Sunday, September 23, 2012

Who is Jill Stein ?

If you are interested in American politics you gotta know who Jill Stein is.

Both the United States Republican and Democrat parties are firmly fixed on an agenda that can only lead to global climate catastrophe.

That is no choice.

What about the US Green party?

You want a future? 

Then you need to know who Jill Stein is. 

Dr. Jill Stein is a mother, housewife, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, a pioneering environmental-health advocate, and the leader of the US Green Party. 

The US Green Party policy platform is the only party that offers you any future. 

So you say a vote for the Green Party is a wasted vote. No, a vote for either of the other parties is a wasted vote - if you understand anything about runaway global climate change.  

Here is Jill Stein's climate change and energy policy platform, followed by her bio. 

Climate Change
Our Position

Greens want to stop runaway climate change, by reducing greenhouse gas emissions at least 40% by 2020 and 95% by 2050, over 1990 levels.

Climate change is the gravest environmental, social and economic peril that humanity has ever met. Across the world, it is causing vanishing polar ice, melting glaciers, growing deserts, stronger storms, rising oceans, less biodiversity, deepening droughts, as well as more disease, hunger, strife and human misery. It is a tragedy unfolding in slow motion.

Greenhouse gases warm the Earth by trapping heat in the atmosphere. Much of that heat is initially absorbed by the ocean, creating roughly a 30-year delay in the impact of that heat at the surface of the planet. Practically speaking, that means that the melting glaciers and expanding deserts of 2009 were the result of greenhouse gases dumped into the atmosphere in the late 1970s, when the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was below 350 parts per million (ppm). To return to a safe level of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere, we must reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases as quickly as possible to levels that existed before 1980, to 350ppm carbon dioxide.

Greens support science-based policies to curb climate change. We have an ambitious plan to make drastic changes quickly to avert global catastrophe. We will expend maximum effort to preserve a planet friendly to life as we know it by curtailing greenhouse gas emissions and actively removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

Green Solutions
1. Strong International Climate Treaty

Support a strong international climate treaty under the auspices of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The United States must do far better than its offer in Copenhagen to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4% below 1990 levels. We should support at least a 40% reduction by 2020 and 95% reduction by 2050, over 1990 levels.

2. Economic Policy For A Safer Climate

a. Enact a Fee & Dividend system on fossil fuels to enable the free market to include the environmental costs of their extraction and use. These fees shall be applied as far upstream as possible, either when fuel passes from extraction to refining, distribution or consumption; or when it first enters the United States' jurisdiction. The carbon fee will initially be small, a dime per kilogram of carbon, to avoid creating a shock to the economy. The fee will be increased by 10% each year that global atmospheric carbon dioxide content is greater than 350 ppm, decreased 10% each year it's less than 300 ppm, and repealed entirely when it falls below 250 ppm.

b. Although imported fossil fuel has no more impact on global climate change than domestic, importing petroleum and natural gas has a catastrophic impact on American foreign policy and the American economy. We will enact this same fee on imported fossil fuels a second time to give the free market an incentive to wean America off foreign oil and gas.

c. The Green Party calls for elimination of subsidies for fossil fuels, nuclear power, biomass and waste incineration and biofuels. We must also acknowledge that the bulk of our military budget is, in fact, an indirect subsidy for oil & gas corporations.

d. To prevent perverse incentives arising from higher carbon prices, the Green Party mandates clean fuels in addition to pricing carbon. Otherwise dirty energy sources like nuclear power, biomass and biofuels that are not subject to carbon pricing will become economically competitive.

3. Repay Our Climate Debt

a. Pay for adaptation to climate change in countries with less responsibility for climate change.
b. Provide a carbon neutral development path for those countries that can no longer be permitted to develop in the same way we did – by burning cheap fossil fuels.

4. More Efficiency And Conservation

a. Adopt energy efficiency standards that reduce energy demand economy-wide by 50% over the next 20-30 years. The U.S. can make massive reductions in its energy use through a combination of conservation and efficiency measures. We don't actually need any additional power. Instead, we can and should reduce our consumption of power.
b. Build an efficient, low cost public transportation system. The best incentive we can provide to live closer to work and reduce the use of private vehicles is to make the alternative inexpensive and convenient to use.
c. Adopt a national zero waste policy. The less we consume and throw away, the less we will need to produce and replace.

5. Clean, Green Energy and Jobs

a. Create an inclusive program to train workers for the new, clean energy economy. Focusing on both the environment and social justice, prioritize the creation of green jobs in communities of color and low-income communities.

b. Adopt a clean energy portfolio standard that rapidly replaces our combustion-based power sources with wind, solar, ocean, small-scale hydro, and geothermal power.

c. End the use of nuclear power. Nuclear energy is massively polluting, dangerous, financially risky, expensive and slow to implement. Our money is better spent on wind, solar, geothermal, conservation and small-scale hydroelectric.

d. Stop "dirty clean energy." Many of the "solutions" offered in climate legislation aren't real solutions. Biomass incineration (trees, crops, construction debris and certain types of waste), landfill gas and many types of biofuels will dump massive quantities of toxic pollutants into the air and water, and some of these energy sources produce more greenhouse gas emissions than coal. Natural gas is primarily methane, which is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Consequently, when pipeline leakage is considered, the clean-burning characteristics of natural gas can be lost, resulting in a fuel with climate impacts as bad as coal. Biomass and biofuels will also increase deforestation, contributing to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

6. Clean, Green Agriculture

a. Convert U.S farm and ranchland to organic practices. Chemical and industrial agriculture produces 35-50% of climate destabilizing greenhouse gases.

b. Switch to local food production and distribution. Localized, organic food production and distribution reduce fossil fuel usage and enriches soil that sequesters more carbon dioxide.

c. Reduce methane, nitrous oxide and other greenhouse gases by rapidly phasing out confined animal feeding operations, and encouraging a reduction in meat consumption.

B. Energy

The United States has a high-energy-consumption economy based mainly on fossil energy. The extraction, refining, and combustion of fossil fuels have proved extremely harmful to the environment, and supplies are rapidly being depleted. Over the past century, the infrastructure of our civilization has become utterly dependent on plentiful oil, coal, and natural gas: vast land, air, and sea transportation networks; increasing dependence on imported goods; industrialized food production dependent on fertilizer and biocides; and sprawling, car-dependent neighborhoods and workplaces. Our electric grid depends on fossil fuels for two-thirds of its energy.

Dirty and dangerous energy sources have generated an unparalleled assault on the environment and human rights. In the U.S., low income communities and communities of color bear the greatest burden of health impacts due to exposure to emissions from coal and gas-fired power plants. Native American communities have been devastated by uranium mining, and the people of Appalachia watch helplessly as their ancient mountains are destroyed for coal-fired electricity. Regional and global peaks in supply are driving up costs and threatening wars and social chaos. (See separate section on catastrophic Climate Change from excess release of carbon dioxide.)

Since 1859 when the first commercial oil well was drilled in Pennsylvania, the global community has consumed about half what nature generated over hundreds of millions of years. Although coal is more abundant than oil, it is inherently dirtier than oil, is limited in terms of its use as a vehicle fuel, and demand is skyrocketing globally for use in electricity generation. Natural Gas is also in high demand for power production and is ultimately finite. We must plan and prepare for the end of fossil fuels now, while we still have energy available to build the cleaner, more sustainable energy infrastructure that we will soon need.

To simply substitute better energy sources in place of fossil fuels is not the answer for two main reasons. First, there are no energy sources (renewable or otherwise) capable of supplying energy as cheaply and in such abundance as fossil fuels currently yield in the time that we need them to come online. Second, we have designed and built our infrastructure to suit the unique characteristics of oil, natural gas, and coal.
The energy transition cannot be accomplished with a minor retrofit of existing energy infrastructure. 

Just as our fossil fuel economy differs from the agrarian economy of 1800, the post-fossil fuel economy of 2050 will be profoundly different from all that we are familiar with now. Changes would occur if we wait for the price of fossil fuels to reflect scarcity, forcing society to adapt; however, lack of government planning will result in a transition that is chaotic, painful, destructive, and possibly not survivable.

The Green Party advocates a rapid reduction in energy consumption through energy efficiency and a decisive transition away from fossil and nuclear power toward cleaner, renewable, local energy sources. Toward these goals, we advocate:

1. Encourage Conservation

Encourage conservation and a significant decrease in our energy consumption, institute national energy efficiency standards.

With five percent of the world's population, U.S residents consume twenty-six percent of the world's energy. U.S. consumption of electricity is almost nine times greater than the average for the rest of the world. These are not sustainable levels.

a. The U.S. must retrofit its building stock for energy efficiency. Most U.S. residents live in homes that require heat during the winter, and most are inadequately insulated. Buildings in the South require air conditioning during the summer. Fuel shortages, power outages, and energy price hikes could bring not just discomfort, but a massive increase in mortality from cold and heat. Millions of buildings can and must be super-insulated and, as much as possible, provided with alternative heat sources (passive solar, geothermal, or district heating).

b. Energy efficiency standards similar to those in California must be adopted nationally. The energy efficiency standards adopted there in the late 1970s have resulted in overall electricity-use remaining flat over the past three decades while the population has steadily increased. During the same time period electricity use in the rest of the U.S. has climbed along with population growth.

c. There are many different ways to increase energy efficiency and the best path for one region of the country might differ from that of another. We will need concerted effort to increase efficiency in every sector of our economy. Technologies exist that, if widely implemented, can result in huge energy savings.
d. Cogeneration and use of waste heat to generate electricity should be encouraged.

e. A carbon tax, which the Green Party supports, would serve as an important market incentive to increase efficiency.

2. Move to Renewable Sources

Move decisively to an energy system based on solar, wind, geo-thermal, marine, and other cleaner renewable energy sources.

The development of Earth-gentle, sustainable energy sources must be a cornerstone of any plan to reduce reliance on conventional fossil fuels. The Green Party advocates clean renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, marine-based, and other cleaner renewable sources as the long-term solution.

a. Many other solutions being pushed, including nuclear power, coal, industrial-scale biofuels, and low-grade fossil fuels such as oil shale and tar sands, create more problems than they solve.

b. Further research with increased government support is needed into new energy storage technologies, as well as new cheaper and non-toxic photovoltaic materials and processes, and new geothermal and ocean power technologies.

c. Policy tools to directly support the development of renewable energy sources, such as Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) and Feed-in Tariffs, should also be reviewed for effectiveness. In general, a feed-in tariff is legislation enacted by the government that requires the large electric utilities to guarantee a price for the renewably generated electricity fed into the grid. When done right, such as in Germany, this policy appears to succeed in harnessing entrepreneurial zeal.

d. State-level financing policies like California's AB 811 can help homeowners install expensive renewable energy where the county pays the up-front cost and the system is paid for via the homeowner's property taxes.

e. Greens support voluntary purchase of tradable renewable energy certificates; however, voluntary approaches are not sufficient.

f. Greens support research into advanced fuels when the purpose of the research is to develop a fuel that in its full cycle does not create more problems than it solves. We support the use of hydrogen as an energy storage medium; however we oppose the use of nuclear technologies or carbon-based feedstocks for hydrogen production.

g. We call for a ban on the construction of large-scale and inappropriately-located, hydroelectric dams.

3. Eliminate dirty and dangerous energy sources.

The Green Party advocates the phase-out of nuclear and coal power plants. All processes associated with nuclear power are dangerous, from the mining of uranium to the transportation and disposal of the radioactive waste. Coal is the largest contributor to climate change with estimates as high as 80%.

a. The generation of nuclear waste must be halted. It is hazardous for thousands of years and there is no way to isolate it from the biosphere for the duration of its toxic life. We oppose public subsidies for nuclear power. Cost is another huge factor making it unfeasible, with each new nuclear power plant costing billions of dollars.

b. The Green Party calls for a formal moratorium on the construction of new nuclear power plants, the early retirement of existing nuclear power reactors, and the phase-out of technologies that use or produce nuclear waste, such as nuclear waste incinerators, food irradiators, and all uses of depleted uranium.

c. We call for a ban on mountaintop removal coal mining. With limited supplies and in the absence of commercially viable "clean coal" carbon sequestration, which may never be feasible, coal is neither an economically nor an environmentally sustainable solution.

d. We call for the cessation of development of fuels produced with polluting, energy-intensive processes or from unsustainable or toxic feed stocks, such as genetically-engineered crops, coal and waste streams contaminated with persistent toxics.

e. We oppose further oil and gas drilling or exploration on our nation's outer continental shelf, on our public lands, in the Rocky Mountains, and under the Great Lakes.

f. Due to serious negative impacts on food, soil, and water, we oppose industrial-scale biofuels production and biomass burning for electric power generation. We approve small scale distributed production under local control, such as production of biodiesel from waste oils, production of charcoal and byproducts from wood wastes or sustainably harvested wood, small scale production of ethanol from crop wastes or maize stalk sugar, or production of fuel gas for localized electricity generation from anaerobic methane digesters or charcoal gasifiers. We do not object to the utilization of fuel gases seeping from landfills, as that is one way to reduce air pollution. We support as a minimum standard the Principles for Sustainable Biomass statement signed by Clean Water Action, Environmental Defense Fund, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Geos Institute, Greenpeace USA, National Wildlife Federation, Natural Resources Defense Council, Southern Alliance for Clean Energy, Southern Environmental Law Center, Union of Concerned Scientists, The Wilderness Society, and World Wildlife Fund.

g. Enact a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") until its damaging effects on water and air quality are fully studied and understood. Permanently ban high-volume hydraulic fracturing in sensitive watersheds. Regulate hydraulic fracturing under the Safe Drinking Water Act, Clean Water Act and National Environmental Policy Act, and require public disclosure of the chemicals used in fracturing fluids.

4. Decentralize the Grid

Plan for decentralized, bioregional electricity generation and distribution.
Decentralized power systems are likely to be more resilient in the face of power disruptions and will cut transmission losses, assure citizens greater control of their power grids, and prevent the massive ecological and social destruction that accompanies production of electricity in mega-scale projects.

a. We support "smart grid" upgrades. The federal government must step in to set goals and standards and to provide capital. This effort must not favor commercial utilities over municipal power districts.

b. The Green Party supports net metering to make decentralized energy production economically viable.

c. Greens support tax-exempt bonds to finance public ownership of utilities and to allow publicly owned utilities to finance conservation and renewable energy projects.

d. We oppose deregulation of the energy industry.

5. Re-localize the Food System

De-carbonize and re-localize the food system.

Our national industrial food system is overwhelmingly dependent upon oil and natural gas for farm-equipment fuel, fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, and the transport. It is responsible for over 12% of all greenhouse gases from human activities in the U.S. New farming methods, new farmers, and a re-localization of production and distribution are needed. These will require land reform, an investment in revitalizing rural areas and the creation of local food processing plants and storage centers. Laws and incentives affecting the food system (including food safety laws and farm subsidies) will need to be rewritten to provide preferential support for small-scale, local, low-input producers.

6. Electrify the Transportation System

Our enormous investment in highways, airports, cars, buses, trucks, and aircraft is almost completely dependent on oil, and it will be significantly handicapped by higher fuel prices, and devastated by actual fuel shortages. The electrification of road-based vehicles is a must and will require at least two decades to fully deploy and we must move to Earth-gentle electricity generation to charge the vehicles. Meanwhile, existing private automobiles must be put to use more efficiently through carpooling, car-sharing, and ride-sharing networks. (See Transportation section for more, including need for dramatic increase in CAFE or gasoline efficiency standards.)

7. Requirements for Energy Transition

a. Investment: Enormous amounts of investment capital will be needed to accomplish the energy transition, much more than the promise of $150 billion for renewable energy over ten years, and must now come from government.

b. Coordination: The energy transition will be complex and comprehensive, and its various strategies will be mutually impacting. For example, efforts to redirect transport away from highways and toward rail service will need to be coordinated with manufacturers, farmers, retailers, and employers. An independent federal Energy Transition Office should track and manage the transition.

c. Education: Community colleges should prepare workers for new job opportunities, e.g., sustainable food production, renewable energy installation, grid rebuilding, rail expansion, public transport construction, and home energy retrofitting. Grade school curriculum should include gardening programs in all schools and increased emphasis on energy conservation.

d. Public Messaging & Goal Setting: Our leaders must instill in the nation a sense of collective struggle and of a long journey toward a clear goal. The success of a project of this scope will require public buy-in at every stage and level, including the use of language and images to continually underscore what is at stake, to foster a spirit of cooperation and willing sacrifice.

Business leaders, advertising agencies and even Hollywood must be enlisted, a quid pro quo for government bail out of banks and corporations. Grassroots initiatives, such as the Transition Towns movement, could lead the way toward voluntary community efforts. A sophisticated, interactive, web-based program would inspire action and provide resources. Ratepayers should get full disclosure of the specific electric generating facilities used to produce their electricity.

A series of challenging yet feasible targets should be set, with the ultimate goal – complete freedom from fossil fuel dependency – to be achieved by 2050. The federal government should take the lead by setting targets for federal facilities. Achievement of annual targets should be cause for public celebration.

About Jill Stein
Dr. Jill Stein is a mother, housewife, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate.
She is the co-author of two widely-praised reports, In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats to Child Development, published in 2000, and Environmental Threats to Healthy Aging, published in 2009. The first of these has been translated into four languages and is used worldwide. The reports promote green local economies, sustainable agriculture, clean power, and freedom from toxic threats.
Her "Healthy People, Healthy Planet" teaching program reveals the links between human health, climate security, and green economic revitalization. This body of work has been presented at government, public health and medical conferences, and has been used to improve public policy.
Jill began to advocate for the environment as a human health issue in 1998 when she realized that politicians were simply not acting to protect children from the toxic threats emerging from current science. She offered her services to parents, teachers, community groups and a native Americans group seeking to protect their communities from toxic exposure.
Jill has testified before numerous legislative panels as well as local and state governmental bodies. She played a key role in the effort to get the Massachusetts fish advisories updated to better protect women and children from mercury contamination, which can contribute to learning disabilities and attention deficits in children. She also helped lead the successful campaign to clean up the "Filthy Five" coal plants in Massachusetts, an effort that resulted in getting coal plant regulations signed into law that were the most protective around at that time. Her testimony on the effects of mercury and dioxin contamination from the burning of waste helped preserve the Massachusetts moratorium on new trash incinerator construction in the state. 
Jill has appeared as an environmental health expert on the Today Show20/20Fox News, and other programs. She was also a member of the national and Massachusetts boards of directors of the Physicians for Social Responsibility. Her efforts to protect public health has won her several awards including: Clean Water Action's "Not in Anyone's Backyard" Award, the Children's Health Hero" Award, and the Toxic Action Center's Citizen Award.  
Having witnessed the ability of big money to stop health protective policies on Beacon Hill, Jill became an advocate for campaign finance reform, and worked to help pass the Clean Election Law. This law was approved by the voters by a 2-1 margin, but was later repealed by the Massachusetts Legislature on an unrecorded voice vote.
In 2002 ADD activists in the Massachusetts Green-Rainbow Party approached Dr. Stein and asked her to run for Governor of Massachusetts. Dr. Stein accepted, and began her first foray into electoral politics. She was widely credited with being the best informed and most credible candidate in the race.
She has twice been elected to town meeting in Lexington, Massachusetts. She is the founder and past co-chair of a local recycling committee appointed by the Lexington Board of Selectmen.
In 2003, Jill co-founded the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, a non-profit organization that addresses a variety of issues that are important to the health and well-being of Massachusetts communities, including health care, local green economies, and grassroots democracy.
Jill represented the Green-Rainbow Party in two additional races – one for State Representative in 2004 and one for Secretary of State in 2006. In 2006 she won the votes of over 350,000 Massachusetts citizens – which represented the greatest vote total ever for a Green-Rainbow candidate.
In 2008, Jill helped formulate a "Secure Green Future" ballot initiative that called upon legislators to accelerate efforts to move the Massachusetts economy to renewable energy and make development of green jobs a priority. The measure won over 81 per cent of the vote in the 11 districts in which it was on the ballot.
Jill was born in Chicago and raised in suburban Highland Park, Illinois. She graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1973, and from Harvard Medical School in 1979. Jill enjoys writing and performing music, and enjoys long walks with her Great Dane, Bandita. Dr. Stein lives in Lexington with her husband, Richard Rohrer, also a physician. She has two sons, Ben and Noah, who have graduated from college in the past few years.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Isn't the internet wonderful. Today thanks to the net and this video I really felt I met Ta'Kaiya Blaney, and what a great pleasure! 

I had been making Youtube videos about the Canadian tar sands, so I was feeling pretty mad at the world. 

Occasionally you question what's the use, why keep yelling that our house is on fire when no one smells the smoke or hears your little alarm bell. If people are so senseless, what's the sense in trying to appeal to reason?

Then along comes a ten year old little girl and you know how great humans really are and that it feels so good to keep yelling when no well informed adults choose to hear. She has a mission, to work for the closure of the tar sands. 

What I know as the 'world class' city of Vancouver Ta'Kaiya's people knew as Xwayxway. I have read that some time towards the end of the eighteenth century Captain Vancouver drew a map sectioning off his vision of the city Vancouver from his ship. The incredibly casual art of empire building I thought, and the eighteenth century is called by my history The Enlightenment. 

It was around this time that the industrial revolution was started in my home country of England. I was born in the industrial north of England in a region where everything was black. I can remember even the green grass of England was black with over a century of accumulated coal dust. It was the region of William Blake's 'dark Satanic mills' (the famous Brit anthem 'Jerusalem')  belching out the black pollution from the burning coal that powered the mills. 

Blake was truly prophetic on the potential great evil of fossil fuel industrial power, writing for example in his poem Jerusalem. 
"And all the Arts of Life they changed into the Arts of Death in Albion.

Today we are past peak oil and the fossil fuel industrial revolution should be coming to an end ushering the bright new age of safe clean green energy. But dark Satanic forces are forcing the world to keep burning more and more coal and the worst of all oil - tars sands oil from Alberta Canada.  

Carbon dioxide is belching out of millions of exhausts and smoke stacks accumulating in the atmosphere at a rate that has never happened on this planet before. Tar sands oil is planned to keep that rate increasing. 

My grand father like so many died of emphysema caused by a shorted lifetime of breathing coal ash.  I remember he was kind man who was always coughing and wheezing. 

Now the entire atmosphere of the living Earth is being polluted with carbon and it will choke the life out today's children and all other animal life if it's not stopped. Earth is going to die if the poisoning is not stopped. 

That dark Satanic Hell hole called the sands represents the worst of human enterprise and if we are to survive it must close down. People say it is making too money to close down. It is too big to stop. 

The truth is it is too big not close down and all that money must go to making clean energy. 

Ta'Kaiya comes from a tradition that has held fast to the knowledge that Earth is our living Mother and must be treated well. From this view of the world it just takes a look at the tar sands Hell holes and the lakes of poison to know that it terribly wrong - a horrid bad thing that must be stopped, for good.

This is enlightenment. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

U.S. Elections. Where is the Leadership on the Climate Crisis?

Posted on September 7, 2012 by  | 0 Comments | Edit
If Winston Churchill were around today, he would point out that we have now entered a ‘period of consequences’ (a term coined by Churchill in 1939 about the ominous signs of an imminent war). Only today, the war is against Climate Change.  The Climate Crisis is real.
The Climate Crisis is real - a warming world
A Warming World
With two months left, the candidates, the media, and the public, are focused on the wrong debate. The national debate is lagging far behind reality. The dialogue on climate change is almost non-existent. There are references to climate change and the environment in the recently released Democratic Party platform but it seems that the language is deliberately toned down to appeal to all voters.
Admittedly, a dialogue about the economy, immigration, education, health care, income tax, social inequalities and unemployment is necessary. But all of those problems pale in comparison to the Climate Crisis. As events start to unfold before our very eyes and as our scientific understanding of climate change improves and as emissions continue to rise in spite of our feeble efforts to control them, the predictions grow more dire.
Undisputedly, the climate crisis is the greatest threat ever faced by humanity. Yet, advisers to both Obama and Romney are clearly steering their respective candidate away from the climate crisis believing that the public is not ready for it or doesn’t want to hear it. But with this summer’s extreme heat wave, persistent drought, record Arctic ice melt, massive fires in Colorado, the public ‘gets it’. So, should candidates talk about climate change? The answer is a resounding yes.

Should Candidates Talk About Climate Change?

(Title of article by Andrew Revkin, Dot Earth (NYT)
Anthony Leiserowitz, the director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, reports on the results of a recent survey which asked this question:  On balance, will candidates for political office benefit or be harmed by talking about and supporting action to reduce global warming?
The short answer is that – at the national level and among ten key swing states – taking a pro-climate stand appears to benefit candidates more than hurt them with registered voters. Following are a few highlights:
  • A majority of all registered voters (55 percent) say they will consider candidates’ views on global warming when deciding how to vote.
  • Among these climate change issue voters, large majorities believe global warming is happening and support action by the U.S. to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs.
According to a recent report in Bloomberg Business Week, a poll taken in July by UT Energy  shows that 70 % of respondents now believe that climate change is real compared with 52 % in 2010.  Climate change deniers who say it’s not taking place fell to 15 % from 22 %.
In a recent editorial, The Washington Post reports that:
 “there’s also a sense of disappointment in the candidates — a sense that they are smaller, and their campaigns are smaller, than the issues and challenges facing the country………..and the country needs a serious campaign; it is facing life-or-death questions”
Kelly Rigg, in her HuffPost article,  “Invoking FDR: Where is the Leadership on Climate Change? says that “If ever we needed an “FDR moment,” now would be it”.  This is a reference of course  to the extraordinary leadership shown by President Roosevelt after the bombing of Pearl Harbour – a decisive moment in American history. Rigg elaborates:
Business as usual, even a positive variant in which we accelerate action, won’t keep us below 2° let alone the 1.5° limit that more than 100 countries are calling for. We need to start moving at warp speed. Sadly, neither of the U.S. presidential candidates is even talking about climate change, let alone proposing the kind of action that will protect our children from dangerous climate change. I don’t know which is more depressing — candidates who don’t consider this a top priority, or an electorate which doesn’t demand it of them.
We have confronted the threats of drugs and terrorism by declaring war on them. With my sincerest apologies to those who abhor the language and metaphors of war, I believe it’s time we declare one on climate change, and empower our leaders to get the job done. We can all play a part, through lifestyle choices, participation in activist campaigns, spreading the word through our communities, and ultimately letting our elected representatives know that we will vote like we mean it. It’s time to insist that our leaders lead.
I agree with Rigg that there is no greater threat to civilization than climate change and its impacts. We keep blowing by one decisive moment after another with the latest having been the Rio+20 conference - The Great Abdication – Rio+20.

Appeal to President Obama

President Obama
President Obama
President Obama, there is no time to waste on fighting climate change. In your inspirational 2008 campaign for the Presidency, you provided hope to Americans and the world for a cleaner and brighter future. You even wrote about The Audacity of Hope. But the clock is still ticking and the climate crisis is looming larger than ever with more evidence and more urgency to act. We are still waiting for you to take action. There has never been a more noble opportunity for a presidential candidate to contrast himself from his opponent and elevate himself above the smallness of common politics.
American Presidents have waged war on terrorism, communism, poverty, drugs, cancer, slavery, not to mention the two world wars, Afghanistan, Iraq, Korea, Viet Nam. America is a warring nation. But for the most important war of all time – the war against climate change – there is a deathly silence.
Brian Moench (Climate Crisis: The Silence is Deafening) implores President Obama to take action: “you have the opportunity to be either the most important leader in the history of the world, or ultimately held in greater contempt than George W. Bush. Which will it be?”
You know that leadership is not about electability and telling the electorate what it wants to hear to gain popularity. Leadership is about doing what needs to be done in the face of overwhelming challenges. It is about taking the long view with courage, assuredness, ardour, passion and equanimity.
President Obama, that is your opportunity.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

'Common Sense Revolution' needed to Tackle Climate Change

I have the pleasure of welcoming Rolly Montpellier (BoomerWarrior) as a Blogger to Uprage. He and I have agreed to cross-post articles on each other’s blog to supplement our coverage of issues of relevance to our times. Rolly’s blog is BoomerWarrior. He can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Countercurrents and Care2.
Common Sense Revolution
Rolly Montpellier

Common Sense by Thomas Payne
Common Sense
Common Sense is a pamphlet written by Thomas Paine. It was first published anonymously on January 10, 1776, at the beginning of the American Revolution.
The phrase "Common Sense Revolution" has been used as a political slogan to  to describe 'common sense conservative' platforms in Australia and the state of New Jersey in the 1990s. However, it is most widely known as the name of the political movement which caught fire under the leadership of Mike Harris, the Progressive Conservative premier of Ontario from 1995 to 2002.
It was a time for people to be introspective and take a sober look at the politics of the day, government waste, the role of government, taxation, social services and public debt. There was a sense of urgency about setting the clock back to a more rational approach, about doing things right and doing the right things. Change was in the air! Change was needed!