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In recent posts, I asked, “Could 2013  be the turn-around year in the fight against Climate Change? Is it possible that the climate-induced events of 2012 will spur world leadership into decisive action?”

President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama

These are important questions if humanity is going to ensure the survival of future generations on Planet Earth. Change is needed now, it is needed urgently and it is needed on a global scale. But who will lead it and when?

In President Obama’s inauguration speech of January 21, the section on climate change came out ahead of any other issue.  It left little room for any doubt about his New Determination to attack climate change. The State of the Union address provided the President the perfect opportunity to continue his focus on addressing Climate Change “for the sake of our children and our future.” Fortunately he now has both the American public and Mother Nature on his side.

Mother Nature on Obama’s Side

Obama has the American public on his side. A vast majority of Americans now want and expect action on climate change. The shadow of the Summer of 2012 still looms large on the American psyche.

But more importantly, Obama has ‘Mother Nature’ on his side as well. Nothing will keep the focus on Climate Change more than repeated natural disasters such as those of 2012 – droughts, wildfires, floods, water shortages, rising food prices, and in the US, hurricane Sandy. Sadly, it will take more of these disasters for the world to ‘wake up’ to its new reality.

Heat wave in Australia in January of 2013
Extreme Weather
Australia has seen record-breaking heat and wildfires in January . The number of consecutive days with a maximum temperature greater than 39°C set a new record and was the longest since 1973. Hundreds of thousands of acres have been destroyed by wildfires and hundreds of homes were destroyed as people fled from advancing fires.

Northeast snow storm of 2013
Mammoth Snow Storm

Now only half way through winter, the American North East is still digging itself out of a fierce snowstorm and hurricane force winds which battered a vast area stretching from New Jersey to Canada. The storm affected some 40 million people. More than 3/4 million homes and businesses were without power, thousands of cars were abandoned, over 5,000 flights were cancelled . With more than three feet of snow falling in many areas, at least nine deaths are blamed on the storm.

Recent assessments about the ongoing drought in the US is causing panic among American farmers and food industry experts. While some regions will show improvements in weather conditions, new areas of drought will develop. But for the most part, the persistence of drought conditions will continue in 2013 in much of the central and southern plains according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Persistence of Droughts

Yes to Unilateral Action

No nation in the world has a stronger moral obligation and responsibility than the United States to lead the climate change revolution. Waiting for developing nations like China, India and those of South America to do “their share” is just a lame excuse for inaction. The undeniable fact is that Western developed nations, lead by America, are directly responsible for the 355.55 ppm of atmospheric CO2 (January 2013).

Cass Sunstein (BloombergView) presents a strong argument:

that if international action is to occur, the U.S. has to help to lead it, through deeds as well as words…in recent years, international negotiations have stalled…nations haven’t yet been convinced that the U.S. is itself willing to make such commitments. True, action by the U.S. can’t guarantee an international accord. But it may be a necessary condition for such an accord, and it would certainly increase the likelihood that other nations will act as well.

…to limit the risks of climate change, many nations will be required to act. But unilateral action should not be avoided for that reason. On the contrary, pragmatic steps by the planet’s most important nation are likely to help spur action by others — and to lead to technological advances that will ultimately be in the interest of the world as a whole.

As natural disasters and extreme weather occurrences multiply around the globe, evidence of climate change becomes irrefutable. The pressure to act is mounting, forcing world leaders to respond. People will bring about change, not governments, not the UN, not the corporate sector, not religion.

I’m reminded of Salmon Rushdie’s words that “if you give ordinary people a voice, and enough time to use it, everyday poetry flows movingly from them”, translated to politicians will have no choice but to respond.

 


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10 COMMENTS

  1. It was global cooling in the 70’s, and global warming in the 80’s and 90’s. Now it’s “Climate change”. The Earth changes all the time, naturally. The so-called science saying that increased CO2 by man is the cause of the current warming cycle is now out the window. CO2 has continued to increase, yet the last 15 years has not corresponded with any global temperature increase.

    If people want to be scientific, then they must follow theory proofing sequence. A theory is proposed, observations made, and if observations follow the theory under a long period of time, then that theory becomes fact. However, the AGW theory hasn’t followed it’s own theory, where if CO2 increases, then temps increase. It is now broken as a theory and must be discarded, to be replaced by other theories.

    So far other theories that still hold, are sun activity forces, cosmic ray fluctuations, and other natural forces such as volcano ash releases. To continue to push the AGW theory and government spending and regulation on debunked science is completely irresponsible.

    • WOW! and how much of an IDIOT are you?
      You think it is alright to frack the hell out of farmland and other important places on land, poison rivers and lakes, destroy all ecosystems that depends on water?
      The earth can recover from volcanoes, but US humans are contently putting CO2 non stop without a break! too much for the earth to recover, refresh itself!
      Some of our waters are permanently poisoned cause of people who thinks dirty oil and poisonous gas is healthy for all!
      “You can’t eat money, you can’t drink oil and gas, but it sure can destroy the ecosystem and food sources”
      Water has more value than filth!!
      Where can I start….In the United States, they have 33 algae farms and corporation’s involved with algae, algae grown different ways and you don’t need much land and produces 100x more oil than any plant and can be harvested every day.
      The UK has a few universities and a college playing with algae oil, 1 or 2 algae farm’s in Sweden and at ;east 2 algae farm in Canada.
      There are other countries involved in it, but I don;’t know it very well, but the states are growing greener and greener every couple of months while we are going filthier filtheir (I am not forgetting Utah Tar sands). Anyway, they have tested algae oil oil on a plane, a car and a naval ship and it works great!! more positives than dirty fuel (dirty fuel has nothing positive of course)
      Let me speed up the light at this moment. Just recently at least couple of the states are using “algae oil” for vehicles, 20% algae mixed with filthy fuel, but it is still in the processes and Obama is planning on funding another algae farm…I think it is funding, I can;t remember, but he was right next to a bio reactor for algae growth.
      While certain countries are moving forward, garbage like harper in our country is preventing us going forward.
      Harper should be funding algae oil for fuel and other clean energy..not really funding, but helping it grow.
      Look up “algae oil for fual” and “naval green strike group” for more info.
      Don’t forget to look up updated info on it.

    • Thanks for your detailed comment. But the fact remains that we are entering the era of climate change or call it what you want. Extreme weather is causing droughts, wildfires, floods, massive storms and it’s just the beginning of the climate crisis.

      We can no longer bury our heads in the sand and hope that technology or some silver bullet will come along to solve our problems. It’s time to act – we don’t need any more theories.

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