Tag Archives: Global warming

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.


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.


Yeah, it’s hot … but wait

I keep sweating through my shirts, soaking them and me to an annoying level. It’s been hotter ‘n hell out there for most of July and is likely to stay that way in North Texas through the next month, too.

Let us, though, put a thing or two in perspective.

Does the current heat wave prove without a doubt that Earth’s climate is changing? Nope. It doesn’t prove a thing, only that it’s damn hot.

I am reminded of when a U.S. senator traipsed onto the floor of that chamber with a snowball in hand. Republican Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma, a noted climate change denier, sought to use the snowball as absolute proof that climate change — aka global warming — is the hoax he has said it is.

Inhofe was wrong. Indeed, he insulted the intelligence of many others of us who do believe that Earth’s climate is changing, that the planet’s temperature is rising.

So,, juxtaposed with that example, I want to caution those who would equate the current blistering heat as proof of the thing that Inhofe said is a hoax are mistaken if they equate the current heat wave with climate change.

A Dallas-Fort Worth network affiliate station, WFAA-TV, has been running a public service announcement that seeks to explain the difference between “climate” and “weather.” WFAA meteorologist Greg Fields makes the point that “weather” measures conditions in the moment, while “climate” conditions should be measured over lengthy periods of time.

That’s a boiled-down explanation of what many of us have known all along. Still, I happen to believe that our climate is changing. I also believe humankind has played a huge role in that bringing about that change. And … I believe we need to get busy to mitigate the damage that we keep doing to it.

Let us complain all we want about the hot weather. Heck, I’m doing plenty of it myself. However, let us take care that we don’t conflate today’s 100-degree blast with the changing of Earth’s climate.


Remember the chill? Me neither!

Memories are too short, given that we rarely remember what we bitched about when the weather outside was the extreme opposite of what it is at this moment.

I am complaining a lot these days about the North Texas blast furnace that has brought us record heat, with no relief in short-term sight … although I heard a TV weather forecaster this morning say something about a “cold front” that might be heading our way.

It wasn’t that long ago when my complaints concerned winter’s grip over North Texas and how it wouldn’t let go. We had daily temps at or near freezing. Oh, and then we remembered what it was like around here a year ago, when the killer freeze swept in over the entire state. It killed hundreds of Texans and forced our junior U.S. senator, Republican Ted Cruz, to flee to Cancun while the rest of us were shivering.

The winter of 2021-22 did let go. Boy, did it ever!

We are just now entering summer. This is Day Two? Holy smokes, man! What is gonna happen when the dog days arrive?

This much is certain. I won’t wish for winter to clamp its icy grip on us. I also will refrain from complaining about “climate change,” because I know that today’s weather has little do with Earth’s climate.

Stay cool, folks.


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.


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.


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.

Climate change, anyone?

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Under most circumstances, I am not usually prone to hold up singular weather events as evidence of climate change.

I know the difference between weather and climate. 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. When we talk about climate change, we talk about changes in long-term averages of daily weather.

However … the events of this early summer in my hometown of Portland, Ore., and elsewhere out west tell me that the changing climate has contributed to the misery that my family members and many friends are suffering.

Portland set an all-time heat record of 108 degree F on Saturday. Another record might be set today and again tomorrow. They’re saying the temp could top 115!

I remember vaguely being in Portland when the mercury topped out at 107. It was a horrible heat. The fire season is starting earlier this year than ever before. The snow pack in the Cascade Range — which produces Portland’s water when it runs off in the spring — is a good bit below normal. Drought conditions are taking hold.

Hmmm. Is this the result of climate change? I kinda think so.

Is there anything we can do to stem its impact? Yes. There is.

Does our Congress have the will to do anything about it. Uhh, let me see. Probably not.

President Biden is holding out for a climate change effort to be included in the infrastructure deal that a bipartisan group of senators presented to him.

I am inclined to dismiss climate change as the cause for all weather-related crises. Not this time. Not with the evidence piling up that climate change is real and it needs humankind’s undivided attention.

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.