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The Heat is On?What Can We Do About It?

While the US government hesitates to take action against global warming for fear it will hurt business, Canada, our neighbor to the north, is way ahead of us. There are important ways that an individual can help stop global warming.

Some individual states are suing the federal government over global warming pollution from power plants under the misleadingly named Clear Skies initiative. All this may change very soon, despite the current administration?s pro-business stance, since insurance companies are complaining about how hurricanes like Katrina are squeezing their profits. And there are surprising ways that YOU can help stem the effects of global warming.

CBC News reports that 90 of Canada's climatologists have sent an open letter to the prime minister, warning that global warming is happening right now and the government needs to do something about it. In politics, Canada often follows our lead, and the government just cancelled 15 programs that were designed to help control global warming. The letter read, in part: "We urge you and your government to develop an effective national strategy to deal with the many important aspects of climate that will affect both Canada and the rest of the world in the near future."

The food that people eat is just as important as what kind of cars they drive when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In a new report Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin write, "Both the burning of fossil fuels during food production and non-carbon dioxide emissions associated with livestock and animal waste contribute to the problem."

According to Eshel and Martin, the average American diet requires the production of an extra ton and a half of carbon dioxide-equivalent, in the form of actual carbon dioxide as well as methane and other greenhouse gases compared to a strictly vegetarian diet. "We neither make a value judgment nor do we make a categorical statement," says Eshel, an Assistant Professor in Geophysical Sciences. "We say that however close you can be to a vegan diet and further from the mean American diet, the better you are for the planet. It doesn't have to be all the way to the extreme end of vegan. If you simply cut down from two burgers a week to one, you?ve already made a substantial difference."

Spencer S. Hsu writes in the Washington Post that the sharply the increasing numbers of hurricanes and flood is causing home insurers to lose money on their policies in coastal areas in the US. Since these are some of the major cities in the United States, this could be a major problem. Hsu quotes Robert E. Litan of the Brookings Institution as saying, "If we have another hurricane season this year like we had last, I wouldn't be surprised if you see a stampede of insurers trying to get out."

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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