Tag Archives: Global warming

Reinvest in renewables

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Politics is everywhere, including places where it doesn’t belong.

As Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden notes, fires and hurricanes don’t discriminate between “red and blue states.” He is seeking to rely on science to determine what the national response should be to fight what he has identified correctly as an existential threat to the nation.

That is climate change.

Donald Trump took office in January 2017 and began dismantling environmental rules and regulations established by the Obama administration. He fought to restore a full-throttle fossil fuel exploratory policy.

What the president ignored is that Obama’s effort to develop clean, renewable energy actually contributed to this nation’s independence from foreign-produced fossil fuels. Do you recall when Republicans blasted Hillary Clinton for saying in 2016 that she intended to eliminate jobs related to the coal industry? They ignored the rest of her statement, which was that she intended to replace those jobs with those associated with renewable energy development.

So it was prior to the time Donald Trump took office.

The Pacific Coast wildfires are the direct result of a changing worldwide climate, as scientists have affirmed. Trump is casting aside those analyses. He said “forest management” needs improvement, which he insists will prevent the explosive fires that have incinerated more than 4 million acres in California, Oregon and Washington.

Joe Biden is vowing for all he is worth to restore the effort to develop renewable energy sources. I haven’t heard him say he would propose ending fossil fuel exploration and development.

We have on our hands a direct national security threat that has nothing to do with terrorism. It has everything to do with the changing climate that is bringing untold destruction in the form of fire, heavy wind, shattering coastal surf.

This great nation needs national leadership from the top of the governmental chain of command. It isn’t getting it from the individual in charge at this moment. I am quite confident we will receive it when we replace him with someone who will listen intently to scientists who know what they are talking about.

Trump denies science … wow!

(Photo credit should read ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Donald Trump plastered a silly grin on his mug and then told a California environmental analyst that “I don’t think science knows” about the cause of wildfires that have incinerated millions of acres in three Pacific Coast states.

Trump ventured to California to inspect the damage done by the fires that have scorched about 5 million acres in Oregon and Washington in addition to California. He continues to insist that the way to prevent the intense fires is to practice something called “forest management.” He contends the states aren’t doing enough of it to keep the forests from igniting.

What he ignores, of course, is that much of the timber that has been burned stands on federal land, which comprises a great deal of the real estate in states out west.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom made it clear that in his view there is no “debate” over the existence of climate change. I happen to agree with the governor. I also happen to agree with scientists around the world that human activity has contributed greatly to the changing climate and that we are hurtling toward the point where Earth likely cannot be saved from the catastrophe that awaits.

So, to hear the president of the United States continue to deny scientific findings because he “thinks” science can be wrong displays a level of ignorance that puts the entire planet in dire peril.

What’s happening back home?

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

I lived in Oregon for my first 34 years of life on this Earth.

Not until this year have I seen the devastation that is occurring at this moment in my beloved home state.

I am heartbroken. Moreover, I am aghast at the scope of the fires that have swept through entire neighborhoods in the southern part of the state. I saw the pictures this morning out of Phoenix, a town near Medford. Words escape me.

What are we to make of the destruction that is threatening the Pacific Coast region? Washington is ablaze, as is California. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants to label the fires “climate change fires,” not just “wildfires.” Inslee ran briefly for president this year, vowing to make climate change the signature issue of an Inslee administration. He won’t get the chance to set federal policy as president, but he is making a valid point about what climate change is doing to my home state and the states that border it north and south.

Will the federal government pay attention? We can be assured that Donald Trump won’t listen to the pleas of the governor he called a “snake” earlier this year. I doubt he’ll listen to Oregon Gov. Kate Walsh, or to California Gov. Gavin Newsom. Their biggest “sin,” along with Inslee, is that they are Democrats who also happen to believe that Earth’s climate is changing and that human activity has contributed greatly to what is happening at this very moment to their states.

I, too, believe climate change has exacerbated the destruction from the flames. I also want the federal government to step up its fight against the factors that have contributed to the unfolding tragedy.

I am enough of a realist to understand that the feds’ involvement will remain muted as long as Donald Trump sits in the Oval Office. Let the peril facing our good Earth be just one more reason to send the current president packing.

Let’s start with climate change

Donald Trump has labeled a number of existential threats as a “hoax.” Thus, he has refused to deal with those threats.

If he gets the boot on Election Day and vacates the presidency next January, I am hoping the new president, Joe Biden, will take charge of those so-called “hoax” issues and start to deal forthrightly with them.

Let me start with climate change.

It’s real, man. Earth’s climate is changing to the detriment of every living creature inhabiting this fragile planet. Donald Trump has refused to recognize the threat. He continues to push for fossil fuel development, which necessarily spews more carbon emissions into the air.

Trump decided shortly after taking office to roll back the water and air quality regulations enacted by President Obama. He just could not stand the idea of Obama’s imprint being left on anything.

Trump doesn’t discuss climate change. He doesn’t feel the need to call our collective attention to the reality that Earth’s average annual temperature is rising; that the polar ice caps are melting; that sea level is rising; that coastal communities are being threatened; that nations’ deforestation endangers nature’s habitat and deprives the world of vegetation needed to replace the oxygen being consumed.

Joe Biden pledges to return the United States to the Paris Climate Accords. He promises to put climate change front and center on his agenda of issues with which to tackle. I intend to hold him to those pledges, although I have far greater faith in Biden keeping his word than anything that flies out of Trump’s mouth.

We have just one planet, ladies and gentlemen. We need to care for it. We need to cherish it. A new president can deliver on the need to deal head-on with a serious existential threat to our very existence.

Does this pandemic have a positive impact on anything? Well, yes

One can run a terrible risk of shortchanging the tragedy that comes from crises while looking for any positive outcomes.

With that said, I want to offer this item, understanding that some might think I am seeking to minimize the sadness being played out all over the world.

The coronavirus pandemic could possibly result in the most dramatic reduction in carbon emissions since World War II.

Reuters News Service reports: “I wouldn’t be shocked to see a 5 percent or more drop in carbon dioxide emissions this year, something not seen since the end of World War II,”  (Rob) Jackson, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford University in California, told Reuters in an email.

The cause of such a decline isn’t hard to figure out. Motor vehicle traffic is way down. Everywhere on Earth. China, where the pandemic originated and where air pollution has become almost legendary, reports remarkably clean air over major urban centers. The same is being said in India and in major European cities.

I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and I am quite certain that carbon emissions here are registering historic lows as millions of us around here are obeying stay at home directives issued by Gov. Greg Abbott.

As Reuters points out: But the improvements are for all the wrong reasons, tied to a world-shaking global health emergency that has infected more than 950,000 people — while shuttering factories, grounding airlines and forcing hundreds of millions of people to stay at home to slow the contagion. 

Just a side note: The number of infected human beings has zoomed well past a million people since this article was published.

I am left now to wonder whether this result might persuade some notorious climate-change deniers to rethink their environmental idiocy. If we are seeing this singular positive result from this pandemic, it well might be a reduction in carbon emissions that — according to scientific research — contributes to the other existential threat to humanity: worldwide climate change.

Is there an option for states to take the lead on climate change?

If Congress and the president aren’t going to take a serious interest in climate change, isn’t there a place for states such as Texas to take the lead on what I and others believe is an existential threat to the nation?

I get that Texas’s Legislature isn’t exactly a haven for environmental activism, given its strong Republican majority in both legislative chambers. However, the state does possess the world’s 11th or 12th largest economy; its carbon footprint continues to be bigger than it should be.

Yes, some of the Democratic candidates for president keep talking about the need to tackle climate change head-on. They profess concern for the dire peril that Earth faces if we don’t do all that we can as human beings to curb the human impact on the changing climate.

The current president, of course, remains ignorant about that danger posed by deforestation, carbon emissions and the warming of our atmosphere. Given that he has no interest in science or any other fields of study dedicated to this condition, I cannot possibly expect Donald Trump to take the necessary lead as the nation’s president.

Texas, though, faces an existential threat all by itself. Our state’s coastline is receding every year a little at a time. The tides are rising as well, largely because of melting ocean ice at both of our poles.

Texas and other states — especially those states with political leadership that takes this threat seriously — can do what they can individually or perhaps in conjunction with each other to wrestle with this burgeoning environmental crisis.

It would take a miracle, I suppose, but I am going to hope that Texas legislators can appreciate the impact they could have on national policy if they were to take the lead on dealing head-on with this national emergency.

What? Trump now accepts climate change as a serious threat?

This story has gone largely unnoticed by damn near all of us.

Donald Trump, the fellow who has called climate change a “hoax” concocted by China, which wants to undermine the U.S. manufacturing sector and our fossil fuel industry, has changed his tune … allegedly.

This past Thursday, Trump announced an initiative to make it easier to build natural gas pipelines. A reporter asked him if he still thinks climate change is a hoax. His answer is potentially jaw-dropping.

The Week.com reported: Trump said, “No, no. Not at all. Nothing’s a hoax … It’s a very serious subject. The environment is important to me. I’m a big believer in that word, the environment … I want clean air. I want clean water. I also want jobs, though.”

Oh, I want to believe him on this. I would except for a couple of factors. One is that is speaks in those sophomoric platitudes. He’s a “believer in that word, the environment”? He says he wants clean air and water. B … F … D, Mr. President. How do you intend to achieve it?

His newfound acceptance of climate change’s existential threat to Earth sounds to me as sincere as the time he said that President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen. That sounded in the moment like a throwaway line. His acceptance of Obama’s U.S. citizenship was offered with far less vigor or outward sincerity than the “birther” lie he kept fomenting. Now the president says the “environment is important to me.”

The second reason that makes me skeptical is the president’s penchant for prevarication. He lies all the time. About all things. He and the truth have never met face to face.

I guess perhaps that explains why this story has been so grossly underreported. Whatever, my hope is that someone, somehow will be able to hold the president accountable for this alleged reversal.

U.S. is shamefully MIA at climate change conference

ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images

They’re convening an international conference on climate change.

As my dear late Mom would say, I’ll give you three guesses on which nation is missing from that conference … but the first two guesses don’t count.

That’s right. The United States of America ain’t there.

We should be. Why? Well, let’s see. We’re the most industrialized nation on Earth. We are the world leader in scientific research. Our factories pour out tons of carbon emissions into the air annually. We occupy the bulliest of pulpits of any nation the planet.

But we’re not there because the president of the United States, Donald John Trump, calls climate change a “hoax.” Trump yanked the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, saying it would be too burdensome on U.S. businesses. The accord carries the names of virtually every country on the planet … except the U.S. of A.

This is how the president intends to “make America great again” or “keep America great.” He wants to isolate the nation from a world made “smaller” in a proverbial sense by modern technology.

The United States made great strides in weaning ourselves of dependence on foreign-produced fossil fuels largely through development of alternate energy resources and, yes, more production of oil and natural gas. Trump wants to develop more “clean coal” and wants to drill for even more petroleum-based products. How is that going to stem the warming of the planet and the changing of its climate? Short answer: It won’t.

We are shaming ourselves by failing to attend the conference that seeks to find remedies to what has become established as an existential threat to every nation on Earth.

As the world’s pre-eminent economic power, we need to be heard and we need to listen to what our Earthly neighbors are telling us.

Climate change needs candidates’ attention … all of it!

When in the name of environmental sanity are the candidates for president of the United States going to devote their attention to what I believe is the world’s greatest existential threat?

Climate change, man!

Accordingly, Donald Trump — one of those presidential candidates — has declared that he has made the greatest mistake of his presidency. He said via Twitter that he has begun the nation’s formal withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. The United States was among more than 200 nations to sign the agreement to aggressively battle the effects of climate change and global warming.

So help me, this is the action of an incompetent fool. An imbecile. The president of the United States has turned this nation into effectively an “outlaw state” in the fight to stem the devastating impact of a changing global climate.

What in the world are any of the men and women who are seeking to defeat this goofball going to do about it?

I want to hear from all of them that they intend to sign an executive order the moment they sit down behind the big desk in the Oval Office that restores this nation’s commitment to fighting climate change.

I also want to hear specifics on how they intend to restore our nation’s commitment to alternative energy sources. I want them to tell us how they intend to replace fossil fuel-producing jobs with jobs related to the development of certifiably clean energy sources.

If we are able to get past this impeachment madness and if we ever could get Donald Trump focused on issues that actually matter and yanked away from the nonsense that pours routinely out of his mouth, then there might be a serious discussion and search for answers for what I believe is the issue that threatens every human being on Earth.

Let’s get busy!

Weather vs. climate … short term and long term

When we gripe about the weather, we are speaking of an event in the moment.

If it’s hot out there, it’s hot at the time you notice it. Same if it it’s cold. We’re talking about the weather, not the climate.

Our climate, though, cannot be discussed in real time. It requires a longer look, a broader view.

Thus, when politicians or citizens conflate the two — weather and climate — they’re talking about non-parallel phenomena.

I have spoken already on this blog about my desire to see climate change assume the important role it deserves in the upcoming presidential campaign. Donald Trump calls climate change a hoax; scientific analysis calls it real. Who do you believe? I’ll go with the scientists who study these matters intently even though Donald Trump — in his own mind — is the smartest human being ever to inhabit Earth.

NASA, the agency that launches satellites and people into space, calls it correctly: The difference between weather and climate is a measure of time. Weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere “behaves” over relatively long periods of time.

Earth’s climate is changing. We’re posting record high temperatures virtually every year. Those ice caps on either pole — North and South — are shrinking. Icebergs the size of cities are breaking off at alarming rates. Sea levels are rising as a result, threatening coastal cities on every continent.

Weather patterns are changing, too. Storms are getting more severe, more frequent. We see evidence of this each year. When have we ever seen, for instance, a storm drop 50 inches of rain in 24 hours as Hurricane Harvey did when it pummeled the Upper Texas Gulf Coast in 2017?

I want the candidates for president — even the one who occupies the office — to tell us how they intend to do battle with climate that threatens the nation and the world. No more platitudes. No more clichés.

No more phony denials about it all being a hoax. Climate change presents an existential threat to the very planet on which we all live.