The scientific evidence on global warming is as disturbing as it is definitive. Increasing carbon emissions challenge our planet and all who inhabit it, a challenge that is here and now and that we must both acknowledge and address. Taking off from the documentary film, An Inconvenient Truth, the presentation by Simmens, special assistant to Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, speaks to the average citizen.
Issue in Context
Global warming refers to the rise of the average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere and oceans and has become a prominent global issue over the last fifty years. Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have been found by scientists to contribute in large part to the continued increase of the earthâ€™s temperature. While some greenhouse gases are necessary to maintain a temperature suitable for life on earth, an excess of these gases can create serious problems. In the past decade, the earth has experienced some of the warmest years ever recorded. While changes in the sun’s orbit and some volcanic eruptions have contributed to global warming, scientists and environmentalists have found that the recent elevated temperatures of the planet can be attributed in large part to human activity. For instance, deforestation and the burning of fossil fuels are largely responsible for the current high levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.
Scientists believe that global warming causes problems such as the melting of polar ice caps, rising sea levels, and changing precipitation patterns that may result in floods and droughts. Plant and animal ranges have shifted and growing seasons have lengthened around the world. If global warming continues, the planet could face such drastic consequences as species extinction, spread of tropical diseases, the collapse of ecosystems, and the loss of ocean circulation.
About the Speaker
Lance Simmens has worked for many years in several distinguished positions in the government. Simmens is special assistant to PA Governor Ed Rendell. Simmens has served in high ranking positions in both the Carter and Clinton administrations including director of intergovernmental affairs for the U.S. Small Business Administration, and deputy director of the Office of Sustainable Development in the U.S. Department of Commerce. He also worked on the Presidentâ€™s Commission on the year 2000.
Before his current position, Simmens was executive director of the Governor’s Cabinet on Children and Families. He also worked for six years with the U.S. Senate Budget Committee and for another six years as the assistant executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. Mr. Simmens held the position of national director of government relations for the Screen Actors Guild in Los Angeles. While holding this post, Simmens represented close to 100,000 members of the entertainment union. He helped establish the first Office of Sustainable Development in the federal government in 1993. Lance Simmens has recently completed a training program led by Al Gore to present Goreâ€™s film An Inconvenient Truth which addresses the negative effects of climate change.
Simmens received his undergraduate degree from Georgia Southern University and his master’s degree in public administration from Temple University in Philadelphia. He also completed post graduate programs at the Harvard Institute for International Development and the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
View An Inconvenient Truth trailer
Governor Rendell’s Homepage
Global Warming Homepage
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Environmental Protection Agency Climate Change Website
Information on An Inconvenient Truth