Baxter Pharr: More action needed on climate change
Last month’s climate conference in Copenhagen left us some things to praise and some things to condemn. On the one hand, many nations were willing to commit to specific reductions in greenhouse gases (for example, President Obama pledged to reduce emissions by 80 percent by 2050). On the other hand, few nations were willing to submit to having their greenhouse gas emissions monitored. This is analogous to an alcoholic who, after killing a family of four, tells the judge that he will sober up but refuses to submit to any breathalyzer tests.
To top it off, after two hard weeks of negotiations and concessions, Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma had the nerve to fly over there and state: “John Kerry was here yesterday and said that we will pass something … that is binding and is cap and trade. That is not going to happen. I know John Kerry wants it to happen, but it is not going to happen.” It seems that Neil Young was commenting on this behavior when he sang: “Mother Earth has many enemies. There’s much work to be done.”
Despite all the rhetoric from those who still believe the climate crisis is some kind of hoax, I have reason to be optimistic. History shows that truth and righteousness eventually prevail over lies and special interests. The Dalai Lama reminds us that we should be thankful for our enemies (those who intentionally try to hurt us) because they help us develop patience instead of anger.
For those who are still getting their science from Rush Limbaugh on talk radio, here are two startling climate facts from 2009. According to the journal Science, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere (approximately 390 parts per million) is higher than at any time in measurable history – the last 2.1 million years. Secondly, according the World Meteorological Organization, the decade from 2000 to 2009 was the warmest on record with eight of the 10 warmest years occurring since 2000.
The first step for a recovering alcoholic is to admit that he is an alcoholic. As long as he remains in denial, he will do nothing to heal himself. As long as we continue to deny that we have a climate crisis, we won’t take action. The days of deluding ourselves are over. Now is the time for action. Write your senators and tell them to pass the climate bill before Earth Day 2010.
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