The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (“NASA”) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (“NOAA”) have both concluded through independent analysis 2013 was the 4th hottest year on record. In fact, 9 of the 10 warmest years on record globally have occurred since the year 2000. NASA indicates atmospheric carbon dioxide is at its highest level in 800,000 years having risen from 285 parts per million (“PPM”) in 1880 to over 400 PPM currently. Ocean Temperatures, Sea Levels, and Glacial Records: all indicators which track long-term variation support the absoluteness of a Changing Climate.
Many experts believe the warming of the Polar Regions has led to a shift in the polar vortex causing extreme cold in southern parts of the U.S. and drought in western parts of the Country. Climate Change is expected to worsen over time making it difficult for a consensus response absent a clear and immediate threat.
Climate Change forecasts are difficult to make as we are operating in uncharted waters with an abundance of debate on the cause and effect between carbon dioxide and global warming. As with any serious debate: there will be undisputed facts and actions which are universally agreeable. The warming of the planet is not disputed and most people acknowledge a warmer planet means climate norms will be impacted. These changes will impact people proportionate to their level of development. People in Sub-Saharan Africa will experience food insecurity, malnutrition, and starvation while people in the developed world will experience consumer shortages and cost increases, decreased consumption and economic activity, higher tax rates, and unpredictability in economic and social conditions.
The evidence of increased atmospheric carbon dioxide levels having an impact on the Earth’s temperature and climate are highly certain, but insufficient to adjust economic and social policy at this time. This will change with the persistence of extreme weather, drought, and rising sea levels in the U.S. and EU. Eventually, complacency will give way to alarm, albeit at a point where mitigation alone will no longer be capable of solving the problem. The evidence is so overwhelming humanity would be negligent to not take those actions available to us today. It is in this spirit, Kissito Healthcare is committed to the following steps, not that these actions on their own will produce any great change, but if they serve as a catalyst or model for others to affect change, then we will have become a part of the solution and not the problem:
1. Work to establish non-formal and formal “Environmental Literacy Plans” for grades K-12 in the Commonwealth of Virginia and all 50 States.
2. Promote our Nation’s State and Local Parks as close to home places to engage in healthy lifestyles and create awareness of environmental issues and opportunities for citizen stewardship of the planet.
3. Place 50,000 acres of at-risk land in conservation with public access to promote forest carbon sequestration.
4. Establish capacity totaling 25 megawatts of biomass power generation to promote carbon emissions reductions.