs with solar, wind, efficiency and biofuels.

We need to focus on getting serious funding for the proven solution to climate change.  Cars can be getting 80+ miles per gallon or run entirely on electricity generated through wind generators or solar panels.

Just a small fraction of the south facing rooftops in America can meet all of our energy needs with solar voltaic cells.  North Dakota and South Dakota alone can meet four times the energy needs of the United States through wind energy.

The technology is here, what we need is a citizenry more willing to speak up and demand change: before it is too late.

  Chad Kister; P.O.  Box 31 ; Athens , OH 45701    740-707-4110   740-753-3888

 Kister is the author of Arctic Quest: Odyssey Through a Threatened Wilderness Area and Arctic Melting: How Climate Change is Destroying One of the World’s Largest Wilderness Areas, both published by Common Courage Press.  Kister is also the Producer of the 2006 film Caribou People.  He tours the country much of the time by train, doing presentations all throughout the United States and Canada , and is planning an extensive tour this fall to protect the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.