Monday, January 26, 2009

Greening Up

It was good to know that President Obama realizes the urgency of changing to behavior that will help the climate to recover from the damages the past eight years continued and enhanced. The urgency of the situation has been the subject of increasing announcements of the scientific community.

New investment in energy infrastructure to improve and modernize the delivery grid coupled with an expansive plan for ending our reliance on carbon based fuels, especially coal, is imperative now -- not at some point in the future. America must develop solar, wind, and nuclear power on a scale large enough to eliminate any possibility of new coal fired plants coming on line until (and if) carbon sequestration, so-called "clean coal" becomes an viable option. For all the talk of "clean coal" it does not yet exist, consequently coal remains by far the dirtiest carbon fuel and the greatest contributor to greenhouse gases. Even worse, there's enough of it left in the ground to turn the Earth into Venus if we burn it all.

Indications are that infrastructure and sustainable production initiatives will be a significant part of the economic stimulus plan President Obama will introduce. At that point the question becomes, will Congress and the American people give our new President and his administration the support necessary to embark on the path to a long term sustainable future not only for ourselves, but the world?

The urgency of this can not be overstated. Seemingly every day now, a new scientific study or paper is published (peer reviewed) with ever more alarming results as climate forcing mechanisms kick in far sooner than previously anticipated. Scenarios predicting an ice-free North Pole by 2025 have been fed into the shredder as the lack of ice-cover and subsequent loss of solar reflectivity lead to faster ever accelerating melting. The consensus now has the top of the world ice-free by 2015.

Acting in concert with his own stated priorities, President Obama announced green measures Friday, in removing the maladministration's restrictions on state environment measures for gasoline. Today he revealed further green action.

"The days of Washington dragging its heels are over," Obama said. "My administration will not deny facts; we will be guided by them. We cannot afford to pass the buck or push the burden onto the states."

Senator Clinton will take the next step this afternoon at the State Department with the naming of a representative to worldwide conferences we have previously treated with inattention.

She is expected to name Washington, D.C., lawyer and climate change and environmental expert Todd Stern. Stern served in a variety of positions during the Clinton administration, including the President's Coordinator for Climate Change. Stern was the chief negotiator at the 1997 Kyoto climate change talks.

In testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee two weeks ago, Clinton promised senators that the Obama administration will take the lead at U.N. climate change negotiations scheduled for December in Copehangen.

"We will have a climate change envoy negotiator, because we want to elevate it," she said, "and we want to have one person who will lead our international efforts.

The return of a worldview to this country is welcome, and the coordination of our efforts to work toward a viable environment is overdue. The past irresponsibility has worked against this country in more ways than just in befouling the air and land. It has lessened the respect for this country that we should command by our promotion of scientific truths.

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Blogger Cosa Nostradamus said...

I wonder how Obama's supporters among his "clean coal" friends feel about all this? And what about nuclear? Let's see what actually shakes out. Sounds good, though.

This might be of interest to you as a blogger.

2:25 AM  
Blogger Ruth said...

The clean coal plant that was supposed to be built on a trial basis seems to be in the works here, we'll see how far that goes.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Cosa Nostradamus said...

Even if it is clean burning, you're talking strip-mining and all the other environmental effects of getting the coal.

Solar is in the toilet right now, thanks to the credit & job & housing crunch. Haven't seen the final details on any bills, but let's hope they up the tax credits, especially for PV (solar electricty).

For what we're spending on this bail-out, every home in America could have solar hot water: 40% reduction in electricity demand, not to mention all the jobs for installers, etc. Priorities, priorities...

I appreciate your posts! Keep up the good work. I'm linking to you, next time I redo my page.

7:20 PM  

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