It's almost impossible to read the newspapers
or watch TV news without seeing another story
on climate change. There are documentaries,
public service announcements, scientific reports
and conferences that now demand our attention.
But don't mistake awareness with real change.
As of this year, China has become the largest
emitter of greenhouse gases... yet an American
citizen uses 4 times more energy per person.
The attached graph from the UNDP Human Development
Report reveals that the citizens of the U.S.,
Canada, Australia and the United Arab Emirates
are the world's heaviest fossil fuel polluters
-- a function of our high living standards supported
by coal, oil and gas.
The recent UNDP/UNEP
Report paints an alarming picture. "There
is now overwhelming scientific evidence that
the world is moving towards the point at which
irreversible ecological catastrophe becomes
unavoidable.". . . "There is
a window of opportunity for avoiding the most
damaging climate change impacts, but that window
is closing: the world has less than a decade
to change course."
That course change is clear to us. Stop
building new coal-fired power plants unless
the CO2 can be sequestered. Instead,
identify all the renewable energy resources
in the region that can provide the same capacity,
and meet the reliability and security
requirements of the utility. Eight nations
already get over 50% of their electricity from
renewable energy resources. We have the financial
and technical resources. What's missing is
the sense of urgency and political will of our
You can look at this issue through a security
lens. A United
Kingdom think tank admonishes all of us
that our response to this issue has been "slow
and inadequate" and that climate change
will become a "primary driver of conflict
between states." We have been warned
many times. We're taught in school that its
better to be safe than sorry." So what
can you do? Get off of carbon.
Buy green electricity and a hybrid car.
Invest in clean tech and green energy companies.
Write to your employer and political leaders
and ask them to do the same!