Friday, October 23, 2009

Mr. Obama, be tough on climate change - Bill Mckibben in The Boston Globe

Tomorrow, October 24, is a day where people around the world are uniting to speak out and support efforts towards Climate Change action. It is being called the "largest day of political action in the planet's history."

Bill McKibben, scholar, environmental writer and coordinator of www.350.org which is leading the political action, wrote an op-ed in the Boston Globe today calling on President Obama to be tough on Climate Change. An excerpt:

PRESIDENT OBAMA will appear at MIT this morning to talk about climate change and energy - and chances are he’ll try pretty much to use the same tactic he has used in the health care debate, working with Congress to pass something modest. It’s the sensible and straightforward approach, but in this case good politics may be bad science.
Physics and chemistry have already announced their bottom line. In the last two years a slew of research has shown that the most carbon we can safely have in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million - indeed, a NASA team said that above that figure we can’t have “a planet similar to the one on which civilization developed or to which life on earth is adapted.’’

We’re already well past the 350 figure, at 390 parts per million, which is why Arctic sea ice is melting, glaciers thawing, and the ocean turning steadily more acidic. To meet the 350 goal will mean a far more aggressive approach than the one Obama and Congress have so far taken (the bill making its way through Congress explicitly aims for a world with 450 parts per million carbon).

The president may think he lacks the public backing to go for stronger measures. But there are signs of a worldwide climate movement finally emerging. Tomorrow, citizens and scientists will take part in more than 4,500 demonstrations in 170 countries around the world - all designed to drive that 350 number deep into the public debate.
See full op-ed here:
Mr. Obama, be tough on climate change - The Boston Globe

Another excellent op-ed in the Washington Post today by a team of economists, titled "We Can Afford to Save the Planet.
Will the legislators finally get it????????????
We can only hope so. A couple of years ago, Professor Peter Barrett of the Victoria University of Wellington Antarctic Research Center in New Zealand, said in his acceptance speech for the Marsden Medal that: “We know from our knowledge of the ancient past, that if we continue our present growth path, we are facing extinction. Not in millions of years, or even millennia, but by the end of this century” (Barrett).

Let's hope the concerted effort of so many scientists and concerned citizens around the world will send a strong message to the sleepy legislators and entrenched corporate interests who are blocking real action. We can't wait any longer.

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