Steven Chu, the nation's Nobel laureate secretary of energy for the past four years, announced Friday that he will be leaving his post. His
was, as Joe Romm at Climate Progress described it, "remarkable" and his words on global warming "striking."
Remarkable and striking because the reality of those words should have been on the agenda of every president since James Hansen first told Congress where we were headed a quarter century ago. Remarkable and striking because they haven't
been on those agendas. Last year at this time, all the major presidential candidates, including one we just re-elected, had nothing at all to say about global warming. Sen. Jim "Global warming is a hoax" Inhofe might as well have been in charge of the national narrative on the subject.
If only Chu had been free to express his views on climate change every day since January 2009 the way he does in his goodbye letter. Such words need to be spoken every day. Because, obviously, an awfully large number of people in positions of power either do not believe them or believe them but don't act because of greed, stubbornness or cowardice. Too much of business, government, media and new media keep pretending that, at worst, global warming is just another issue and the activists and other advocates for doing something about it will just have to wait their turn.
That kind of thinking and acting comes under the category of reckless endangerment.
I've purloined Romm's relevant excerpts from Chu's letter, but I urge you to read all of it.
|• The average temperature of our planet is rising, with the majority of the temperature increase occurring in the last thirty years. During the three decades from 1980 to 2011, the number of violent storms, floods, droughts, heat waves, wildfires, as tabulated by the reinsurance company Munich Re, has increased more than three-fold. They also estimate that the financial losses follow a trend line that has gone from $40 billion to $170 billion dollars per year. Most of those losses were not insured, and the country suffering the largest losses by far is the United States. As the President said in his recent Inaugural Address, “some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.”
• The overwhelming scientific consensus is that human activity has had a significant and likely dominant role in climate change. There is also increasingly compelling evidence that the weather changes we have witnessed during this thirty year time period are due to climate change.
• Virtually all of the other OECD countries, and most developing countries including China, India, Mexico, and Brazil have accepted the judgment of climate scientists.
• … China now exceeds the U.S. in internal deployment of clean energy and in government investments to further develop the technologies.
• … the risks we run if we don’t change our course are enormous. Prudent risk management does not equate uncertainty with inaction….
• The cost of renewable energy is rapidly becoming competitive with other sources of energy, and the Department has played a significant role in accelerating the transition to affordable, accessible and sustainable energy.
• Ultimately we have a moral responsibility to the most innocent victims of adverse climate change. Those who will suffer the most are the people who are the most innocent: the world’s poorest citizens and those yet to be born. There is an ancient Native American saying: “We do not inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” A few short decades later, we don’t want our children to ask, “What were our parents thinking? Didn’t they care about us?”
Tracing the provenance
of that supposedly "ancient Native American" saying won't get you near any verifiable individual or tribe. But that doesn't make its meaning untrue. We have already waited a few decades. We can't afford to waste another minute.
Delay is denial.
(Chu's letter is also being discussed in this diary.)
Blast from the Past. At Daily Kos on this date in 2011—O'Keefe copycat who targeted Planned Parenthood faceplants out of the gate:
|So another weirdo wingnut James O'Keefe wannabe has released a hoax video targeting "the left." This one was created by an anti-choice activist named Lila Rose and it targets Planned Parenthood. Rose, who collaborated with O'Keefe in the past, aimed to produce a carbon copy of his ACORN/pimp hoax videos, this time substituting ACORN with Planned Parenthood and O'Keefe's pimp outfit with actors and actresses claiming to be part of an underage prostitution ring.
Rose is just now releasing the videos in which she claims that Planned Parenthood conspired to cover up the prostitution ring. She only leaves out one detail: Planned Parenthood officials, who instantly realized they were probably being punked, nonetheless went to federal authorities on the off-chance that Rose's actors weren't part of another O'Keefe style hoax.
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