The recent U.S. political campaign held many surprises including super storm “Sandy.” Ironically, even on the heels of recent storms, Irene and Sandy, many politicians continue to question what the best scientists in world are saying, global warming is real.
Recently, the best environmental scientists in the world met in Durban, South Africa and they concluded that the world has given up on the U.S. assuming a role as a world leader in reducing global warming. Peter Raven a long trusted adviser to U.S. presidents and Congressmen stated forty years earlier that global warming was a “hoax.” Now forty years later he recently stated that, “Global warming is the biggest challenge that humans have ever faced.”
There is virtually unanimous consensus among the world’s scientists who say that humans are the major reason that the worlds average temperature is rising. This same observation was made by a noted Swedish scientist in 1895 stating that “adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere will make it warmer.”
Currently, 98 percent of climate scientists support that global warming is manmade. Several scientists have suggested that the solution to global warming may be held hostage by the fossil fuel industry. Further, at least one scientist referenced how the U.S. railroad interests in congress held up the development of a unified highway system. Railroads were once extremely powerful and although the automobile reigned supreme in America, the roads were often substandard, in the end railroads did lose their supremacy and the highway system was built and railroads suffered mightily as a result. Now, with much to lose and nothing to be gained, the fossil fuel industry may be the driving political and financial force behind keeping global warming out of the spotlight and keeping the veracity of the science around global warming t in question.
The impact of the railroads holding up a highway system may have allowed railroads a little more time to profit from their operations; however, the effects of not making global warming a political and financial focus may prove to be a grave mistake f or human beings in general. Just about every young person that I have spoken with understands global warming and takes it as fact unlike the parent aged adults around them.
To some extent, this issue has been defined and delineated around political lines. As scientists now gather again at the United Nations, some scientists are saying that they fear it may be too late to change the climate forces that have been set in motion. I hope that in the long run that they are wrong. Perhaps it will take the young people that are waiting in the wings to make the necessary political changes to counteract global warming.
The big decisions are now being made my people that obviously are not thinking about the generations to come. The profit motive is a powerful factor and can cause humans to make decisions that have serious and long reaching impacts. For some time, the world has been looking to the U.S. for leadership on this important issue and it appears that this leadership will not come from the U.S. Even if the U.S. were to see global warming as our biggest challenge and then began to make dramatic changes in fossil fuel usage, China would still be the biggest potential polluter on the planet.
I recently read that China is putting several thousand new cars on the road every day and Beijing once known as the bicycle city is becoming clogged with cars. China’s industrial base is primarily fueled by coal and the pollution caused by these many plants is enormous. The Chinese, when challenged have stated that” The U.S. did not observe did not observe any environmental rules during its industrial ascendancy and it would be unfair to expect China to observe such rules.”
While the Chinese position is not surprising given the political landscape of the country, the U.S. position on global warming is troubling. It seems to me that simple common sense would dictate that something very dramatic has changed in our environment.
As I write, it is December and the temperature is in the fifties and by Wednesday in the sixties. These temperatures certainly are a departure from the frigid days of my childhood. Going forward, addressing climate issues must become our focus and future generations are depending on us doing the right thing. The silver lining in all of this is that many new careers and many new jobs will be found in this new direction as well.
Remember, all kids count.
Reach the writer at wildblue.net