Sunday, July 01, 2007

Climate Crisis Update 7-1-07: Gore Calls on USA to Lead, Sign New Treaty by End of 2009

Image: Variations of the Earth's surface temperature: year 1000 to year 2100, IPCC

Recent floods in Asia and Britain, and heatwaves in southern Europe, show the world must be better prepared to cope with the impact of climate change, the United Nation's top disaster prevention official said ... "Heavy rainfalls in Pakistan, India and northern England and heatwaves in Greece, Italy and Romania are indications of what might happen more frequently and more severely across the globe as a consequence of the global warming," said Salvano Briceno, director of the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction. Agence France Press, 6-27-07

Global warming is such a threat to security that military planners must build it into their calculations, the head of Britain's armed forces said ... Jock Stirrup, chief of the defense staff, said risks that climate change could cause weakened states to disintegrate and produce major humanitarian disasters or exploitation by armed groups had to become a feature of military planning. Jeremy Lovell, Reuters, 6-25-07

The daunting prospect of mass population movements set off by climate change and environmental disasters poses an imminent new challenge that no one has yet figured out how to meet. People displaced by global warming -- the Christian Aid agency has predicted there will be one billion by 2050 -- could dwarf the nearly 10 million refugees and almost 25 million internally displaced people already fleeing wars and oppression. Alistair Lyons, Reuters, 6-19-07

Climate Crisis Update 7-1-07: Gore Calls on USA to Lead, Sign New Treaty by End of 2009

By Richard Power

In an wonderful op-ed piece in the 7-1-07 sunday edition of the New York Times, Al Gore calls on the whole planet -- on each person and every government, but on the people and government of the USA in particular -- to accept the responsibility, and participate in what is perhaps the most important collective, global decision in human history -- i.e., whether to rise to the challenge of global warming or succumb in ignorance, fear and short-sighted seflishness.

Here are some excerpts --

Next Saturday, on all seven continents, the Live Earth concert will ask for the attention of humankind to begin a three-year campaign to make everyone on our planet aware of how we can solve the climate crisis in time to avoid catastrophe. Individuals must be a part of the solution. ...
But individual action will also have to shape and drive government action. Here Americans have a special responsibility. Throughout most of our short history, the United States and the American people have provided moral leadership for the world. Establishing the Bill of Rights, framing democracy in the Constitution, defeating fascism in World War II, toppling Communism and landing on the moon — all were the result of American leadership.
Once again, Americans must come together and direct our government to take on a global challenge. American leadership is a precondition for success.
To this end, we should demand that the United States join an international treaty within the next two years that cuts global warming pollution by 90 percent in developed countries and by more than half worldwide in time for the next generation to inherit a healthy Earth.
This treaty would mark a new effort. I am proud of my role during the Clinton administration in negotiating the Kyoto protocol. But I believe that the protocol has been so demonized in the United States that it probably cannot be ratified here — much in the way the Carter administration was prevented from winning ratification of an expanded strategic arms limitation treaty in 1979. Moreover, the negotiations will soon begin on a tougher climate treaty. ...
If by the beginning of 2009, the United States already has in place a domestic regime to reduce global warming pollution, I have no doubt that when we give industry a goal and the tools and flexibility to sharply reduce carbon emissions, we can complete and ratify a new treaty quickly. It is, after all, a planetary emergency.
A new treaty will still have differentiated commitments, of course; countries will be asked to meet different requirements based upon their historical share or contribution to the problem and their relative ability to carry the burden of change. This precedent is well established in international law, and there is no other way to do it. ...
Certainly, there will be new jobs and new profits as corporations move aggressively to capture the enormous economic opportunities offered by a clean energy future.
But there’s something even more precious to be gained if we do the right thing. The climate crisis offers us the chance to experience what few generations in history have had the privilege of experiencing: a generational mission; a compelling moral purpose; a shared cause; and the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict of politics and to embrace a genuine moral and spiritual challenge.
Al Gore, New York Times, 7-1-07

To sign the Live Earth Pledge, click here.

Want to wake people up to the US mainstream news media's complicity in misinforming the public on global warming and climate change? Click here for Media Matters' compilation of "Myths and Falsehoods about Global Warming".

Want to participate in the effort to mitigate the impact of global warming? Download "Ten Things You Can Do"

Want to join hundreds of thousands of people on the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, and become part of the movement to demand our leaders freeze and reduce carbon dioxide emissions now? Click here.

For a directory of Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates, click here.

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