2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 4
Presentation Time: 1:50 PM


FOLGER, Peter F., 10512 Samaga Dr, Oakton, VA 22124-1630, pfolger@agu.org

In Congress the debate about global warming often deteriorates when carbon dioxide is mentioned. Rightly or wrongly, negative economic implications of curtailing CO2 emissions stifle Congressional thinking about strategies to deal with climate change. Policy makers often malign climate change research as irrelevant to their constituents. Many legislators cannot understand why simulating temperature trends 100 years from now is meaningful to their constituents. A more effective approach is to connect climate change with contemporary natural events such as severe weather, drought and floods. These extreme events may or may not be exacerbated by anthropogenic CO2, but members of Congress can debate and legislate approaches to mitigate against natural hazards without mentioning carbon. What strategy might connect research on climate change and natural hazards mitigation in their minds? 1. Identify a specific situation where a key legislator's constituents are threatened or affected by extreme natural phenomena; 2. Suggest a legislative approach that provides protection or relief for those constituents; 3. Help the legislator vet the idea within and without the scientific community; 4.Turn that idea into legislation and advocate for its passage in Congress.