Skip to main content

Do the Right Thing

December 13, 2010 – There are a couple of stories in the news worth talking about. The first, about the climate talks in Cancun, is a bit of a surprise: the talks have resulted in the adoption of two agreements. One is an agreement to further delay deciding the fate of the Kyoto Protocol (that’s not the surprise). The second, to which both China and the United States are parties, involves committing to cut greenhouse gas emissions, establishes a framework for transparency, sets up a global climate fund of $100 billion, and recognizes the importance of limiting deforestation.

Some brief discussion, if you please. It goes without saying, God help us if the R’s take back the White House in ’12. The 192 other countries (all attendees, with the exception of Bolivia) who adopted the agreement can and will proceed without us, if need be, but that would be a thoroughly bankrupt outcome for a small victory that was extremely difficult to achieve. The United States should absolutely aspire to show leadership in forging a new treaty, with specific goals as part of the agreement. The next meeting of the UN Climate Conference, to take place in Durban, South Africa next year, needs to fashion an historic treaty. People speak of “being able to live with” the Cancun agreement. Without a Durban Treaty, there will be no living with anything.

The sum allocated for aid to developing countries - $100 billion – is paltry. No amount is large enough, of course, but $100 B is embarrassing. Yes, times are hard, and yes, we can always offer to give more later. I hope that will happen in Durban.

A word about Bolivia. Landlocked Bolivia is dependent upon spring glacier-melt for its water. As its glaciers continue decreasing in size, Bolivia becomes more and more frantic. So would I, if I were them. South American countries need to take it upon themselves to assure Bolivia of access to potable water. That, or they need to assure thirst-crazed Bolivians of a new home within their borders. Failing to do either of these things can only lead to military conflict. Far better to act while there is still time.

Thanks to the US Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., the EPA’s first carbon pollution standards will be in force come January. Major league polluters and the state of Texas (same thing!) were suing to up-end new regulations. Their complaints were found to be without merit, so the regulations stand. THAT is what progress looks like, friends!

A word about Texas. (Full disclosure: I lived there for five years a long while back.) Children have been raising children have been raising children have been raising children in that state for a long time, now. Would you be surprised to learn that 15-year-olds don’t know what they think about anything, and for that reason have nothing of value to pass along to their kids? The result is a state full of moral know-nothings who do whatever is expedient. This is the state that gave us Tom DeLay. This is the state that gave us Enron. This is the state that gave us our 43rd President – you know, the guy who told all of us to shop, in answer to the WTC attacks!!

Anyway, they don’t know anything about doing the right thing. That’s why they lost their lawsuit!!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The SunShot Initiative

In 2007, the amount of solar power installed in the U.S. was 1.1 gigawatts (GW). As of 2017, that amount has increased to 47.1 GW. Enough to power 9.1 million average American homes. If you're thinking "we've still got a long way to go," you'd be right. On the other hand, increasing installed power by 4300% deserves some attention.  How'd we do it?

The Department of Energy played an important role. In 2011, they initiated a program called The SunShot Initiative. They set targets for the years 2020 and 2030, by which times generating solar power would have become more affordable. More affordable on a utility scale, more affordable on a commercial scale, and more affordable on a residential scale. Thus far, they've succeeded in hitting the 2020 goal for utility-scale generation. Needless to mention, they reached that goal three years early. The goals, it should be mentioned, don't take subsidies into account. It's the technology, in the case of util…

The Future Has Arrived

September 4, 2017 - Wildfires are burning throughout the Pacific Northwest. Hurricane Harvey has decimated the greater Houston area and parts of Louisiana. Hurricane Irma glowers out in the Atlantic. In other words, forecasts made decades ago are proving accurate. Four hundred parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was regarded as a tipping point, the point at which climate change would take on a life of its own. If no one ever drove their car another block, if farmers never used another ounce of chemical fertilizer, if not so much as one more acre of land was cleared with fire, climate change would continue on its way, wreaking havoc.

We passed four hundred ppm this year. I'm not sure where we stand right now; we were supposed to be at around 410 by spring. I'm not advocating giving up. Of course not. We must still - and at this point, will, whether we want to or not - consciously lower our standard of living, and stop enjoying the conveniences for which we are…