Back in February I sent the following extract of one of my blog postings to the White House, as a gesture of support for the Obama administration in their endeavors to address the difficult challenge of climate change………………
Melbourne is enjoying one of the most pleasant summers I can recall (touch wood!), with daytime temperatures ranging from the low 70s to the mid-90s, with the hot days broken up by regular cool changes and the odd shower. On the other hand, other parts of Australia have experienced the hottest temperatures on record, raging bushfires, fierce cyclonic storms, bucketing rain and catastrophic floods.
And, of course, the northern hemisphere winter has been one of the coldest and wettest, with record low temperatures, snowfalls, storms and blizzards.
Now you’d have to be blind Freddy not to see something’s going on. Obviously there is a cause behind these extremes. Despite the mounting evidence put up by scientists confirming global warming, melting ice caps etc., as well as mankind’s contribution to polluting the planet and its atmosphere, the climate skeptics refuse to acknowledge that this could be a contributing factor to our ‘weather problem’. Hello, is anybody home?
One of their arguments is that the scientific data isn’t reliable or conclusive enough to justify taking assertive action and cutting back on fossil fuel emissions and introducing other environmentally-friendly alternatives. Why? Because it will be costly.
Even if the global warming advocates are wrong, as the climate skeptics claim, what have we got to lose by substituting dirty energy with clean energy? In the short term, no doubt there will be economic pain as the old ways give way to the new.
But surely this is a small price to pay to clean up the mess we’ve made, regardless of its impact on the climate?
However, what if the climate change advocates are right and mankind’s collective greed, ignorance and shortsightedness are impacting our weather, causing catastrophes, death and untold economic damage and hardship? Have the skeptics put a cost on that?
What are the climate skeptics going to tell their children and grandchildren if they’re wrong? “Duh, wasn’t our fault. The scientists are to blame. They couldn’t provide conclusive, categorical and absolute evidence that they were right and we were wrong!”
No one seems to have bothered to ask them about what scientific evidence they can provide to support their arguments. Curious.
These people, in my opinion, have been given too much press and credibility. Their arguments are vacuous, simple-minded and self-serving.
Maybe it’s time we all (including me) decided to ‘do weather’. Not just talk about it - but take a stand in supporting the measures to reduce carbon emissions, regardless of their impact on costs. If, over time, the number of natural disasters are reduced as a consequence, or the scale of their destruction is diminished, at the very least, it would be a great return on our investment. Oh yes, maybe it would mean our children and their children would have a better world in which to live.
Let’s clean up our act as well as our planet.
Yesterday (4 June 2013), I received the following email response from the White House:
Thank you for writing. Few challenges are more urgent than climate change, and I appreciate your perspective.
For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Its effects, including warmer temperatures, extreme weather, and sea level rise, are already being felt across our Nation and around the world. The 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods are all increasingly frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that these disasters are the result of coincidence, or we can accept the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it is too late. Our planet’s future depends on a global commitment to permanently reduce the greenhouse gas pollution causing climate change.
In my first year in office, I set a goal of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Today, my Administration’s actions have helped drive down our carbon emissions to their lowest level in nearly two decades. We are now on a path to a cleaner and more secure energy future—but there is still more work to be done.
Changing the way we produce and use energy is essential to protecting our environment for future generations. To decrease our dependence on oil and cut pollution, my Administration has established the toughest new fuel economy standards in history. These standards will double the fuel efficiency of our cars and light trucks by the middle of the next decade, saving families money at the pump while slashing harmful carbon pollution. Our Nation is becoming a global leader in advanced vehicles, and auto dealers are selling more hybrid vehicles than ever before. I am calling on Congress to use some of our oil and gas revenues to fund an Energy Security Trust that will drive new research and technology to shift our cars and trucks off oil for good. The Trust will support research into a range of cost-effective technologies, including advanced vehicles that run on electricity, homegrown biofuels, and domestically produced natural gas.
Thanks in part to my Administration’s investments in clean energy—the largest of their kind in American history—the United States has doubled renewable energy generation from wind, solar, and geothermal sources, and tens of thousands of Americans now have jobs as a result. I also set a goal to double renewable electricity production again by 2020 to build on our momentum and create even more jobs. The United States military—the largest energy consumer in the world—is reducing its fuel use and improving its operational performance through a historic commitment to clean energy.
We must lead the world in developing the technology and driving the innovation that will power tomorrow’s industries and jobs. Congress must come together to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change. This should not be a divisive issue—it is one in which the best interests of our planet and the well-being of our economy are fundamentally aligned. I have repeatedly called on Congress to stop giving away $4 billion a year in oil and gas subsidies to an industry that has never been more profitable, and instead to pass clean energy tax credits to cultivate a market for innovation in clean energy technology in the United States. And if Congress does not act soon to reduce pollution and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy, I am prepared to take executive action.
As we work to reduce our own emissions and build resilience to climate change, we must also forge solutions that ensure other countries do the same. My Administration led international climate negotiations that produced the first national greenhouse gas reduction commitments by major developed and developing countries, the most robust transparency system for reviewing commitments to date, and historic global climate resiliency efforts. At the same time, we have worked through a range of international initiatives, including through the G-20, for the global phase-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies around the world. The threat posed by climate change is not confined within the borders of any country, and our response must continue to be global.
Finally, we must take action to prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change. Through the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force launched by my Administration in 2009, Federal agencies have developed first-ever initiatives to ensure our communities, economy, infrastructure, and natural resources are resilient in the face of extreme weather and other impacts of climate change. We are also helping increase the preparedness and resilience of American communities by providing actionable scientific information and technical assistance to cities and towns that are already feeling the impacts of rising seas, more severe storms, and other effects of climate change.
We must summon the spirit of optimism and the willingness to tackle tough problems that led previous generations to meet the challenges of their times. My Administration is making a serious, sustained commitment to address climate change, and I encourage you to learn more about our efforts at http://www.whitehouse.gov/energy/climate-change?utm_source=GlobalClimateChange&utm_medium=EnergyClimateChange&utm_campaign=OPC.
Thank you, again, for writing.