Burlington Supports Clean Air Act, Joins Urgent Call for Climate-change Action

For Immediate Release

Burlington Supports Clean Air Act, Joins Urgent Call for Climate-change Action

Vermont Faces Increased Risk of Heat Waves, Severe Storms, Flooding

BURLINGTON, Vt. - As many northeastern states endure record-breaking heat, Burlington, Vt., has joined more than 30 other U.S. cities in supporting the use of the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas pollution to head off catastrophic climate change.

Through a July 16 resolution, Burlington became the 32nd city to join the Center for Biological Diversity’s national Clean Air Cities campaign, which urges President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to take action on global warming.

“Burlington is a leader in the fight against climate change, so we’re proud to support the use of the Clean Air Act to reduce greenhouse gas pollution,” said Vince Brennan, the Burlington councilmember who introduced the resolution. “This summer’s record-breaking heat wave is a taste of the problems global warming will cause here in Vermont. We need the federal government to act quickly to reduce climate-change hazards.”

“By passing this resolution, Burlington’s leaders are putting a spotlight on the threats posed by the global climate crisis and supporting one key solution: the Clean Air Act,” said Rose Braz, the Center’s climate campaign director. “Cities around the country, from Los Angeles to Miami — and now Burlington — are sending an urgent message to our national leaders. To avert a climate catastrophe, we have to act now.”

The temperature reached record-breaking highs in Burlington last week, and much of the Northeast also endured high temperatures. The first six months of 2012 were the hottest such period on record in the United States. Climate change is making severe heat waves far more likely, according to a new study by researchers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Climate change is likely to cause serious problems in Vermont in the coming decades, according to a 2011 scientific report prepared for the state’s Air Pollution Control Division. The report predicted hotter summers, a shortened ski and snowshoeing season, reduced productivity of dairy cows and sugar maples, more heavy rain events and flooding, and a greater frequency of one-to-two-month droughts.

Climate change is also likely to increase health threats for Vermonters from heat waves, poor air quality in some areas, and more warm-weather pests like mosquitoes and ticks. Cold-water fish and some wildlife species could also be threatened.

Widespread flooding caused by Hurricane Irene in Vermont in 2011 killed three people and caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage. A 2010 paper in the journal Nature Geoscience concluded that climate change is likely to cause hurricanes to grow stronger over the next century.

The Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign is working with volunteers around the country to encourage cities to pass resolutions supporting the Clean Air Act and using the Act to reduce carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million, the level scientists say is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change. The resolutions call on President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to take swift action under the Clean Air Act to address climate change.

Similar resolutions have been approved in Albany, N.Y.; Berkeley, Santa Monica, Arcata, Oxnard, Santa Cruz, Richmond and Los Angeles, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Pa.; Tucson, Ariz.; Boone, N.C.; Minneapolis, Minn.; Milwaukee and Madison, Wis.; Cambridge and Northampton, Mass.; Cincinnati and Oberlin, Ohio; Santa Fe, N.M.; Kansas City, Mo.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Miami, Pinecrest, Tampa and Gulfport, Fl.; Chicago, Ill.; Teton County, Wyo.; Eugene, Ore.; and Boulder, Colo. Several other cities around the country will be considering resolutions over the next few months.

Learn more about the Center’s Clean Air Cities campaign and get the facts about the Clean Air Act.

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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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