Bush’s Last Climate Obstruction Hurrah Must Not Stop Obama

Endangered polar bears need protection from climate changeIt is reported President Bush is closing off some of President-Elect Obama's immediate climate policy alternatives [ark] with last minute “midnight” environmental regulations. These include barring the Environmental Protection Agency from considering the effects of climate change on protected species [search], and forbidding the EPA to regulate carbon dioxide under the Clean Air Act [search]. These are avenues Obama could have used immediately to begin regulating carbon dioxide (and still can but will take longer to undo Bush's mess). Some had hoped President Obama would make a dramatic gesture and begin regulating carbon under these existing avenues immediately upon taking office, others would argue it is better to work for more comprehensive national legislation and lead international cooperative measures to achieve binding yet differentiated carbon targets upon all nations.
I would argue for all at the same time and more, as leading NASA climate scientist James Hansen does [ark]. President Obama should begin by banning further coal plants and regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant under the Clean Air Act as soon as possible. He should also begin national measures to establish a dedicated carbon tax, proceeds to be used for renewable energy development and to lower other taxes. Further, if any more time is to be wasted on establishing cap and trade systems, he must unveil an ambitious goal to reduce carbon emissions quickly — perhaps 40% by 2020. Or else he is better off moving on to ending the use of coal and other actions commiserate with the threat. And finally, the world is calling out for international leadership to break the log jam of national interests impeding global enforceable cuts upon greenhouse gas emissions. Let's hope that Obama lives up to his rhetoric and leads on climate at this crucial juncture. Nothing less than the survival of the world, humanity and all Earth's creatures is at stake.

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3 Responses

  1. okay-dokey says:

    Lets just hope that Obama does make positive changes & introduces meaningful effective green initiatives. Really is anyone surprised that Bush's swan song is one final endorsement to his cronies?

  2. More on woefully inadequate leadership in this first decade of Century XXI……
    Perhaps many too many leaders of the family of humanity today live arrogantly and greedily in our planetary home. They appear to take pride in their unsustainable behavior. Certainly, we will “have our cake and eat it too,” they say. They own fleets of cars, fly around in thousands of private jets, live in McMansions, exchange secret handshakes, frequent exclusive clubs and distant hideouts, and risk nothing of value. They will live long, large and free, so they say. Please do not bother them with the problems of the world. They choose not to hear, see or speak of them. They hold much of the world's wealth as well as the extraordinary political/military power great wealth purchases. If left to their own devices, they will continue to self-righteously exercise their 'inalienable rights' to conspicuously consume whatever they desire; to recklessly dissipate Earth's resources and expand economic globalization unto every corner of our natural world and, guess what, beyond; to carelessly consent to the unbridled global growth of human numbers so that where there are now 6.7 billion people, by 2050 we will have 9+ billion members of the human family and, guess what, even more people, perhaps billions more beyond 2050, if that is what they wish. They are the self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe. They enjoy freedom and living without regard to human limits and Earth's limitations. They adamantly eschew any talk of the personal responsibilities that come with the exercise of personal freedoms or any discussion of the existence of biophysical boundaries. They deny good science or consider it junk. Climate change is a hoax to them.
    Many too many of our leaders and all of the self-proclaimed Masters of the Universe among us choose to deny the existence of “limits to growth”, even though abundant scientific evidence of the existence of such boundaries is available. Please understand that these 'Masters' do not want anyone presenting them with scientific evidence that they could be living unsustainably in an artificially designed, temporary world….a manmade world filling up with gigantic enterprises, virtual mountains of material possessions, ill-gotten gains, phony profits and filthy lucre.
    Scientists appear not to have found adequate ways of communicating to the family of humanity what people somehow need to hear, see and understand: the rapacious dissipation of Earth's limited resources, the relentless degradation of the planet's frangible environment, and the increasing risk of destroying Earth as a fit place for human habitation in our time, when taken together, appear to be proceeding at breakneck speed now, moving toward the precipitation of a catastrophic ecological wreckage of some sort…. unless, as a matter of course, the world's colossal, artificially designed, soon to become patently unsustainable global economy continues to speed headlong toward the monolithic 'wall' called “unsustainability” at which point the unbridled expansion of the runaway global economy crashes before Earth's ecology is collapsed.
    Who knows, perhaps we can still realistically and hopefully hold onto the expectation that behavioral changes by many members of the human community will encourage others, even the Masters of the Universe, to go forward from this time and place toward the achievement of new goals: restricted and “right-sized” rather than unbridled and ever larger-scale production, restrained rather than outrageous per human over-consumption and the regulation of human population growth….. changes that save both the human economy and God's Creation for our children and coming generations.
    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001

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