Tag Archives: Global warming

Climate threat is real and dangerous

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden is seeking to redefine the term “infrastructure.”

However, he is running into plenty of old-school resistance from his former friends in the Republican Party, who continue to insist that infrastructure should include roads, bridges, airports and ship channels.

Biden sees a wider world than that. He has reeled in climate change and the effect it has on our way of life. That, too, deals with “infrastructure,” according to the president.

No surprise, but I happen to agree with President Biden’s broader view of the world and the impact of factors that change it.

Biden and congressional Republicans have reached an impasse. Biden wants a massive infrastructure bill to include work on climate change; Republicans think it’s beyond the scope of the traditional definition of the term “infrastructure.”

What, though, happens to our coastal communities if sea levels keep rising? Or to our seaports? To highways, bridges and other thoroughfares threatened by the inevitable warming of the climate and the effect it has on our environment?

That is why in my view climate change must take a front-and-center place among the issues that need our government’s attention.

Joe Biden brought former Secretary of State John Kerry on board as a climate change adviser. Kerry is working with heads of state around the world to rivet their attention as well on the impact that climate change is having on their nations. We have returned to the Paris Climate Accords, from which we withdrew four years ago.

I can think of nothing at all more compelling than finding a way to preserve Planet Earth’s ecosystem for future generations to enjoy. It might already be too late to prevent all the destruction of our planet that is coming. None of that should preclude any effort to seek ways to head it off or to limit the impact it will bring to the only planet we can call home.

Yeah, infrastructure must include climate change.

Green New Deal is back!

 

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Just in time, a newer version of legislation that got stalled a couple of years ago in the U.S. Senate, has returned to the center stage of environmental policy discussion.

The Green New Deal — the bogeyman of the Republican Party — has been reintroduced by U.S. Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York; indeed, AOC herself has become a favorite target of GOP critics.

Why is this so timely? Because we have Earth Day coming up Thursday. It’s the one day of the year — as if we should dedicate just a single day — we call attention to the fragility of the only planet we can inhabit.

I’ll save a discussion on the nuts and bolts of the Green New Deal for another day. I do want to make a point about the importance of what the GND intends to accomplish. It seeks to preserve our environment, to retain Earth as a place where human beings can inhabit.

President Biden has made climate change one of the linchpins of his tenure in office. He appointed former U.S. Sen. and Secretary of State John Kerry as a special international envoy on climate change. The president signed an executive order upon taking office to return the United States to the Paris Climate Accord, from which Donald Trump had walked away when he took office.

Climate change presents an existential threat to our national security. Never mind the spring chill that has swept across the nation in recent days. The evidence continues to show that Earth’s median temperatures continue to increase year over year. Ice caps are melting. Sea levels are rising. Third World nations continue to fell millions of acres of forest each year. The industrialized nations of the world continue to pour millions of tons of carbon-related pollutants into the air.

We must find some answers to these crises. Many of us say it when Earth Day rolls around every year: We only have one planet … and we have to protect it.

Is the Green New Deal too much? Too little? I don’t know. However, I believe we must not continue to do what we have been doing. We are contributing to the destruction of our Good Earth.

Hoping for more than climate change lip service

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President-elect Joe Biden is giving an abundance of lip service to climate change, global warming, clean energy development as he continues to formulate an executive government.

He did so yet again today in revealing his choices to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, the Interior Department and the Energy Department.

Look, I believe the president-elect is sincere in his state desire to tackle what he has called the greatest “existential threat” to our national security. I agree with him. However, I intend to watch intently as the new president starts rolling out the policies that will put some meat on the rhetorical bones that President-elect Biden is delivering on the climate change issue.

I want to see investments made in clean energy development. Energy Secretary-designate Jennifer Granholm spoke to that desire when she spoke to us after Biden introduced her. Indeed, the POTUS-elect has talked about climate change initiatives as being job creators. He has said he wants to employ millions of Americans in clean energy development.

Climate change and global warming do present a grave threat to the nation. The gloom-and-doomers among us suggest it might be too late for humankind to stem the effects of our changing climate. I am not going to buy into that notion.

I want my government and the president I supported with my vote to contribute more than lip service. We need federal policies that will help us harvest the wind, the ocean tides and other clean renewable energy sources to do the job upon which we continue to rely on fossil fuels.

Those fossil fuels have their limits. They also are contributing to that existential threat that our new president says is endangering our planet.

Mr. President-elect, it’s time to get busy. As in immediately.

Push toward energy alternatives? Yes

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

A nation is watching a government take shape.

President-elect Joe Biden is systematically appointing Cabinet and high-level advisors at a brisk clip. They are by and large competent, knowledgeable and forward-thinking. I don’t see any real clunkers in the group.

We’re going to get an energy secretary who once served as governor of Michigan. Jennifer Granholm is expected to take over from Dan Brouilette as soon as the Senate confirms her. What do I want from the new energy boss? Well, I want something that’s been missing for the past four years under Brouilette and from former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who preceded him as energy boss. I want an emphasis on renewable energy.

Will this be part of the Granholm agenda when she takes over as head of the Department of Energy? It damn sure better be.

What was most troubling to me about Rick Perry’s tenure at Energy was his silence on the issue of renewable energy … the clean energy that could replace fossil fuel-driven energy. What disappointed me was that while he was governor of Texas, we saw wind energy farms sprouting like wildflowers all over West Texas. Perry’s tenure as governor saw a huge investment in the kind of energy that promotes environmental protection while heating and cooling our homes and delivering electricity to business and industry throughout the state.

Indeed, Texas became the nation’s leading producer of wind-generated electricity during Perry’s time as governor. Then he ran for president twice; he called Donald Trump a “cancer on conservatism,” pulled out of the 2016 contest and then got selected to serve as energy secretary during the first part of the Trump administration. He must have made a pledge to keep quiet about his record in Texas, because we didn’t hear much from him about alternative energy sources.

President-elect Biden is expected to select Gov. Granholm as the nation’s next energy secretary. He also is committing considerable interest and resources to battling climate change. He has named former Secretary of State John Kerry as his international climate envoy and former Environmental Protection Agency head Gina McCarthy as the nation’s domestic climate change guru.

Fossil fuel production and the carbon emissions that choke our air have caused a worldwide crisis with its impact on our planet’s climate. The nation’s energy secretary can play a key role in stemming that trend and perhaps guide us toward a reversal of fortune.

Jennifer Granholm must be able and willing to take that lead. So must the man who will nominate her to the key job. President Biden has stated clearly and without equivocation that climate change presents a dire threat to our national security. He needs to give the next energy secretary the go-ahead to attack that problem head-on.

No. 1 issue? Climate change

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

If someone were to ask me about the top priority facing the president of the United States, I would place climate change at the top of the list of “existential threats” that needs our attention.

Donald J. Trump is a lost cause on that one. He calls climate change/global warming a “hoax.” He pushes for more fossil fuel drilling and development; he has pulled the nation out of the Paris Climate Accords that establishes a framework for cutting carbon emissions; he has been silent on deforestation.

The wildfires that have ravaged several western states are essentially the direct result of climate change. Trump’s answer? He calls on states to sweep the forest floor clean of dead trees that provide fuel for the fires.

This is where Joe Biden can deliver the goods if he is elected president. Oh, how I hope that happens 36 days from now.

He said he would return to the Climate Accords. Biden has vowed to invest in clean energy technology. He vows to work with Congress — where he served for 36 years before being elected vice president in 2008 — to find common ground on legislative solutions to this growing threat to the only planet we can call home.

Trump is clueless. He is feckless. He is reckless in his declarations of “hoax.”

The men will face off tonight in the first of three debates. May the better man — and I consider him to be Joe Biden — return climate change to the front edge of the top shelf of issues that need presidential attention.

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.