Monday, June 29, 2009

Tuesday Series- The Eco-Elitist- It's getting hotter in here!

Friday, June 26th was a major day in the fight against global warming. The climate change bill, called the Waxman-Markey bill passed in the House of Representatives. The bill has 4 titles (or goals):
1. clean energy
2. energy efficiency
3. reducing global warming
4. transitioning to a clean energy economy

It focuses on clean and renewable energy (eg. wind, biomass, solar and geothermal), carbon capture and sequestration (helps to reduce global warming by capturing and redirecting emissions from fossil fuel producing plants into the ground), clean cars (biofuels and electric cars), and energy efficiency in buildings, appliances, transportation and homes. It also has a global warming pollution reduction program that has a goal to be at 83% below 2005 CO2 levels by 2050 by focusing on the greatest "offenders"- electric utilities, oil and large industrial companies. The bill will also help companies offset the extra cost in switching to cleaner energy sources. It will encourage colleges and universities to start programs promoting "green careers" and it encourages the exportation of clean energy technology to developing nations.

Whew! It is quite an amazing bill and one that we've been needing for a long time. No, of course, it's not perfect but what is? Surprisingly, some people don't like it. 212 representatives voted against this bill! Frightening, I know. And why? Beats me.

According to Paul Krugman's NYTimes Op-Ed column on Monday, titled "Betraying the Planet," a new M.I.T study has found that the predicted temperature increases are accelerating at a much faster rate than we once thought. A 9 degree rise in temperature at the end of this century is now considered a possibility in a business as usual scenario. To put things in perspective, Krugman points out that New Hampshire would have the climate of North Carolina, Illinois would be like East Texas, and heat waves would be quite severe across the country. Arctic tundras are defrosting, contributing even more carbon dioxide to the problem, and ice sheets are melting faster than expected. AAAAAaaaah. The sky is falling! And 212 representatives voted against it because it's not perfect or they don't believe in the problem. I don't get it. Should we do nothing?

OK, slow down, climate change is quite a serious problem and I know for many who are just trying to put food on their table, keep their jobs and get their kids off to school, it is quite an abstract problem and hard to swallow. And, I'm not trying to be a "doomsdayer." And, yes, these things are quite hard to really predict. But, what I do know is that the earth's atmosphere is changing and changing faster than we thought. Now, it's not just a matter of "saving our earth or the trees"- they are certainly important- it's also about saving ourselves. I've recently heard about an anti-global warming argument the people come before the trees and the animals and therefore we have to worry about the needs of the people first. But don't you think we are just slightly connected to all this? I think so. This climate change has a dramatic effect on our water supply, the food we eat and the landscapes and neighborhoods where we live and what about the severe pollution that is causing an onslaught of asthma especially in children? This is a people problem because we need what the earth produces- we need it for survival and we need the earth to be healthy and clean for our own health. And we need the earth and its awe-inspiring nature for our enjoyment and spirit. So, let's all support the need to move forward and fixing the mess that we have unwittingly created. We have the intelligence and the technology to make things better. This movement creates a whole new industry- one that is sustainable and can grow, one that is steeped in doing things better and helping our race in the long run not an industry that just tries to make things cheaper, bigger and faster. We can do so much better.

You know, it's getting hotter in here! Let's just all cool it and start fixing this problem!

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