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DISPATCHES
Mass Movement
At this very moment, Americans are marching arm in arm, virtually speaking, to the nation's capital to take action against global warming.

Stop Global Warming braceletsThe Stop Global Warming Virtual March on Washington was launched by Senator John McCain, NRDC trustee Laurie David, and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. on Earth Day 2005 and will continue until Earth Day 2006. The web-based campaign has enlisted scientists, religious leaders, and politicians, as well as Americans from every state in the nation, to mobilize citizens to demand action at the federal level. On the Web site, "marchers" can make "stops" around the country to learn more about how global warming is affecting all of us -- bulletins about changes that will affect visitors to Glacier National Park and Native Americans in South Dakota, for example, are posted biweekly. Visit www.stopglobalwarming.org to join the march.



Cool Cars

An overwhelming majority of California voters -- 81 percent -- support the state's new global warming auto emissions standards, including 77 percent of SUV owners. Yet car manufacturers continue to contest the new rules in court. NRDC helped develop the standards, which require heat-trapping exhaust from new vehicles to be reduced by 30 percent between 2009 and 2016. Even as the battle drags on, more states are following the Golden State's lead (which makes Ford, General Motors, Toyota, and their fellow plaintiffs nervous), including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. Canada has a voluntary agreement with auto- makers to curb emissions. If the automakers' suit is defeated, the number of consumers buying cleaner cars could make up 40 percent of the U.S.-Canada auto market.



A Thirst in the West

Eight of the nation's 10 fastest-growing cities lie in the western states of Arizona, California, and Nevada, where development is unrealistically dependent on meager water supplies. Retirees play golf on preternaturally lush courses and lounge on perfectly manicured lawns. Water managers wonder how they'll keep up with water demand as warmer temperatures reduce the snowpack in the Rocky Mountains and Sierra Nevada, parching rivers and reservoirs. NRDC is working with the Southern Nevada Water Authority -- one of the largest municipal water districts in the West -- to tackle the question at a conference this fall. "Nobody's planning for the effects of global warming," says Theo Spencer of NRDC's Climate Center. "It's the 800-pound gorilla in the room." For the first time, the top water managers in the West will convene to discuss openly the problems they'll face in coming years and to begin to come up with some viable solutions. Earlier this year, NRDC commissioned the first in-depth analysis of global warming's impact on water in the West, and the preliminary results will be presented at the conference.


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Nice picture, but how much for the electricity?
Illustration of a TV


Wonder why your electric bill is putting such a strain on your wallet these days? Summer's over, so it's not the air conditioner. But that new high-definition TV you bought, and the DVD player, Xbox, TiVo, and digital cable box you plugged into it suck up electricity like a mechanical tornado. The average home entertainment setup (a TV plus a few accessories) imbibes as much electricity as two refrigerators and amounts to about 10 percent of the typical American household's electricity bill. Bet your TV salesman neglected to mention this little fact.

As energy demand grows, some states are looking to curb electricity use by passing laws that require the makers of common electricity hogs to meet minimum efficiency requirements. Following the lead of California, New York, and a handful of other states, Congress passed efficiency standards (as part of July's energy bill) for ceiling fan lights, commercial ice-cube makers, and pedestrian traffic signals, among others, but they left TVs and DVD players off the roster. So California and New York are the only states to regulate consumer electronics. NRDC helped craft New York's rules, which should reduce peak energy demand in the state by more than 1,000 megawatts -- equal to three medium-size power plants -- by 2020.



To take action online on these and other environmental issues, visit NRDC's Earth Action Center.



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Illustration: istockphoto.com/cyan22

OnEarth. Fall 2005
Copyright 2005 by the Natural Resources Defense Council