C02 emissions are growing at ever faster rates, in part, because the oceans are absorbing less CO2 and tropical forests are being devastated. Ecosystems are shifting. Fires are spreading. Droughts continue. And, it is nearly November, the heat has yet to go on. Have we already pulled the trigger?
And, life is filled with advertisements for SUVs. Christmas (and Halloween) lights are going up all around. The White House tells us Global Warming is good for health.
It is a Mad World …
Reasoned people recognize that the world faces a serious threat; that we risk seeing the majority of species (homo sapiens?) go extinct in the coming century; and, that humanity is the central cause of that threat.
Yet, we seem to have Talk, Talk, Talk about Global Warming. Or, as Winston Churchill put it, jaw-jaw. Now, Churchill’s famous quote is “to jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war”. This is, however, a situation where War-War, in terms of taking serious action to change paths, is required rather than continued, indefinite jaw-jaw.
On the Hill, at this time, the most praised Global Warming bill is the “bipartisan” Lieberman-Warner, a bill that is, well, an improvement over Bush-Cheney policy. It really is an improvement. Without question.
There are some issues with it. The NRDC, for example, praises while suggesting that there are some things to fix in the bill:
“The Lieberman-Warner bill, America’s Climate Security Act (S. 2191), is a promising step forward to putting our country on a path toward avoiding extremely dangerous global warming. While S. 2191 provides a solid framework for sound global warming legislation, there are some significant areas in which it can and should be substantially improved.
“Chairman Lieberman and Ranking Member Warner have stepped forward at a key moment in history. We look forward to further progress as this legislation moves through the Subcommittee and the full Environment and Public Works Committee, and we at NRDC stand ready to assist in any way possible.”
As might be picked up from the title of the Friends of the Earth press release, Lieberman climate bill could have record corporate giveaways, there are many problems with this bill, not just that it would reward today’s big polluters by giving them free rights to pollute decades into the future. (I wonder, if one is to ‘allocate’ the right to pollute, why it should not be given to every single American citizen who could then decide whether or not to sell their rights to the highest bidders? Or, why should a coal-fired electricity plant receive rights and not the wind turbine operator on the horizon? But, that is an aside.)
Forget the giveaway, the minimum standard that we should expect would be “Cap and Auction” (e.g., take that money for the right to pollute the commons for those who own the commons, all of us, commonly). Let us use those funds in two ways:
* To give back (roughly) 50% to all citizens residing in the United States — consider this an income redistribution from those who consume more pollutants to those who live less polluting lives. * The other 50 percent to foster a Prosperous, Climate-Friendly Society (including remediation of damage already done and dealing with adapting to that already done damage).But, well, the funds are only a small part of the problems with that oh so bipartisan Lieberman-Warner. HillHeathas an excellent post comparing Lieberman-Warner with Sanders-Lautenberg. Well, let us say that it is easy to understand which is a bill more likely to produce meaningful change, meaningful results.
There are good things, interesting ideas in Lieberman-Warner, but the question is whether it is fundamentally flawed, whether “good” can result from it.
It is hard to understand, hard to speak about this in a meaningful way, but Lieberman-Warner provides for a 67% reduction in US emissions by 2050. That is about 20% lower than the 80 percent minimum (MINIMUM) recommended by the scientific community as possibly (POSSIBLY) providing a safe level to transition throgh global warming without melting Greenland’s ice. Lieberman-Warner would would slow America’s (and the globe’s) headlong rush over the cliff of Global Warming, but not fundamentally turn us away from it.
Some argue that it is imperative to pass a bill, to have “Global Warming” legislation pass the Congress.
Americans ‘want something done about Global Warming’ but don’t have a clear vision, understanding as to what is required.
This is, legitimately, quite complex and confusing.
My fear (beyond the terror that nothing serious will occur) is that a ‘good enough to pass Congress’ Global Warming bill will pass and, well, might even get signed into law. And, well, if that occurs, there will be no ability to revisit the issue, the challenges for years to come.
Senator Sanders, the author of the strongest piece of Global Warming legislation in the Senate, has basically
The most recent studies, Sanders added, have found that scientists had underestimated the rapidity of changes caused by global warming.
“The problem is even worse than many have previously suggested,” Sanders said. “If anything, the legislation Senator Boxer and I introduced in January, the strongest legislation introduced in Congress to address global warming, is probably too conservative to address the problem. It is likely that we should be even more aggressive in our targets and timetables for mandatory reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”
That too conservative legislation called for an 80 percent cut in emissions by 2050.
There are many challenges facing the nation and all of us.
Many things call for our attention.
But, even if for just a short time, consider what you can do to prompt action on Global Warming. How can you help prompt serious and adequate action to address Global Warming? There are many things that each of us can (and should do) but without serious governmental action, our individual acts will not be enough.
If you have any problems considering what to do, how you can add your voice to the chorus for real action on Global Warming, let me call your attention to
Step It Up.
On 3 November, Step It Up is having a National Day of Climate Action.
On November 3rd, Americans will demand real leadership on global warming. From coast to coast, we’ll rally in our communities and invite our politicians to join us. We’ll see who rises to the occasion and who has a real plan to tackle the defining challenge of our time. One year before the election, let’s make sure the world witnesses our national call to action:
Three basic points to the 1 Sky priorities
- Green Jobs Now: 5 MILLION GREEN JOBS CONSERVING 20% OF OUR
- Cut Carbon 80% by 2050: FREEZE CLIMATE POLLUTION LEVELS NOW AND CUT AT(note: the 80% is probably not an aggressive enough objective)
- No New Coal: A MORATORIUM ON NEW COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS
These are real objectives.
These are real steps that we can take to change America’s and the Globe’s path, to turn us away from the looming disaster.
Join Step It Up, November 3rd, in a call for a return to sanity.
We have the chance, the obligation to fight for sanity.
Thank you, Melvin, for thoughts and inspiration (If we do these things in the greenwood …)