Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Climate Crisis Update: Gore to the US Senate -- "We have arrived at a moment of decision."

United States of Climate Change, Sightline

We have arrived at a moment of decision. Our home - Earth - is in grave danger. What is at risk of being destroyed is not the planet itself, of course, but the conditions that have made it hospitable for human beings.
Moreover, we must face up to this urgent and unprecedented threat to the existence of our civilization at a time when our country must simultaneously solve two other worsening crises. Our economy is in its deepest recession since the 1930s. And our national security is endangered by a vicious terrorist network and the complex challenge of ending the war in Iraq honorably while winning the military and political struggle in Afghanistan.
As we search for solutions to all three of these challenges, it is becoming clearer that they are linked by a common thread – our dangerous over-reliance on carbon-based fuels.
Al Gore, US Senate Testimony, 1-28-09

Climate Crisis Update: Gore to the US Senate -- "We have arrived at a moment of decision."

By Richard Power

This is my eight hundred and eleventh post from Words of Power since its inception in late 2005. And, prior to Words of Power, there were hundreds more posts from my previous blog, Liberation News Service (June 2003-January 2006).

Throughout this long journey into the collective psyche of the body politic, I have repeated over and over again that global warming was the number one national security issue of our time, and furthermore, that we could not achieve either economic security or national security without achieving environmental security.

In the last couple of years, since the publishing of Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Greed, Fear and Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis, I have been articulating the frame of four great deadlines:

1) Choosing reason over madness in the US presidential election of 2008 (check it off as successfully completed!)

2) Agreement in 2009 on a meaningful and effective international treaty for combating global warming.

3) Achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals by 2015.

4) And, of course, every dawn that breaks there is a new deadline set for stopping the genocide in Darfur. And so far, by dusk every day, the great nations of the world have once again failed to meet it.

Throughout the grim interlude since the theft of the US presidency in 2000, Nobel Peace Prize winner Al Gore has been an indefatigable champion of the truth, however inconvenient He returned to the US Senate today to testify again, and the simplicity and stark power of his message should be shared far and wide. And it is with a sense of personal fulfillment, I do my part in this post.

In his 1-28-09 Senate testimony, Gore articulated the three bold steps needed for planetary victory in the struggle to mitigate the impact of global warming and climate change:

The first step is already before us. I urge this Congress to quickly pass the entirety of President Obama’s Recovery package. The plan’s unprecedented and critical investments in four key areas - energy efficiency, renewables, a unified national energy grid and the move to clean cars - represent an important down payment and are long overdue. These crucial investments will create millions of new jobs and hasten our economic recovery - while strengthening our national security and beginning to solve the climate crisis.
Quickly building our capacity to generate clean electricity will lay the groundwork for the next major step needed: placing a price on carbon. If Congress acts right away to pass President Obama's Recovery package and then takes decisive action this year to institute a cap-and-trade system for CO2 emissions – as many of our states and many other countries have already done - the United States will regain its credibility and enter the Copenhagen treaty talks with a renewed authority to lead the world in shaping a fair and effective treaty. And this treaty must be negotiated this year.
Not next year. This year.
A fair, effective and balanced treaty will put in place the global architecture that will place the world – at long last and in the nick of time – on a path toward solving the climate crisis and securing the future of human civilization. ...
Al Gore, US Senate Testimony, 1-28-09

Gore also outlined the elements needed for successful agreement in Copenhagen:

- Strong targets and timetables from industrialized countries and differentiated butbinding commitments from developing countries that put the entire world under a system with one commitment: to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and otherglobal warming pollutants that cause the climate crisis;
- The inclusion of deforestation, which alone accounts for twenty percent of the emissions that cause global warming;
- The addition of sinks including those from soils, principally from farmlands and grazing lands with appropriate methodologies and accounting. Farmers and ranchers in the U.S. and around the world need to know that they can be part of
the solution;
- The assurance that developing countries will have access to mechanisms and resources that will help them adapt to the worst impacts of the climate crisis and technologies to solve the problem; and,
- A strong compliance and verification regime.
Al Gore, US Senate Testimony, 1-28-09

If you have not already joined the Alliance for Climate Protection, Al Gore and I urge you to do so. Click here.

For the Words of Power Climate Crisis Updates Archive, click here.

For an archive of Words of Power posts on Economic Insecurity, click here.

For a Words of Power Archive of posts on the Crisis in Darfur, click here.

For an archive of Words of Power posts on the UN Millennium Goals, click here.

Richard Power's Left-Handed Security: Overcoming Fear, Greed & Ignorance in This Era of Global Crisis is available now! Click here for more information.

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