Another world conference was held in December 2015 to discuss possible actions to take regarding climate change. The good thing was President Obama attended and admitted that this is a life-threatening issue for all of us on the planet. Climate change has occurred in history at a rate where organisms could adapt, but the current rate of change is much faster than ever before. The Earth will survive regardless of what people do about it, but humans probably will not unless enough technology can drastically stop production of carbon dioxide and methane gases.
A post is circulating on Facebook that the energy crisis is solved. It says that scientists have found a way of using simple sand to create energy. That would be huge news of the one simple solution for which so many are hoping. One such solution is unlikely since the source of the problem ranges from burning forests in developing countries like Indonesia to vehicle power plant carbon emissions in the developed countries.
Sherwood Rowland said in reference to ozone depletion, “What’s the use of having developed a science well enough to make predictions if, in the end, all we’re willing to do is stand around and wait for them to come true?” It seems for decades that is what people have been doing about climate change. At least most U.S. leaders have moved away from calling it a hoax.
In 1997 the Senate passed the nonbinding resolution that the U.S. would not enter greenhouse gas reduction treaties without the participation of countries like China and India. A Senate vote to reduce greenhouse gases was taken in 2003 on the McCain-Lieberman Climate Stewardship Act knowing its becoming law was unlikely. With the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005, many questioned the link to rising sea-surface temperatures. With the 2007 Bali climate negotiations, the Papua New Guinea delegation asked the U.S. delegation to join in a text toward a 2009 climate treaty or to get out of the way.
It takes years for Congress to pass major legislation. More recent bills have been directed toward 50 to 80 percent reductions by 2050 in carbon dioxide emissions. While countries in the European Union have been leaders in laws relative to climate change and some countries are already at 100 percent renewable energy sources, only at regional and state levels has most of the progress been made in the United States.
Planet-wide demonstrations occurred before the Paris Climate Conference COP21. Elizabeth Kolbert, who authored the book Field Notes from a Catastrophe, wrote in the December 2015 New Yorker the article “The Siege of Miami: What climate change means for Florida,” but Florida Senator Marco Rubio who grew up in West Miami still seems to need persuading that Miami is already experiencing sea level rise problems. He stated on Face the Nation in spring 2015, “humans are not responsible for climate change in the way some of these people out there are trying to make us believe, for the following reason: I believe that climate is changing because there’s never been a moment where the climate is not changing.” Florida’s Governor Rick Scott told state employees not to mention climate
change and to call sea-level rise “nuisance flooding.”
The new five year solar tax incentives could be an aid for Florida if Florida Power and Light does not fight them. However, some people like U.S. veteran Tyler Truitt in Huntsville, Alabama have been evicted from their homes for not being connected to the grid. Other states like New York could benefit from the wind tax incentives.
Those who want to make a difference should contact their senators and representatives encouraging their state to take advantage of solar and wind tax incentives from the trillion dollar plus Federal budget. Ask how climate change will affect your region and what action is being taken. To learn who they are or how to reach them, see the OpenCongress website. These people are supposed to represent the American public who should make its wishes known. Vote them out of office if they listen instead to the lobbyists for the utility companies or corporations.
Support green-building codes. Buy locally made products, those made from recycled materials, and energy-efficient products. Support efforts to plant trees and protect habitats. Encourage schools, businesses, and communities to be energy-efficient and use solar, wind, and geothermal power. Websites that can help people get involved are We Campaign, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Climate Central, 350, Rocky Mountain Institute, and 1 Sky.