When I was a child, my family often vacationed at Lake Powell and camped near Bullfrog Marina. What a long lake it was—120 miles long. It’s incredible to see the NASA photos showing how much of it has dried up.
In the past decade, I’ve experienced summers of smoke, heat, and drought in the western United States, and I’ve seen the photographs showing how glaciers and snowpack in the Northwest have melted away significant bulk. Looking at newspapers and magazines, I’ve seen pictures of the Arctic and Antarctic melting away, and the Colorado and Rhine Rivers drying up. Watching TV, I’ve seen videos of the storms and floods racking the eastern United States, and listening to radio I’ve heard news reports of the famine-that-always-seems-to-be-in-Africa spreading to afflict millions more people.
A huge structural change (climate change) is occurring on Earth, one that we’ve caused, and it seriously requires us to set a new course rather than for us to ignore it or to be deflected by misinformation that’s been funneled out by fossil-fuel powers. Fossil-fuel-caused global warming won’t be checked unless we Americans—historically the largest contributors to human-generated greenhouse gases—change our course via big, structural changes.
We consumers need options that help us limit greenhouse gas emissions, and in the next decades—because of the legislation that’s just occurred (see the headlines below), and because of some of the initiatives already occurring in industry—my children and grandchildren will have them. They’ll get much of their energy from wind and solar, they’ll have electric cars to choose from and trains to ride on. They’ll have walkable towns and cities to enjoy, with trees to provide shade, and their buildings will be built to lessen greenhouse gas emissions and be friendly to live in. Greenhouse gases will have been reduced because our means of refrigeration and air conditioning will have changed, forests will have been conserved, and food waste will have been reduced.
My children and grandchildren must deal with changes already baked into the climate future. Hopefully, the legislation that’s just been accomplished will make the pain more manageable, and, in time, their offspring will experience a pleasanter world.
Recent climate-action headlines:
Paul Krugman, “Did Democrats just save civilization?” New York Times, 8 Aug. 2022, Did Democrats just save civilization?
Krugman says that “the Inflation Reduction Act, which is really a climate change bill with a side helping of health reform . . . is a very big deal. The act, isn’t, by itself, enough to avert climate disaster. But it’s a huge step in the right direction . . .”
Lisa Friedman, “Democrats Designed the Climate Law to Be a Game Changer. Here’s How.” The New York Times, 22 Aug. 2022, Democrats Designed the Climate Law to Be a Game Changer
This year the Supreme Court said that Congress never granted the Environmental Protection Agency the authority to help us fight climate change by regulating the carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuels as a pollutant. As Friedman says in this article, the climate change legislation passed by Congress this month gives the EPA that authority, and this will significantly move America forward in its transition to wind, solar and other renewable energy sources.
Maxine Joselow (with research by Vanessa Montalbano), “The Climate 202: 5 things to know about the suspension of U.S.-China climate talks,” e-newsletter from The Washington Post, 24 Aug. 2022.
Joselow’s newsletter raises the possibility that even though the climate talks between the Chinese and Americans was recently suspended by the Chinese, the competition between the two about who pushes forward faster with clean tech may help the planet.
Hal Bernton, “Washington AG, West Coast states oppose major gas pipeline project,” The Seattle Times, 24 Aug. 2022, https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/washington-ag-west-coast-states-oppose-major-gas-pipeline-expansion-project/?utm_source
Per the article: “The Monday filing with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission from Ferguson [Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson] and the Oregon and California justice departments opposes the GTN Xpress project and represents an escalation of state-level efforts to block development of new fossil fuel infrastructure.” Ferguson says the project, if completed, would produce greenhouse gases equivalent to adding 754,000 internal combustion engine cars to the road, which, as he says, “undermines Washington state’s efforts to fight climate change.”
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