Tag Archives: Climate change

Hey, it’s still just spring!

You’ll remember, I am sure, when we all were bitching about the freezing temperatures, about how winter just wouldn’t release its grip on North Texas.

It wasn’t that long ago, right?

Well, we don’t have to gripe about shivering at night.

The weather guys and gals are telling us we’re going to set heat records this weekend in the greater Dallas/Fort Worth area. Temps are going to approach 100 degrees Fahrenheit!

Now, let me be clear about something. I am not going to launch into a climate change rant; I’ll save that for another day.

I just want to remind everyone — I hope you’re sitting down for this — that the start of summer is still five weeks away!

Stay cool, y’all.


Earth deserves more than a ‘day’

Mother Earth is going to have her “day” at the end of this work week.

They set aside April 22 as Earth Day each year, when we humans are supposed to keep Earth at the top of our awareness. We’re asked to commit to do whatever we can to save our planet from the destruction we have brought to it.

My goodness! Our fragile planet deserves far more than a single day to earn our honor, our attention and our concern over its health.

It’s the only planet we can inhabit! We have eight other planets circling our sun. None of them contains the combination of air, water and just the right atmospheric pressure and composition to allow human beings to live and prosper.

Beyond our solar system? Who knows what’s out there?

I know there’s nothing I can do from my cheap-seat perch to elevate this day, to turn it into something more meaningful. I only can lament that we dedicate only one calendar day to recognizing that Mother Earth deserves to be protected always.

The U.S. government founded the Environmental Protection Agency in 1970; Earth Day came into being that same year. The planet’s overall health has deteriorated since Earth Day’s founding. Our climate is warming and it is changing. Sea levels are rising. Ice caps are melting. Wildlife is threatened. Our air quality makes us cough and gasp.

OK, I don’t want to leave you with a total downer. We live in a community — Princeton, Texas — that encourages us to recycle material that otherwise would go into the landfill; we do so gladly. We live in a state that over the past 20 years has become a leading supplier of wind energy, which is a far better alternative than the very fossil fuels that contribute to our climate change.

Those matters give me a glimmer of hope that we might be able to forestall the destruction of our planet. I don’t want to believe human beings’ conduct will result in the inevitable demise of Planet Earth.

If we could devote more than a single day to honor our fragile world, then perhaps we can increase my hope from a glimmer to a bright light.


Biden energy policy undergoes big shift

It pains me to say this, but it appears that President Biden is flailing as he seeks to grapple with skyrocketing energy prices.

The president made a vigorous pledge during the 2020 campaign that there would “never” be drilling for oil on federal land were he elected to the nation’s highest office. I applauded the pledge when he made it.

Now he has changed his mind in a major fashion. The president now will allow that drilling to boost the supply of fossil fuel. He said times have changed since the 2020 campaign, requiring a pivot from that environmentally sound policy pronouncement.

The price of gasoline, diesel and other petroleum products has zoomed skyward, causing considerable pain at the pump for millions of Americans.

Still, Biden’s decision has angered environmental activists. I am not officially one of the “angry” Americans. I am just disappointed in the president’s policy reversal, which isn’t likely to have much of an impact on the price of fuel we are paying.

Joe Biden has sought to steer the nation toward a more renewable energy posture. Critics suggest any diminishing of the fossil fuel industry deprives Americans of jobs. What they ignore, though, is that green-energy job creation can help soften such job losses.

What’s more, efforts to rely more on alternatives to fossil fuels free the nation of any dependence on foreign sources of oil … while creating a cleaner environment that helps stem the damage caused by climate change.

President Biden is feeling the heat — no pun intended — from those who want relief from high fuel prices. If only he could stop flailing.


Citizens need comfort in times of trouble

(AP Photo/Noah Berger)

It occurs to me that one of the things we aren’t hearing from the White House in response to wildfires that are destroying people’s homes and dashing their dreams are lectures from the president about “better management” of the land.

Recall how Donald Trump once scolded Californians over the forest management as fires were decimating communities in the Sierra Nevada region. We aren’t hearing such a thing these days as Colorado battles fires and, yes, California faces the potential for more fires.

President Joe Biden isn’t wired to chastise political leaders of states that didn’t grant him their electoral votes in the previous election. Indeed, he ventured to Kentucky — a decidedly red state — after tornadoes tore through several towns; he hugged people’s necks and prayed with them.

You won’t hear this president follow the path blazed by his immediate predecessor. We should never hear that kind of churlishness from our head of state as people suffer such misery and heartache.

Let me be clear about something. There is an element of human management that needs to be examined. As Politico reports: California’s wildfire problems are fueled by decades of fire suppression, climate change and a persistent desire to escape city life. The state has seen some 40,000 structures destroyed since 2017 and the largest conflagrations in state history.

The fire suppression accounted for the immense destruction at Yellowstone National Park in the late 1980s. Yet one did not hear President Reagan chastise parks officials for “forest management” policies in1988.

My point is that when Americans are hurting, we need comfort and empathy from the president. We do not need to hear our national leader lecture state and local officials while their constituents are crying out for help.


No end to the chaos

Is there any end in sight for the chaos that continues to roil the water that threatens to flood Capitol Hill?

I doubt it. Seriously, I do.

The chaos presents itself repeatedly as Democrats and Republicans continue to fight over matters that should pre-empt partisan battles.

  • The debt ceiling hassle is about to end — for the short term. Republicans continue to back away from approving Democratic efforts to increase the national debt ceiling. Democrats understand that failing to pay our debts would result in economic calamity. The GOP’s public response? So what? Big fu**ing deal! The two sides have worked out a deal of sorts.
  • Vaccines that aim to cure us from the pandemic that continues to kill Americans have become the stuff of political game-playing. Republicans continue to insist the vaccines are too unknown, that they produce “side effects” that no one can define.
  • Climate change threatens the very planet we all call home. It’s the only planet we can inhabit. GOP and Democratic pols are at odds over whether it’s real. Hey, GOP! It’s real, gang!
  • Infrastructure improvements mean that we all — regardless of party affiliation — will be able to drive on safer roads and bridges, that we will be able to travel safely aboard aircraft and that our ships will be able to dock efficiently at seaports along all our coasts; that’s the Pacific, Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

But none of this matters — particularly to the GOP obstructionists who continue to block issues put forth by the nation’s leading Democrat, President Joe Biden.

No end to the madness is in sight. So help me, we cannot continue to live like this … can we?


POTUS reverses predecessor’s denial

Joe Biden sees climate change as an existential threat to the nation and the world.

Donald Trump called it, among other things, a “hoax,” a figment of the “fake media” and its obsession with leftist policies.

Biden is correct. His predecessor is wrong. Biden was correct to return the United States to the Paris Climate Accord; Trump was wrong to pull us out the accords in 2017.

Which is why many of us are applauding President Biden’s decision to return to the climate change negotiating table and to hammer out potential solutions to what the scientific community has concluded: that humankind’s contribution to the changing world climate compels it to seek solutions.

Biden selected former Secretary of State John Kerry to serve as the administration’s spokesman on climate change issues. He brought Kerry with him to Glasgow to talk with other world leaders about the United States’ potential role in seeking answers to the crisis.

Indeed, Kerry is no novice at this level of international diplomacy. He served for four years as chief diplomat during the Obama administration. Prior to that he served in the U.S. Senate, ran for president in 2004 and distinguished himself as an articulate purveyor of national policy.

So, the United States is back in the climate change game.

That, I daresay, is a very good thing for the future of the planet. Or at least it could be a good thing if the industrialized world pulls its collective head out and gets busy seeking solutions.


Biden seeks to reassure allies, warn foes

Joseph R. Biden Jr. stood before the United Nations today and delivered the kind of speech Americans — and those around the world — hadn’t heard delivered from a U.S. president in some time.

He spoke of diplomacy, of global warming, of human rights, of an end to U.S. warfare. President Biden delivered a reasoned, rationale, coherent speech to the U.N. General Assembly that was devoid of name-calling — such as “Little Rocket Man” — and some of the curious statements that would fly out of the mouth of Biden’s presidential predecessor.

To be sure, the current president has a heaping plate full of trouble. We have a refugee crisis on our southern border. We are still trying to finish extricating ourselves fully from Afghanistan. The nation is battling a COVID-19 pandemic that many of us thought was whipped four months ago.

To hear the president’s tone, though, in a speech to the world’s No. 1 diplomatic body seems to signal a return to normal diplomatic procedure, the kind of thing he promised when he ran for president in 2020.

Yes, President Biden is struggling at home. The political forces that keep digging in against him are fierce, determined and dogged in their effort to torpedo everything the wants to do.

However, I remain determined to offer my support in the efforts this president is making to repair the wreckage left by his predecessor.

Today’s speech at the U.N. took us another step toward that end.


Still standing with POTUS

If my phone were to ring and I discovered it was a public opinion pollster, I would answer it and hope that the voice on the other end would ask me my view on the job President Biden is doing.

Do I favor or oppose how he is leading the country?

My answer: Yes … I would give him a favorable rating.

Those who disagree with that view, too bad. I’m sorry you feel the way you do. I make no apologies for feeling as I do about the job President Biden is doing while he leads this country through a global pandemic, seeks to repair the wreckage left by his predecessor and, oh yeah, withdraw our troops and our allies from Afghanistan.

I believe I said during POTUS 45’s term in office that there was nothing on Earth I could picture him doing that would make me think favorably of the job he did.

Conversely, I try to consider what President Biden could do to turn me against the job he is doing. One thing pops out immediately: sending in brigades of fighting forces back into Afghanistan … for starters. Yep, that would do it. So would reneging on his commitment to fighting climate change.

The Afghan War withdrawal surely could have been executed more smoothly. Then again, this country has zero record of ending conflicts cleanly that it has not won outright. The Vietnam War didn’t end the way anyone in this country wanted it to end. Even though our side won virtually all the battlefield encounters with the communists during that bloody war, we lost the political will to keep fighting.

The North Vietnamese army rolled into Saigon, took control of the government, renamed the city after Uncle Ho and the United States was left with trying to explain how it could leave all those allies behind.

President Biden’s national security team is working as near as I can tell to conduct a withdrawal of many thousands of Americans and Afghan allies. The Biden team is actually working — reportedly — with the Taliban to ensure a reasonably safe outcome.

I am not going to turn my back on the president — at least not yet.

Pollsters, if you’re out there, give me a shout. I’ll be glad to answer your questions and give President Joe Biden a thumbs-up on the job he is doing.


UN offers hope amid peril


By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The United Nations has offered the world a bad news/good news report on the state of Earth’s changing climate.

I’ll go with the bad news first: Climate change is here, it is now and the state of our planet’s climate is not well.

Now for the good news: It  is not too late to fix it.

The U.N. monitors these things for all 8 billion of us Earthlings. I mean, we need to know the state of the only habitable planet known to humankind. The report comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It says in part, according to Wired: “We’ve known for decades that the world is warming, but this report tells us that recent changes in the climate are widespread, rapid, and intensifying—unprecedented in thousands of years,” said Ko Barrett, IPCC vice chair and senior adviser for climate at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, at a press conference Sunday announcing the report. “The bottom line is that unless there are immediate, rapid, and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, limiting warming to 1.5 degrees C—or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit—will be beyond reach.”

I get it. I hope you do, too. Here is a glimmer of hope from the IPCC. We have it within our power to slow the rate of increase in the worldwide temperature, which could forestall a global environmental catastrophe. President Biden has said he wants to cut carbon emissions by half over the next couple of decades. He has appointed former Secretary of State John Kerry as the nation’s international climate diplomat.

There once was a theory that we had passed the point of no return on climate change. That theory has changed somewhat. Environmentalists suggest now that it we can do more.

Climate change is not the “hoax” that too many deniers have called it. The wildfires out west, the flooding in the east, the rising sea levels, the diminishing polar ice caps, the deforestation that continues in the Third World all provide all the proof I need that we need to get busy.

The UN Climate Report: All Is Not Well—but All Is Not Lost (msn.com)

Time is not our friend, ladies and gentlemen.

Climate change: It’s here!

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

We have reached critical mass, it appears to me, on the issue of climate change.

There should be no more debate on what to do “when the time comes.” It has come. We’re there. Earth’s climate, I fear, has changed to the point that it might be too late to stop the effect we human beings are having on the planet we call home.

That, however, shouldn’t preclude our efforts to try to do something. Anything! We need to find solutions to stop what is happening to us in real time.

That Bootleg Fire in Oregon? It’s now creating its own weather system as it scorches more than 600 square miles of my home state. Icebergs the size of small U.S. states continue to break off Antarctica, drifting into the Southern Ocean and continuing to contribute to the rising sea levels around the world. We continue to emit too many carbon gases, diminishing the oxygen supply that is supposed to help cool our dear planet.

Oh, and this story needs to be covered more intently: Third World countries continue to destroy millions of acres of forestland, depriving animals of their habitat and, of course, depriving the atmosphere its primary source for oxygen.

The fire seasons are raging out of control. They are arriving sooner, it seems, each year. They are burning more intensely.

What is the world’s most indispensable to do about it? Our Congress is tying itself up in knots over climate change. Republicans still don’t want to confront it. Democrats see the urgency but are fighting among themselves over the scope and breadth of what to do legislatively.

Meanwhile, President Biden is trying to include climate change into an infrastructure package he wants enacted as soon as humanly possible.

This dithering, dawdling and debating isn’t helping us deal with a problem that is destroying our planet in real time.

Let’s get busy.