3/2/04 12:30:00 PM
To: National Desk, Transportation, Political and Environment
reporters Contacts: Jack Saporito of AReCO, 847-506-0670; Staci-lee
Sherwood of AWGNP, 914-466-4253; Dr. Katta Murty of University of
Michigan-Ann Arbor, 734-763-3513; Dr. David Travis of University of
Wisconsin-Whitewater, 262-472-5125; Alex Formuzis of the Office of U.S.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg, 202-224-3224
CHICAGO, March 2 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Recently, a secret Pentagon
report was leaked, warning of grave scenarios in the very near future
due to climate change. The report points to the serious threat to our
National Security in the event steps are not taken immediately to avert
this potential disaster.
According to Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare (AReCO) and The
American Working Group for National Policy (AWGNP) the report shows that
climate change starting as soon as the next 20 years could be a global
calamity, killing millions in wars and natural disasters.
"Now, more than ever, there is support and urgency to demand a
U.S. moratorium on all airport expansion projects currently in the
works, until the details of the Pentagon report have been fully
vetted," said Jack Saporito of AReCO. "Furthermore, there is a
real need for environmental impact reviews to be taken seriously and
results stringently enforced. Over the years, the review process has
been increasingly overlooked as redundant and unnecessary. Now is the
time to instead reinforce proper procedures and to move towards
transportation that substantially reduces climate change forcing
Jet aircraft atmospheric damage is unique in that exhaust emissions
from such aircraft are deposited not only in the lower atmosphere but
also in the cloud-forming troposphere and higher, where resulting
contrails are formed and other chemicals remain to interact for decades.
The now well-recognized critical role (including by the United
Nations) that air transportation plays in climate change is raised to
the highest levels of concern by the Pentagon report. "Rather than
decades or even centuries of gradual warming, recent evidence suggests
the possibility that a more dire climate scenario may actually be
unfolding," according to the report.
This climate scenario is driven by the heightened probability that
the huge, Atlantic gulf stream flow of warm water (part of the
thermohaline ocean circulation system) could cease within a relatively
short time frame, with disastrous effects. The impact of this
thermohaline collapse will shock many people who have been conditioned
to believe that "global warming" means that it will be warmer
in the United States, making winters more pleasant for many areas. In
fact, it will get much colder, stormier, and drier.
Substantial advances toward this nightmare scenario will be
experienced not in centuries, but in just years, or a few decades --
years in which the world's air transportation industry, in consort with
the U.S. and other governments, plans massive expansions of flight
operations and corresponding pollutant emission deposits in the
atmosphere (current projections of tripling within 15-20 years).
Commercial jet aviation, already a major factor in global warming,
has the potential to soon become the number one cause of man-made
climate change with these massive desired-by-airlines increases in
numbers of flights, while also presenting a real and significant threat
of destruction of the protective ozone layer surrounding our planet.
Dr. Katta G. Murty, professor of Industrial and Operations
Engineering, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, found in his study
"Greenhouse Gas Pollution in the Stratosphere Due to Increasing
Airplane Traffic, Effects On the Environment" that "Evidence
that raising levels of Green House gases in the atmosphere are warming
the surface of the earth and causing other changes in the earth's
climate is mounting, and has become an issue of major concern."
Furthermore, the report states, "It is an important problem to
analyze at what altitudes additional releases of Green House gases will
have maximum impact on global warming." Dr. Murty has stated
further, "This study also points out that the much more rapid
melting of polar ice near the north pole compared to that at the south
pole, may have been caused by the very large fraction of jet air flights
in the world occurring over the northern polar region."
"Before we take another step towards airport expansion, we need
to embrace reality and make changes now," Saporito said.
Patrick Neuman, senior hydrologist with the National Weather Service
(NWS), recently released his paper "Earlier Seasonal Snowmelt
Runoff in the Upper Midwest-Northern Great Plains" that found that
rapid global warming is happening now and is warming much too quickly to
allow adaptation by many species of plants and animals. According to
Neuman, "We know that the cause of this rapid global warming is the
heavy accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere from massive
emissions from burning fossil fuels for power generation. Very damaging
is the direct discharge of greenhouse gas emissions and secondary
effects such as contrail impacts, which are coming from commercial jet
aviation, an industry that disregards the damage to the global
environment and to human health."
According to Dr. David Travis, professor and chair, Department of
Geography and Geology, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, research
"has demonstrated that jet contrails have caused substantial
increases in the high cloud coverage over the most heavily trafficked
regions of the United States and Europe. These increases in high clouds
have led to suppression of the temperature range causing both daytime
cooling and nighttime warming in areas where contrails are most
abundant. During the three days following Sept. 11th when no commercial
aircraft were flying, the skies across the U.S. were remarkably clear
with a much wider range in temperature between day and night, giving an
indication of how the U.S. climate used to be prior to the days of
aviation (i.e. pre-1950)."
It is apparent that the short term profit-oriented air industry,
already under financial siege, is not at all predisposed to accept that
their services should be limited by government, though such is the need.
This need is supported by not only the Pentagon report, but also, by the
United States General Accounting Office.
A 2000 U.S. Government Accounting Office report (GAO/RCED-00-57)
Aviation's Effects on the Global Atmosphere Are Potentially Significant
and Expected to Grow found that it was not necessarily the amounts of
emissions but other factors such as: "-- Jet aircraft emissions are
deposited directly into the upper atmosphere and some of them have a
greater warming effect than gases emitted closer to the surface, such as
"-- Carbon dioxide combined with other exhaust gases and
particulates emitted from jet engines could have two to four times as
great an impact on the atmosphere as carbon dioxide emissions alone.
"-- The growing demand for jet air service is likely to generate
more emissions that cannot be offset by reductions achieved through
technological improvements alone."
Saporito said, "There is already overwhelming evidence that now,
more than ever, we need to re-examine our over-dependence on aviation
and rapidly move towards transportation less threatening to our
High-speed rail is an idea that is being successfully implemented in
many countries, but has failed to find supporters with the political
will to make it happen in the U.S. A high-speed rail system would be
significantly more environmentally safe, since it emits nothing in the
stratosphere, unlike aircraft, which emit huge amounts of toxic
chemicals in both the lower and upper atmosphere.
The serious upper atmospheric environmental problems caused by
aircraft and airport operations need great reduction and concomitant,
comprehensive regulation in order to protect the publics health, our
environment and, as graphically presented in the Pentagon report, our
U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg from New Jersey, a long time advocate for
laws that protect our health and environment, observed, "The fact
that the Pentagon even had this report commissioned shows that high
ranking officials are aware that climate change is a growing threat.
What's even more telling is that this four-month old report had to be
leaked to the press. I call on the Administration and Congress to
demonstrate leadership on this global health and security threat, and
enact controls on our unsustainable level of greenhouse gas
"We call on the Federal government to immediately stop moving in
the wrong direction and start moving in the direction that is more
sustainable, environmentally safe and less of a threat to our national
security before it's too late," Saporito said. "A nationwide
airport expansion moratorium is mandatory while the serious
ramifications of the Pentagon report are fully vetted by both the
scientific community and the public and more environmentally safe
transportation alternative programs are energized."
Pentagon report available online at: http://www.ems.org/climate/pentagon_climate_change.pdf
For more information see: http://www.areco.org
Sources: Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare (AReCO) and The
American Working Group for National Policy (AWGNP)
/© 2004 U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/