This letter is a response to Naveed Ahsan’s “Global warming, a deserved hot topic.” Climate change is definitely a subject that deserves great attention and action, but it also deserves a more thorough review of some of the facts, a discussion about a grassroots campaign currently underway and another look at how Temple can do its own part.
First, I wanted to clarify a few points about facts that were not presented in the article. The author parroted a global warming skeptic by writing: “Why aren’t the glaciers melting?” But he did not attempt to provide an answer to the question for readers. There is no disputing the fact that land thought to be permanently frozen in Alaska and Siberia is now thawing. Sea levels have risen an average of 0.12 inches because of melting glaciers. At the end of last year, the United Nations released a study that said current greenhouse gas emissions would lead to an increase of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius by 2100. The same climate scientists have stated that the planet’s threshold for temperature change is a maximum of about 2 degrees Celsius. As the Arctic continues to thaw, it will also release 100 billion tons of carbon dioxide by 2100 that is now trapped in the earth.
The article mentions a few local actions that Temple is taking on climate change, but didn’t include a big student campaign to tackle the root causes of climate change: fossil fuel companies. There is a national campaign to ask universities and colleges to divest their money from dirty fossil fuel corporations that are responsible for the largest chunk of dirty carbon pollution.
Beginning Feb. 22, Swarthmore College is hosting a three-day divestment convergence with the goal of teaching college students from all over the country to work with their administrations to remove university investments in fossil fuels. Even if you’ve only recently become seriously interested in global warming, do not wait to join these efforts to remove funds – intended for use in higher learning – from the stocks of corporate polluters. Although as individuals we all have a part to play in limiting our own carbon footprints, fossil fuel companies are by far the main offenders and should not be supported by progressive institutions.
These companies should not be supported by Temple, who should be investing in a safe and healthy future for its students to inherit rather than investments that will create pollution, impacts on public health and disasters. As a Temple alumnus, I’m requesting that Temple put an immediate freeze on new investments in the fossil fuel industry and completely phase out investments in fossil fuel corporations over the next five years. New investments should be made in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Class of 2006