You've got to hand it to whoever thought up the idea of announcing on Halloween that our global population surpassed seven billion -- the irony is sooooo rich! As we follow our costumed children house to house in an atmosphere full of haunted spirits, goblins, and demons, our government creates the real demons out there that will haunt our children's future -- policies that encourage too many people and too much consumption, growing a future apocalypse for our children.
Part of that growing apocalypse, of course, is the climate change we are fueling and failing to address adequately, as detailed in our free online book with updates at the Climate Change Reports Blog. It's not enough that Eurasia, Earth's largest continent, suffered record-breaking gigantic heat waves in 2010 and 2011 that sparked huge wildfires. Or that giant storms during that time, be they hurricanes, blizzards, monsoons or typhoons, caused record flooding and damage everywhere. (Go ahead, pick any populated continent...)
And what are we doing about decreasing global warming emissions? 2010 saw a record-breaking one-year increase of six percent in the main global warming gas, carbon dioxide, according to recent data from the U.S. Department of Energy. "The striking thing is that emissions are now rising faster than the worst-case scenarios envisioned by the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] in its 2007 report," writes Brad Plumer at the Washington Post. We're running out of time, as a new study indicates. Even former oil CEO Ian Dunlop notes that urgent action is needed. Nonetheless, governments fiddle as climate change accelerates and Earth burns.
It is true that most of the new increase in emissions is from China. But China wails that they're just a developing country, and that developed nations are responsible for the current buildup. Their reasoning makes about as little sense as that of our own government. Here in the U.S., Congressional Republicans, encouraged by their fossil fuel lobbyists, have derailed any significant clean energy and climate policy from developing over the past few years, despite the increasing economic toll accruing from record-breaking climate change. If the U.S., as a purported world leader, takes that position, however, how can we expect other major emitters to do better? Especially since China already invests way more than the U.S. in developing clean renewable energy. Indeed, another irony is that the solutions to climate change are accessible, as the Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman points out, but we lack the political will to use them adequately.
This past Sunday, thousands from the Sierra Club, 350.org, and other environmental allies surrounded the White House to tell President Obama to just say no to the Keystone XL Pipeline, a Canadian venture to move global warming tar sands oil across the U.S. to our gulf coast refineries. Well and good. But isn't it time for #Occupy to go after Congress? Congressional Republicans as well as some Democrats are responsible for not taking action on solving climate change. Isn't it time that #Occupy hone their sights on the Congressional Capitol and offices of all those shortsighted Congresspeople? The future of many, including current Occupiers, could use a few thousand Occupiers right now to bring home to Congress this message: jobs, the economy, a liveable climate -- it's all over if Congress doesn't act soon to pass responsible legislation to quickly decrease emissions, and to pressure other major emitters, through their example, to do the same.
And if Congress doesn't? The #Occupy movement should be honing their sights on events that will energize the voting public to vote in Congresspeople in 2012 who will make a difference. "Men argue, nature acts," Voltaire said in 1764, words that are too apt today. It's time to vote in those who will stop arguing, and start acting to effectively address global warming.