Tag Archives: Climate change

The ‘river’ has arrived!

EUREKA, Calif. — I set out this morning headed northward from the San Francisco Bay Area, and with forecasters predicting a return visit of that Atmospheric River.

My sister expressed some faint hope that they would get it wrong.

They didn’t. It arrived with a vengeance … again!

I drove into the sucker from Oakland and it never dried out when I landed at my next stop just south of the Oregon border.

To be honest, I totally get why our California countrymen and women are tired of the wind, rain, and “wintry mix” that doesn’t seem to let up. We’re now well into the spring season and it feels damn near like winter.

You are welcome to spare the notion that the prolonged cold doesn’t mean our “climate is changing.” It damn sure is changing, so I won’t debate anyone here on the merits of climate change.

I just had hoped to avoid that “atmospheric river” nonsense on this westward trek. Hey, it has taken my mind off the sad event of a month ago that prompted me to leave my house in North Texas.

So, the trek continues into Oregon, the state where I came into this world more than seven decades ago … and where it rains for three days before anyone even notices.


Water, water everywhere

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The hours-long drive along California Highway 99 opened my eyes to the ravages that Mother Nature has brought to this wonderful part of the country.

They have water here. Too much water!

The playas are full; some of them are overflowing. I ventured across several bridges spanning rivers. I glanced at the rivers as I sped by. Lete me be clear: I don’t know what the “normal” streamflow looks like for the San Joaquin River, but what I saw as I glanced at the river was far from what I am certain is normal.

I got a text message from my sister in Santa Cruz, telling me it was “pouring” once more. I’ll be heading that direction in a couple of days. She did tell me the other day that if her neighborhood is underwater that “the entire city is gone,” which is her way of telling me they’re fairly safe from the deluge. I do hope so.

The weather forecasters apparently are in love with the term “atmospheric river,” which sounds like a cool term to use to describe the torrents that have fallen for the past several weeks. I’ll say, though, that the current term du jour is more appealing than “bomb cyclone,” which has been used to describe previous events of this magnitude.

There well could be more of this madness awaiting me as I continue my travel north from the Bay Area in a few days. I plan to see my niece in Eureka, which is on the coast just south of the Oregon border.

A respite from The Flood would be so nice. Indeed, I believe the good folks here have enough water to last them a while.


Happy birthday, Mr. POTUS

Mr. President, I want to be among the millions of Americans who are wishing you a happy birthday.

So … today you are completing your 80th journey around the sun. I wish you many more such trips. Now, allow me to get to the point of this greeting.

You say you “intend” to seek re-election in 2024. I don’t read that as a definite “yes, I am a candidate for another four years as president.” You have said something about being a believer in “fate.” Hmm.

Allow me to ask you, as one who voted for you in 2020, to declare your candidacy sooner rather than later.

I get the “fate” part. I believe in fate, too, Mr. President and I also believe that fate occasionally gets in the way of the best-laid plans.

I also believe that you have done a good job as president and I want you to keep doing what you’ve done on my behalf. It hasn’t been a perfect term to be sure. Then again, no president in the history of this republic has governed perfectly. There have been mistakes among even the greatest of the great men who have been elected to this high and noble office.

I supported your election because I believed in 2020 that you represented a return to presidential norms that had been tossed aside by your immediate predecessor. I supported you because I believe that being a “career politician” is not an epithet, but that it is a signal of your commitment to public service. That, too, is something your immediate predecessor never experienced in his entire life preceding his fluke election as POTUS … and it showed during his term in office.

I also supported your election because of your demonstrated record of working with pols on both sides of the great divide and your vast knowledge of the complexities of government.

Your commitment to battling climate change, to seeking a better world that respects human rights, to seeking legislation that can end senseless gun violence, to repairing our infrastructure all are worthy of my continued support. I will support those efforts wholeheartedly.

I also will support your defense of our democratic process that you declared rightly during the midterm election to be “on the ballot.” Our nation cannot condone these attacks on the fundamental principles and tenets that make ours the greatest country on Earth.

Mr. President, I am in your corner.


Yet another salute to first responders

Hurricane Ian has become the latest natural enemy No. 1 to visit the United States of America.

The storm slammed into Florida’s Gulf Coast, bringing storm surges that exceeded 12 feet. The death count from the monster storm has yet to be ascertained, but I did hear that Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has predicted it could go into “the hundreds.”

Oh, my. We are left where the weather has been gorgeous to pray for the first responders who do what they do, which is they run toward the danger. Firefighters, police officers, medical EMTs all have answered the call, which they promise to do when they pin the badges to their shirts.

Texans who are no strangers to natural calamity have rushed to aid. Oncor, the electric utility, has deployed 500 technicians to help restore power to millions of Floridians. The Cajun navy, comprising residents and their boats headed toward the storm. Texas Baptist Men, long involved in assisting where emergencies arise, again are on the job.

President Biden has declared Florida to be major disaster area, which means the federal government will expedite aid as officials on site ascertain their needs.

That’s what residents of the United States of America do. They rush to the aid of others.

Meanwhile, the rest of the nation can offer plenty of prayer and good karma.


Will the king follow the queen’s example?

Queen Elizabeth II established many hallmarks that set her apart during her 70-year reign as the United Kingdom’s monarch. One of them was her reticence to get involved politically.

As near as anyone could tell, Her Majesty kept every single opinion she had on pressing issues of the day to herself. She chose to keep the most private counsel possible.

She is now gone, of course. King Charles III has ascended to the throne. His Majesty has spent a good bit of his life getting involved — deeply, I should add — in matters that affect the entire world. I am thinking of this moment of climate change. He also has been outspoken about HIV/AIDS research and, while he was married to his first wife, Princess Diana, in the proliferation of land mines left behind after conflicts around the world.

These all are noble causes that deserved royal attention and his great and eternal credit, the king lent his name to those efforts.

As an outsider looking in from far away, I am left to wonder now whether King Charles III will use his even more elevated platform to continue the fight against climate change. Or will he follow his dear Mum’s example and step away, seeking to preserve the standing she enjoyed as the universally loved and admired British monarch?

On the matter involving climate change, I hope he chooses the former path and continues to lend his considerable standing to the planet’s greatest existential threat.

We only have one planet to inhabit. We need to take care of it. Your Majesty, lend your voice to that battle.


Climate change: legislative target

President Biden’s recent success has prompted plenty of discussion about whether his political standing will hold up through the 2024 election, presuming he actually runs for re-election.

I want to look briefly at one aspect of Biden’s hot streak. It’s the Inflation Reduction Act and the provision contained in it that deals straight ahead with what I consider to be the nation’s most serious existential threat: climate change.

Forbes magazine has taken a good look at specific aspects of the IRA. Here is its summary of the climate change aspect of the law:

The bill includes numerous investments in climate protection, including tax credits for households to offset energy costs, investments in clean energy production and tax credits aimed at reducing carbon emissions.

Now, I have to ask: Why is any of that such a bad thing?

The Inflation Reduction Act is a slimmed-down version of Biden’s Build Back Better legislative ideal. He couldn’t get all Democrats — let alone any Republicans — to buy into the initial version of the bill. So, he settled on this dialed-back facsimile.

What I find horribly disconcerting from GOP critics is their insistence that efforts to curb carbon emissions is a “job killer.” In a way, yes, this emphasis will reduce jobs … in the fossil fuel industry. The payback, though, comes with investment in new clean-energy jobs. 

Here’s What’s In The Inflation Reduction Act – Forbes Advisor

You might recall a statement that 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton said about her plan to convert to clean energy. She pledged to virtually eliminate fossil fuel jobs; her foes led by GOP nominee Donald Trump hammered her mercilessly. Except that she said in the very next sentence that she would want to replace those fossil fuel jobs with clean energy jobs.

Here’s a bit more from Forbes: Though the bill may fall short of bringing immediate price relief to consumers, it’s monumental in other ways. According to The Wilderness Society, a nonprofit land conservation organization established in 1935, the Inflation Reduction Act is described as a “breakthrough” on climate policy.

A “breakthrough on climate policy”? I agree about whether this bill bring much immediate relief on inflation. However, I am going to retain a belief that tax breaks and household incentives are going to bring immediate relief to the stresses humankind is putting on our fragile planet.


Democrats have earned it

President Biden is going to get a bill quite soon that won’t have any Republican votes attached to it. The blunt truth is that I wished for at least a smattering of GOP support from Congress to send the Inflation Reduction Act to the president.

Alas, it didn’t happen. However, I am going to say loudly and clearly that Democrats in the Senate and the House have done well for those of they represent across the land.

House Democrats today stood together to enact the IRA. It seeks to reduce inflation, seeks to reduce carbon emissions, seeks to reduce the cost of drugs.

Republicans, of course, say it doesn’t do anything to help us. I will disagree with their bloviating.

The Inflation Reduction Act represents a significant effort to curb climate change. Indeed, it is this nation’s largest-ever investment to help curb carbon emissions.

I have to ask: Why is that a bad thing?

It’s not a bad thing at all! Republican obstructionists, though, remain bound to their commitment to block anything President Biden and Democrats want to accomplish.

It is to their everlasting shame. Democrats, meanwhile, have earned the nation’s gratitude. They have, as Joe Biden once declared, produced a big fu**ing deal.


Not even close …

This isn’t anything like the way I envisioned legislation would proceed upon the election in 2020 of Joe Biden as president of the United States.

I envisioned a return to the type of collegiality and compromise one could see with a president with decades of legislative experience working with members of Congress to enact laws that would do good things for Americans.

What have we seen? More gridlock. More obstruction from the loyal opposition. More partisan wrangling.

Democrats are cheering the enactment of what they call the Inflation Reduction Act. The Senate vote was 50-50, leaving the tie-breaking vote to come from Vice President Harris.

The bill isn’t perfect, but it includes the nation’s largest investment ever on ways to battle the planet’s changing climate. It seeks to reduce the cost of prescription drugs. It is paid for by taxes being leveled on corporations.

The Grand Obstructionist Party fought all of it. Tooth and nail. Hammer and tong.

President Biden’s predecessor took office without a lick of government experience … and it showed. He couldn’t negotiate his way out of a phone booth. Biden took office in January 2021 making what I thought at the time was a reasonable pledge to restore a sense of commonality between Democrats and Republicans.

Silly me. It hasn’t worked. GOP members of both congressional chambers continue to dig in, even to the point of denying that Joe Biden even is the “legitimate president of the United States.” Yes, they have swallowed The Big Lie and are obstructing the president at every turn.

But … Democrats won this latest battle. I am glad and grateful at least to see one side of the great divide working on my behalf.


Senate clears big bill

OK, so it doesn’t constitute a stunning bipartisan mandate, but it does demonstrate how Senate Republicans — once again — appear to be on the wrong side of history.

The U.S. Senate approved by the thinnest margin possible a procedural vote that clears the way for approval of a slimmed-down package that President Biden has been seeking to do a number of positive things for the economy.

The bill seeks to cut carbon emissions and help stem the changing climate; it seeks to pay for itself by raising taxes on the richest Americans; it seeks to lower drug costs, giving more Americans access to medication.

Harris breaks 50-50 deadlock to advance landmark climate, tax, health bill | The Hill

Hey, it’s a good package.

All 50 Senate Republicans voted “no.” All 50 Democrats voted “yes.” That left it to Vice President Harris to cast the deciding vote to send the measure on to a full vote sometime Sunday.

This is the same deal that was given up for dead when Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin declared he couldn’t support it. Then the senator met with Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer to work out a pared-down version. Manchin changed his tune; the deal was back on the table.

This gives President Biden a much-need push toward keeping a major campaign promise, which was to help reduce the threat caused by climate change.

As for the Republicans, they continue to push policies that Americans do not support. How can they sustain that stubbornness going into the midterm election?

My hope is that they cannot.


Biden to use his power

President Biden has made a vow that many of us will seek to ensure he keeps it.

He pledges to use all the executive authority contained in his high office to wage war against climate change, which he labels — quite correctly — as an “existential threat” to the nation’s security.

Biden cannot depend on Congress to enact legislation. Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who seems to take pleasure in torpedoing Biden’s agenda, signaled yet again he won’t back any legislative answers to climate change.

That means, according to Biden, that he will use the power of his office to take whatever measures he can legally take.

Let’s understand that only one person is elected on a national scale: the president of the United States. The Constitution does distribute power to the legislative and judicial branches of government. Individual senators, House members or judges, though, do not have the authority bestowed on the individual who is elected by the entire nation.

Thus, President Biden is spot on in his effort to deploy the power of his office to do what Congress is unable — and unwilling — to do.

That is to declare war on climate change. Many of us are keeping our eyes open to ensure he follows through.