In Greenland the barley is growing for the first time since the Middle Ages....Herdsmen in the north of Kenya have been driven to war over the few cattle that have survived the drought....Rising sea levels have forced the relocation of Inuit villages and polar bears have been drowning because of shrinking sea ice...Few images have offered such stark evidence of the advance of climate change as those of the dry bed of the Amazon river. Last year, the largest river in the world was reduced to a trickle by an unprecedented drought...Temperature increases in the Pacific are killing off coral reefs. Some scientists say it is already too late to prevent their destruction....Most ominous of all, environmentalists are warning of disaster in the Himalayas, where glaciers are melting. Several glacier lakes have already burst in Nepal and Bhutan. The disappearance of the glaciers could dry up major rivers as far away as China, India and Vietnam. Daniel Howden, Andrew Buncombe, Justin Huggler, From Alaska to Australia, The World is Changing in Front of Us, lndependent/UK, 9-15-06
Hard Rain Journal 9-19-06: Climate Crisis Update – Gore Articulates The Profit in Prophecy and the Return on Reality
Do you get it yet? Do you understand? Are you ready to fight for the survival of your planet?
But, of course, as Al Gore articulated in a historic speech in New York City on 9-18-06, it is also a fight for the renewal of the US economy.
Perhaps those who cannot get their minds around the global imperative will be able to grasp the potential profitability of leading the world’s largest economy into sustainability and green power.
If the moral imperative doesn’t reach you, perhaps the profit motive will.
Here are some excerpts from Gore’s speech (although I urge you to click on the link and read it in its entirety):
The serious debate over the climate crisis has now moved on to the question of how we can craft emergency solutions in order to avoid this catastrophic damage....
Many Americans are now seeing a bright light shining from the far side of this no-man’s land that illuminates not sacrifice and danger, but instead a vision of a bright future that is better for our country in every way — a future with better jobs, a cleaner environment, a more secure nation, and a safer world.
After all, many Americans are tired of borrowing huge amounts of money from China to buy huge amounts of oil from the Persian Gulf to make huge amounts of pollution that destroys the planet’s climate. Increasingly, Americans believe that we have to change every part of that pattern.
When I visit port cities like Seattle, New Orleans, or Baltimore, I find massive ships, running low in the water, heavily burdened with foreign cargo or foreign oil arriving by the thousands. These same cargo ships and tankers depart riding high with only ballast water to keep them from rolling over.
One-way trade is destructive to our economic future. We send money, electronically, in the opposite direction. But, we can change this by inventing and manufacturing new solutions to stop global warming right here in America. I still believe in good old-fashioned American ingenuity. We need to fill those ships with new products and technologies that we create to turn down the global thermostat. Working together, we can create jobs and stop global warming. But we must begin by winning the first key battle — against inertia and the fear of change.
In order to conquer our fear and walk boldly forward on the path that lies before us, we have to insist on a higher level of honesty in America’s political dialogue. When we make big mistakes in America, it is usually because the people have not been given an honest accounting of the choices before us. It also is often because too many members of both parties who knew better did not have the courage to do better....
So, what would a responsible approach to the climate crisis look like if we had one in America?
Well, first of all, we should start by immediately freezing CO2 emissions and then beginning sharp reductions...A responsible approach to solving this crisis would also involve joining the rest of the global economy in playing by the rules of the world treaty that reduces global warming pollution by authorizing the trading of emissions within a global cap. At present, the global system for carbon emissions trading is embodied in the Kyoto Treaty....The absence of the United States from the treaty means that 25% of the world economy is now missing. It is like filling a bucket with a large hole in the bottom. When the United States eventually joins the rest of the world community in making this system operate well, the global market for carbon emissions will become a highly efficient closed system and every corporate board of directors on earth will have a fiduciary duty to manage and reduce CO2 emissions in order to protect shareholder value...Third, a responsible approach to solutions would avoid the mistake of trying to find a single magic “silver bullet” and recognize that the answer will involve what Bill McKibben has called “silver-buckshot” — numerous important solutions, all of which are hard, but no one of which is by itself the full answer for our problem...
I look forward to the deep discussion and debate that lies ahead. But there are already some solutions that seem to stand out as particularly promising:
First, dramatic improvements in the efficiency with which we generate, transport and use energy will almost certainly prove to be the single biggest source of sharp reductions in global warming pollution....A second group of building blocks to solve the climate crisis involves America’s transportation infrastructure. We could further increase the value and efficiency of a distributed energy network by retooling our failing auto giants — GM and Ford — to require and assist them in switching to the manufacture of flex-fuel, plug-in, hybrid vehicles...
In a market economy like ours, however, every one of the solutions that I have discussed will be more effective and much easier to implement if we place a price on the CO2 pollution that is recognized in the marketplace. We need to summon the courage to use the right tools for this job.
For the last fourteen years, I have advocated the elimination of all payroll taxes — including those for social security and unemployment compensation — and the replacement of that revenue in the form of pollution taxes — principally on CO2. The overall level of taxation would remain exactly the same. It would be, in other words, a revenue neutral tax swap. But, instead of discouraging businesses from hiring more employees, it would discourage business from producing more pollution.
Global warming pollution, indeed all pollution, is now described by economists as an “externality.” This absurd label means, in essence: we don’t to keep track of this stuff so let’s pretend it doesn’t exist.
And sure enough, when it’s not recognized in the marketplace, it does make it much easier for government, business, and all the rest of us to pretend that it doesn’t exist. But what we’re pretending doesn’t exist is the stuff that is destroying the habitability of the planet. We put 70 million tons of it into the atmosphere every 24 hours and the amount is increasing day by day. Penalizing pollution instead of penalizing employment will work to reduce that pollution.
When we place a more accurate value on the consequences of the choices we make, our choices get better. At present, when business has to pay more taxes in order to hire more people, it is discouraged from hiring more people. If we change that and discourage them from creating more pollution they will reduce their pollution. Our market economy can help us solve this problem if we send it the right signals and tell ourselves the truth about the economic impact of pollution...
What is motivating millions of Americans to think differently about solutions to the climate crisis is the growing realization that this challenge is bringing us unprecedented opportunity.
Al Gore, NYU Law School, 9/18/06, Think Progress
Unfortunately, the political establishment is not providing leadership, nor is the mainstream news media.
Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"
There is a powerful magic in personal commitment.
Hard Rain Journal 9-15-06: Climate Crisis Update – If You Have Children, or Care About the Future for Any Reason, You Should Read These Five News Items
Hard Rain Journal 8-28-06: Six Ways for the US to Fight Global Warming
Hard Rain Journal 8-17-06: Typhoon Season Intensifies, Canada Starts to Slide into Denial, New Study Offers Insight on Global Warming Impact
Hard Rain Journal 8-2-06: North Korean flood toll thought to be 10,000, Agence France Press reports
Hard Rain Journal 7-27-06: Killer Heat Waves, Massive Blackouts -- You Were Warned 3 Years Ago
Hard Rain Journal 7-26-06: NRDC Reports on Global Warming's Direct Threat to 12 National Parks in Western USA
Hard Rain Journal 7-24-06: Five Stories about the Reality of Global Warming, Is Continued Denial Criminally Insane?
Hard Rain Journal 7-21-06: Heat Waves in Europe & US are Direct Consequences of Global Warming
Words of Power #25: Lost Symbols, Part II -- The Rainbow Serpent Hisses, Lessons about Sustainability & Survival from Darfur, Senegal and Ecuador
Hard Rain Journal 6-27-06: Global Warming, Bush's Alleged "Incompetence," and the So-Called "Conservative" Agenda
Words of Power #20: Cusco, Kyoto and The Yellow Sand Storm
Words of Power #7: Global Warming Is A Security Threat To Your Family & Your Business
Words of Power #1: Truths Salvaged from Post-Katrina Debacle
Global Warming, Energy Security, Environmental Security, Alternate Energy, Sustainability, Renewable Resources, Climate Change, Weather, Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, Extreme Weather, Greenland, Inuit, Coral Reefs, Amazon, Himalayas, Kenya