Tag Archives: Global warming

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.

johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

UN offers hope amid peril

ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images)

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.

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.