Polar Explorer Eric Larsen
GTG (Good to Go!)
rainy and 50 degrees F
11 November 2009 | Punta Arenas, Chilet
The weather seems to be moving toward a small window which means that we most likely will have an opportunity to fly to the ice tomorrow. No matter when it comes, it always seems like there is never enough time. Something else that always needs to be done.

Today was considerably more relaxing than yesterday. With all of my gear packed there was mostly managerial tasks today. We had a meeting with ALE's Peter McDowell who gave us the low down on the many protocols involving with flying to, landing on and traveling across Antarctica.

Unlike the Arctic, the Antarctic is governed by a multinational treaty that restricts the types of things that can enter the continent, the need to have Antarctica remain as it was found (it is illegal to remove rocks, etc) and the strict guidelines that will help preserve the pristine nature of the continent into the future (hopefully).

Dong, Bill and I met a few times today to discuss our own arrival and the things we needed to do in the upcoming hours. By five o'clock, all our bags were picked up and there was nothing else to do but sit around and wait for the 'all clear' call. Of course, I'm making it sound easier than it really is and there is a substantial list of last minute tasks that I'm trying desperately to tick off.

One the few expedition traditions I have is to shave my head prior to a big trip. I think the first time I did it was in 2001 when I went up to Ellesmere Island to assist the NOMADS Online Classroom's Arctic Blast expedition. People have asked me if my head gets cold but with my Terramar balaclava and neck gaiter and then a light hat further covered by my Sierra Designs parka (with hood up), I am usually more hot than anything. Besides, it's simply nice not to have to deal with a greasy mop - you know, because of the whole two months without a shower thing.

Late last week, the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee passed a global warming bill. While we love to see action on global warming, this bill needs some big changes for our beloved plant to stand a chance of avoiding climate catastrophe.

There are three fundamental problems with the bill that we need to address as the bill moves through the Senate.

First, the bill would set an emissions reduction target far below what scientists agree is necessary to stop global warming and ocean acidification. Emission scenarios developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicate that the United States must reduce emissions 45 percent or more below 1990 levels by 2020 in order to stabilize the atmosphere at a safe level of 350 parts per million or below. The Senate bill is projected to reduce emissions just 4% below 1990 levels by 2020 - far too little, too late.

Second, the bill would rollback one of our nation's most successful environmental laws: the Clean Air Act. The Clean Air Act is our only existing environmental law that could allow us to reach a goal of 350 ppm, but the bill as it currently stands would remove the Act's authority to do so. The bill would bar the Environmental Protection Agency from setting an overall cap - such as 350 ppm -- on the permissible amount of carbon pollution. Just when we need every tool in the toolbox to fight global warming, the Senate bill would take away one of our most important tools.

Third, the bill's offset provisions are so vast and poor that they undermine its modest emission-reduction goals. Economists have determined that many industries will invest in dubious offsets instead of reducing their carbon emissions.

The political climate in Washington, D.C., is failing the very real, physical climate of places like the poles, which have already changed for the worse. Our elected leaders need to fix the problem, not apply false band-aids. Please join the Center for Biological Diversity and sign our petition to President Obama and the Senate for strong global warming legislation that 1) sets an overall cap on atmospheric carbon dioxide levels of no more than 350 parts per million; 2) maintains the Clean Air Act's ability to curb carbon pollution, and 3) eliminates or greatly reduces offsets and other loopholes.

http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/2167/t/5243/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=2 054

Image: Half way through my traditional expedition hair cut, or in this case, lack of hair cut.

Remember, it's cool to be cold. Save the Poles. Save the planet.

For more information, please visit www.savethepoles.com

For information about guided Antarctic expeditions, please visit http://www.antarctic-logistics.com/

For media inquiries, please contact lora@screamagency.com

For technical inquires, please contact webexpeditions.net
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