We have a problem and it's not just the predicted ordinary partisan skirmishes. Our entire species is jumping off the climate change cliff and we need a major intervention to stop the carnage.
At a recent press conference Mark Landler of The New York Times asked President Obama to explain his stance on climate change in light of the recent Mayor Bloomberg endorsement expressing confidence in the Presidents acceptance and knowledge of the problem.
Among the Presidents remarks:
So what I’m going to be doing over the next several weeks, next several months, is having a conversation, a wide-ranging conversation with scientists, engineers and elected officials to find out what can — what more can we do to make short-term progress in reducing carbons, and then working through an education process that I think is necessary, a discussion, the conversation across the country about, you know, what realistically can we do long term to make sure that this is not something we’re passing on to future generations that’s going to be very expensive and very painful to deal with.my emphasis
Our situation regarding the warming of our planet due to anthropogenic climate change is now in a crisis mode. The severe effects of the warming has been accelerating at a stunning speed and we are unprepared for the consequences. There are some short term measures that the Obama administration must take now, without congress, that can be most effective in reducing the worst effects of climate change.
In fact, actions must be taken now on short term measures because as we now know most actions to mitigate climate change such as energy efficiency are concentrated primarily on reducing C02 which remains in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. So we need a short term solution to reduce short lived climate pollutants to buy us the time necessary to reduce the long living C02.
Please follow below the fold for actions the administration can take now to avoid the worst effects of climate change
Actions that the Obama Administration must take right now to avert the worst of the climate crisis and how you can help. The three most prevalent short lived climate pollutants in the atmosphere include: Ground level ozone, Black Carbon(soot) and Methane.
Ozone Pollution: Let the EPA do it's job! In January 2010, the EPA rolled out tough new standards for ground-level ozone pollution, which creates smog. But then the proposed rules just sat there, until September 2011, when President Obama personally stepped in to quash the ozone rule as part of his effort to reduce "regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty," directing the EPA to hold off on updating the standard until 2013. Do it now!
Soot: The EPA is under a court-issued deadline to issue a final rule on fine particle pollution, better known as soot, by December 14. The agency issued draft rules in June after a group of states and environmental and public health organizations filed a lawsuit against it. (The rules were due in 2011, but the EPA had argued that it needed more time.) The proposed rule would reduce the acceptable level of fine particle pollution by about 17 percent, forcing power plants, trucks, and factories to clean up their act in counties that are not meeting the standard. Do it now!
Greenhouse Gas Emissions: The administration must let the EPA loose to do it's job. Last March, the Environmental Protection Agency announced new limits on greenhouse gas pollution from power plants. The new standards would make it very unlikely that any new conventional coal-fired plants would be built in the United States. The comment period on the new rule closed in June, but the EPA has yet to finalize the rule. Finish the job. Finalize the rule!
Methane: Here's where you come in. The greatest source of Methane is livestock production so there is a simple way for you to reduce the worse effects of climate change and that is to eliminate/drastically reduce eating meat and animal products. Of course, we also need to reduce the subsidies given to industrial farmers to overproduce corn and soy which is used as cheap feed for animals. But, that involves congress so have to work around the ineffectual dunces. Rather than wait to have congress impose barriers to the production of cheap animal feed we can just impose our power on the markets by drastically reducing our own consumption of meat and animal production which can curtail production.
The administration could restrict livestock production and that may happen as the effects of climate change are accelerated. But, I don't see that happening right now although there is a successful historical precedent for this type of effort as The Meatless Monday movement was initiated in World War I by the US Food Administration to urge families to reduce consumption of key staples to aid the war effort. The Meatless Monday campaign returned in World War II and beyond, when Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman used rationing to help feed war-ravaged Europe. Climate Change is no less a crisis
The Clean Air and Climate Initiative: This is most important. This group initiated by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was created to reduce the short lived climate pollutants worldwide. Some of Secretary Clinton's remarks at the initial meeting:
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition will spread practical ideas and practices regarding so-called short-lived pollutants, which remain in the atmosphere only for a short time – pollutants such as methane, black carbon or soot, hydrofluorocarbons. In the past few years, we've learned that this group contributes much more to climate change than we previously realized. More than one-third of current global warming is caused by short-lived pollutants. [...]The Obama administration needs to have a Secretary of State who will advance this initiative in the wake of Secretary Clinton's departure. There is also some congressional support for strengthening this initiative which would help immensely.
The UN Environment Program has determined that reducing these pollutants can slow global warming by up to a half degree Celsius by 2050. To put that into context, the world's goal is to limit the rise in global temperature to two degrees. So a half a degree, or 25 percent, is significant.
Time is running out. We must take some short term solutions to prevent the worst effects of climate change. These are simple solutions and we can all participate. Let's get moving.