I wanted to share two comments I received recently. The first in response to my post of January 14 in which I suggested that the proposed $500 tax credit would be better spent insulating 20 million homes rather than the 2 million that Obama has proposed.
". . . insulating the two million homes, and two million homes only, for now, may not be enough considering the facts, but we need to start with some number, and take it from there. Being realistic in the current economy is the sparkle that will ignite it's engine."
How about being realistic about global warming? I know, it's hard to stay terrified for long stretches of time, so we tend to forget exactly how serious the threat is. This is a mistake.
The second, and more alarming of the two was in response to my January 15 post in which I expressed hope that President Obama turns out to be green enough to make some progress on the impending climate catastrophe.
"I just hope he doesn't try to force down our throat a bunch of economic nonsense like what Gore was trying to do . . . carbon credits, Kyoto Protocol, etc . . . green is good, but not if it completely cripples our economy or serves to unduly transfer justly earned wealth to those who did not earn it."
Has no one been paying attention? Have you read the 2007 report by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? The report stated that climate change is a serious, real and present danger, with a 90% certainty that global warming is caused by human activity. (The IPCC recently revised its conclusion to say that evidence of anthropomorphic climate change is unequivocal.) Ninety-eight percent of the world's scientists concur. Many of them think the results are grossly understated.
We should be scared. We should be very scared.
One of the predictions in that report was that global warming would cause the continued shrinking of polar ice sheets. Recent data indicates that the ice is shrinking 100 times faster than the report predicted.
Remember the 2003 heat wave that killed 35,000 people in Europe? Temperatures in July and August were consistently over 100 degrees F. This was considered, at the time, to be a once-in-a-hundred-year event. According to current climate models, by 2050 it will be a once-in-two-year event and that by 2070, 100 degrees will be considered an unusually cool summer day in Europe.
We do not have time to go slow. If we don't take radical measures to slash our frenzied consumption of fossil fuels - including setting a stiff price on CO2 emissions - the consequences could be disastrous and irreversible. Countries that have taxed carbon and invested in renewable energy on a large scale have not seen their economies crippled. On the contrary, their economies have been strengthened. (I'll provide details in a future posting.)
Inaction, or insufficiently bold action, is what will cripple our economy, cause widespread disruption of the food chain, and put at risk the planet's continued ability to sustain life as we know it.
Are we scared yet?