News Release

Beyond the Special Effects of “The Day After Tomorrow” — Climate Change, Environmental Disasters and Gas Prices

JULIA VERVILLE, PETER FRUMHOFF, [via Linda Gunter]
Verville is a staff scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists specializing in climate impacts. She said today: “Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are higher today than they have been for 400,000 years. The Earth is already warming and will continue to warm in the coming decades as a result of our emissions of heat-trapping gases.” Frumhoff directs the Global Environment Program at UCS. He said today: “The dramatic, virtually instantaneous and worldwide cooling depicted in the film ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ is fiction, but like all good science fiction, the film has at its core some important scientific facts…. Barring swift action to reduce our emissions, the Earth will continue to warm, and extreme weather events will become more common.”
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KEVIN TRENBERTH
Trenberth is head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and was a lead author of the 2001 climate change report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He said today: “Higher prices on gasoline could help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by creating pressure for increased fuel efficiency and decreased fuel expenditures. Automobile manufacturers would feel pressured to produce the better vehicles that customers would almost invariably demand when faced with higher gas costs. Higher prices on gasoline can have an up-side, therefore, in several ways…. Higher prices by increased taxes could provide resources for use within this country — revenue from such a tax could provide rebates for fuel-efficient vehicles and for subsidizing the energy costs of the poor or the elderly. Gas guzzlers like Hummers currently receive tax rebates — instead they should be taxed more than fuel-efficient cars. It’s a win-win proposition as we might also end up walking and bicycling more, improving our health and the health of our planet. Higher prices — as long as they don’t rise too fast and too much — can better reflect the value of gasoline and make sure we treat it as a valuable resource.”
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TOM ATHANASIOU
PAUL BAER
Athanasiou and Baer are co-authors of the new book Dead Heat: Global Justice and Global Warming. Athanasiou said today: “Unfortunately, the Bush administration has chosen to reject the Kyoto Protocol and to deny the long-term consequences of oil dependency, and has reduced the politics of energy to the politics of domination and war. What’s needed urgently is a just climate treaty based on equal human rights to the atmospheric commons; such a treaty is crucial to cutting a path to sustainability on our planet with such explosive national, ideological, and class divides.”
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ROSS GELBSPAN
Author of the book The Heat Is On: The Climate Crisis, The Cover-Up, The Prescription, Gelbspan said today: “It may be an unintended irony that the film premiered on the same day that record-setting downpours killed more than 2,000 people in Haiti and the Dominican Republic…. It shouldn’t take disasters for us to begin acting on this very urgent issue.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; David Zupan, (541) 484-9167