With all the bad environmental news coming daily, from an increase in elephant poaching in the Central African Republic (where poachers are now the new ruling regime), and continued habitat loss for orangutans and other critically endangered species in Indonesia to make room for palm oil plantations, I am very depressed these days. Added to this is the seeming realization that Obama will most probably approve the Keystone Pipeline despite absolute proof that not only is it NOT in the “national interest” of the U.S. (its sole criteria for approval), but that it will lead to a doubling of the amount of carbon already emitted by mankind in all human history (from James Hansen’s op-ed piece in the L.A. Times last week).
An article on Think Progress today linked back to a report from November 2012 by accountants (PricewaterhouseCoopers), no less, usually not environmentalists by any measure. Must disturbing were these causes for depression and despair.
The only way to avoid the pessimistic scenarios will be radical transformations in the ways the global economy currently functions: rapid uptake of renewable energy, sharp falls in fossil fuel use or massive deployment of CCS, removal of industrial emissions and halting deforestation. This suggests a need for much more ambition and urgency on climate policy, at both the national and international level.
Either way, business-as-usual is not an option…
Business leaders have been asking for clarity in political ambition on climate change. Now one thing is clear: businesses, governments and communities across the world need to plan for a warming world – not just 2ºC, but 4ºC and, at our current rates, 6ºC.
And what sort of warmed world would such inaction lead to? According to the bean counters (again, no greenies):
Permanent Dust Bowl conditions over the U.S. Southwest, parts of the Great Plains and many other regions around the globe that are heavily populated and/or heavily farmed.
Sea level rise of some 1 foot by 2050, then 4 to 6 feet (or more) by 2100, rising some 6 to 12 inches (or more) each decade thereafter
Massive species loss on land and sea — perhaps 50% or more of all biodiversity.
Much more extreme weather
I keep getting in Yahoo and HuffPo comment wars with Deniers, with their tin foil hats and writing from their aged mothers’ basements, who continue to press the lie that “global warming is the biggest hoax in history.” Where do they get their certainty? From other fringe Deniers who all point to bizarre and pretzel-bending logic to discredit verifiable scientific proof (and consensus). I’m not that certain about anything — even global warming — but I believe and trust the science that says it IS happening.
Such encounters with these Deniers (my brother and deceased father included) stretch my patience. I’m not willing to gamble future generations’ futures on the very slim possibility that 98% of climate scientists are wrong. Even if they were what’s the worst that can happen? We cut down on pollution! That last line? I remember John McCain saying that many years ago — before he sold out his “maverick” persona to become a Republican pawn for the Heritage Foundation, Koch Brothers and the tea-baggers.
All this to say, Obama’s no savior. He’s no socialist, no Muslim and no monster either. But he’s something more scary: a seemingly shallow, corporate-driven politician that is bereft of guilt and shame on his wussy, underwhelming leadership on environmental issues. Even with two daughters and grandchildren someday, he doesn’t understand that he, along with Bush, were probably this nation’s, and the world’s, last leaders to provide the sort of leadership required to stave off global warming before its grip on the world became a reality.
Sure, there’s news out that Obama’s Organization For Action has entered the fray to twist arms in the backrooms of Congress, but this all seems too little, too late. There are skeptics:
OFA is not advocating any specific policy prescription, nor does its campaign address the lingering question of whether the president will sign off on the construction of the lower part of the Keystone XL, the controversial pipeline that would carry heavy crude oil from Canada to refineries in Oklahoma. Instead, OFA’s goal is simply getting lawmakers to acknowledge the reality of anthropogenic climate change.
“It’s nice to see Organizing for Action going after climate deniers in Congress,” said Jamie Henn, a spokesman for the climate advocacy group 350.org. However, he added, “if President Obama approves Keystone XL it will irrevocably damage OFA’s credibility on environmental issues. Obama voters have made it clear, in polls and in the streets, that they want their president to stand up to Big Oil and say no to Keystone XL.”
With liberals like Obama who needs Republicans? I’m depressed.
- Obama’s Team Shames Congress’s Climate Change Deniers One by One (motherboard.vice.com)
- Obama agenda group targets ‘climate denier’ lawmakers (upi.com)
- OFA On Climate Change: Obama-Allied Group Enters The Climate Wars (huffingtonpost.com)