Vol. 19, No. 4,871 - The American Reporter - December 2, 2013




by Randolph T. Holhut
Chief of AR Correspondents
Dummerston, Vt.
November 1, 2012
SUPERSTORM SANDY: THE LATEST WAKE-UP CALL ON CLIMATE CHANGE

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DUMMERSTON, Vt., Oct. 18, 2012 -- In Texas and Oklahoma, ranchers and farmers have joined with activists and Occupy Wall Street alums to try to stop the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline - designed to bring toxic and dangerous tar sands oil from Canada to U.S. refineries.

On the stage at Hofstra University on Tuesday night, President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney spun fairy tales about "clean" coal and energy independence through more domestic drilling for oil and natural gas.

The United Nations is warning of a food crisis next year as the abnormal heat and drought that has plagued the American heartland has caused massive soybean and corn crop failures here, as well as in other grain-exporting nations such as Russia, the Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

On the stage at Hofstra in the second of three scheduled presidential debates, neither Mr. Obama nor Gov. Romney made the connection between food shortages and global unrest, even though rising food prices helped spark last year's Arab Spring uprising in Tunisia and Egypt.

Even though recent data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) shows that every year of the 2000s has been warmer that the average temperatures of the 1990s, neither the President nor Gov. Romney uttered the words "climate change" or "global warming" during their lengthy and heated exchange about energy issues.

While opinion polls show that a majority of voters want to hear the candidates' thoughts on climate change, both campaigns have been mum on the subject.

Unlike Gov. Romney, President Obama did talk on Tuesday night about green energy and the need for greater investment in it. Unfortunately, he did not make the case for why our nation, and the rest of the world, needs to reduce its use of fossil fuels.

Climatologists are in agreement that this decade is a critical one for the planet's future. Unless we can find a way to cap the rise in the earth's temperature at 2C by the end of this decade, we will find ourselves living on a planet that may be vastly more hostile to human life. Yet this is being treated as a political hot potato rather than a call to action by the two major candidates for President.

Climate change isn't a wedge issue. It is a growing reality that has to be dealt with soon - or it will deal with us. Extreme weather, food shortages, droughts, floods, and disease only scratch the surface of what is ahead for our planet.

We're seeing the preview now.

  • Vanishing Arctic ice that will likely lead to increased ocean levels and the flooding of coastal cities;
  • increased acidification of the oceans that could lead to the extinction of at least half of all aquatic species;
  • the prospect of a permanent Dust Bowl in the American Midwest; and
  • the likelihood that the weather we've seen this year is the new normal.

And the worst case scenario? The release of methane long sequestered in the once-frozen Arctic. A global warming gas 30 times worse than carbon dioxide, we may see more methane enter the atmosphere as Arctic ice gives way to more open water, pushing temperatures still higher and creating a climate feedback loop that could push the planet toward a mass extinction event.

The climate deniers and the powerful fossil-fuel interests that fund them have worked overtime to intimidate and silence the scientists. But the science now is impossible to deny and the effects can be seen all around us.

The times call for leadership.

Our nation must take the lead in developing renewable energy from wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro, as well as the "new energy" discovered by NASA and known as LENR, a latter-day version of cold fusion with the potential to replace fossil fuels and nuclear energy, NASA says.

  • We need to end tax breaks and subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power, and use that money to undertake a research and development push comparable to the Manhattan Project that created the first atomic weapons during World War II.

  • We need to lead the fight to limit carbon emissions, instead of blocking international treaties.

  • We need to make energy conservation a matter of national security, as well as national pride, to use energy wisely and efficiently.

  • We need to put aside cheap politics and narrow self-interest and recognize that we are entering a period where our collective future depends on how we deal with the greatest threat to humanity since man split the atom.

There's still one more presidential debate left, this one next Monday, Oct. 22, on foreign policy. Since forging international cooperation is critical to fighting climate change, it's an appropriate topic. Let's see if either candidate will not only address climate change, but also outline the steps we need to take with other nations to avoid a looming disaster of epic proportions.

Chief of AR Correspondents Randolph T. Holhut has been a prize-winning journalist in New England for more than 30 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at randyholhut@yahoo.com.

Copyright 2013 Joe Shea The American Reporter. All Rights Reserved.

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