Wednesday, September 02, 2009

What Needs to Be Done? Create 100,000 Artificial Trees, Save Our Last Great Boreal Forest, Pass Waxman-Markey, Embrace "350" &, Yes, Wage Cultural War

Frida Kahlo's Roots

"What the U.S. and China do over the next decade," declared Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the Nobel Prize – winning physicist who is leading President Obama's push for a clean-energy economy, "will determine the fate of the world." Time, 8-23-09

{The American Petroleum Institute] is attempting to undermine the U.S. Senate’s consideration of climate-change legislation, and it just might succeed. The House bill, referred to as the American Clean Energy and Security Act or the Waxman-Markey climate bill, is up for consideration by the Senate in September. Fast action would be required in order to grant President Barack Obama the room to negotiate at the G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh in late September, a key step in the lead-up to Copenhagen. But Sens. Barbara Boxer and John Kerry said this week that the bill will be delayed, citing the health-care debate and the death of Sen. Edward Kennedy ... Genuine citizen action, in the U.S. and beyond, will be critical to counter industry influence over the Copenhagen talks. Amy Goodman, TruthDig, 9-2-09

A new Washington Post/ABC News poll has found that 55 percent of Americans approve of the way President Obama is handling energy issues and nearly 60 percent support changes in U.S energy policy being proposed by Congress and the administration. Fifty-two percent support a cap-and-trade system.
Business lobbying groups are launching a multimillion-dollar ad campaign to defeat climate change legislation.
Think Porgress, 8-28-09

Changing weather patterns have decimated crops in several of the world's poorest countries this year, leaving millions in need of food aid and humanitarian workers warning about the dangerous effects of climate change., 9-2-09

A team of British experts has discovered that the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has seriously underestimated the expected annual cost of dealing with climate impacts. It suggests that the true cost could be at least two or three-fold greater, and possibly much more if other hidden factors are taken into account. Steve Connor, Independent, 8-28-09

Climate Crisis: What Needs to Be Done? Create 100,000 Artificial Trees, Save World's Last Great Boreal Forest, Pass Waxman-Markey, Embrace "350" &, oh yes, Wage Cultural War

By Richard Power

Obama will soon deliver an address on healthcare reform to a joint session of Congress.

Perhaps we will know where we stand after that speech. Perhaps we shall be behind a leader who is willing to press on for real change, perhaps we will be at odds with a leader who suffers from a predilection to compromise at any cost.

On this issue, I stand with Howard Dean, and with the AFL-CIO (see Labor Warns Dems: We'll Sit Out Election If You Oppose Public Plan).

Meanwhile, keeping perspective on the big picture is vital. There are even more urgent struggles ahead of us, for which we will have to try to come together again.

We are only eight months into the Obama administration. Consider the hateful frenzy that has already been whipped up at even the most moderate promise of meaningful change.

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) delivered a “speech filled with urgent and violent rhetoric” at a gathering sponsored by the Independence Institute in Denver ... “This [health care reform] cannot pass ... What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass ... ” Think Progress, 9-1-09

Arizona Pastor Steven Anderson has received national attention for ... having a parishioner who brought an AR-15 to a protest outside a speech delivered by President Obama ... he escalated his rhetoric yesterday: I hope that God strikes Obama with brain cancer so he can die like Ted Kennedy. You know, and I hope it happens today. Think Progress, 8-31-09

These are the remarks of an elected official of the U.S. House of Representatives and a man who claims to be a minister in the name of Jesus of Nazareth.

Imagine what Bachman and Anderson will say, and incite the woebegotten sheeple to do, when it comes to the final push to get Climate Change legislation to Obama's desk. (And remember, we already wasted the EIGHT YEARS in disinformation and denial, EIGHT YEARS that we could not afford to waste.)

The healthcare debate is one of dire national importance for the USA, and the nature of opposition to meaningful reform is, in many ways, self-abusive.

But the climate change debate (by that I mean what to do about it, not whether it is real), is not... simply of one of dire national importance, it is one of dire planetary importance, and the nature of opposition to meaningful action on climate change is not simply self-abusive, it is suicidal.

The USA should be leading the planet in the struggle to BOTH adapt to AND roll back the worst of Climate Change, but because of the dysfunction of the body politic, the scientific illiteracy of the populace, and the blind greed of the energy industry lobby, and, as I mentioned, we are already EIGHT YEARS behind the curve.

Here are some worthy glimpses into the vital issues that we need to come to grips with, just beyond this struggle over healthcare reform.

We urgently need to cease the destruction of our great forests:

"The researchers from Memorial University of Newfoundland in Canada, University of Adelaide in Australia and the National University of Singapore have called for the urgent preservation of existing boreal forests in order to secure ... biodiversity and prevent the loss of this major global carbon sink.
The boreal forest comprises about one-third of the world's forested area and one-third of the world's stored carbon, covering a large proportion of Russia, Canada, Alaska and Scandinavia.
To date it has remained largely intact because of the typically sparse human populations in boreal regions. That is now changing says researchers ..."
Terra Daily, 9-1-09

We urgently need to invest in new science and technology to cope with the consequences of what we have wrought:

Engineers say a forest of 100,000 "artificial trees" could be deployed within 10 to 20 years to help soak up the world's carbon emissions. The trees are among three geo-engineering ideas highlighted as practical in a new report.
The [authors] from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers say that without geo-engineering it will be impossible to avoid dangerous climate change.
The report includes a 100-year roadmap to "decarbonise" the global economy.
BBC, 8-27-09

We must accept that adaptation is as important as mitigation, but we must also be quite clear that adaptation is not a substitute for mitigation:

This week, however, that debate has grown more contentious, as some environmental writers and activists have pointed out adaptation's bargain with the devil: because resources are limited, it will undoubtedly divert funds from mitigation. Calling adaptation a "cruel eupmemism," Climate Progress writes that this increasing focus on adaptation is unrealistic, irresponsible, and could allow, rather than prevent, more disasters like Hurricane Katrina across the world ... Mother Jones, 9-2-09

We must learn the power of the magic number, and impress upon the collective psyche of humanity:

"As chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) I cannot take a position because we do not make recommendations," said Rajendra Pachauri when asked if he supported calls to keep atmospheric carbon d...ioxide concentrations below 350 parts per million (ppm).
"But as a human being I am fully supportive of that goal. What is happening, and what is likely to happen, convinces me that the world must be really ambitious and very determined at moving toward a 350 target," he told AFP in an interview.
Agence France Press, 8-25-09

And in regard to Michelle Bachman, Steven Anderson and their disturbed ilk, we must acknowledge that this is not only a scientific debate, it is a cultural debate, and we better be willing to face that music when it starts playing:

"In the 20 years since we climate activists began our work in earnest, the state of the climate has become dramatically worse, and the change is accelerating—this despite all of our best efforts. Clearly something is deeply wrong with this picture. What is it that we do not yet know? What do we have to think and do differently to arrive at urgently different outcomes?
The answers lie not with science, but with culture."
Adam Sacks, Grist, 8-25-09

Go to Stand w/ Howard Dean for more information on how to participate in the struggle to bring meaningful healthcare reform to the USA.

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

I also urge you to participate in some way in the International Day of Climate Action on 10-24-09. Go to for more information.

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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