Our climate crisis is now – by Deborah Levine

originally published in The Chattanooga Times Free Press 

Looking to the Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Scotland, Britains Queen Elizabeth was overheard referring to the global all-talk and no-action as irritating”. I grew up with British understatements so I knew that meant total disgust mixed with a few expletives. The Queen was irritated by folks who dont walk-the-talk and was probably left speechless by how many American leaders gloss over our growing climate crisis.
Can President Biden be a game-changer for the ongoing blah-blah-blah. A recent survey showed that 6 in 10 Republicans believe climate change isn’t a threat, despite record-setting heat waves, wildfires, tornadoes, and floods that bring down mountain sides, They’re living in a time warp of about 20 years ago when some climate scientists loudly rejected linking weather events to climate change. But now, we have more real-word data. And 99.9% of scientific papers since 2012 report that fossil fuels are responsible for the rise in global temperatures.

Some Republicans acknowledge our climate crisis, but dismiss its expense. They insist on a Follow the Money” approach, rather than Follow Staying Alive”. Remember, the GOP supported Trump’s anti-environment antics in favor of the fossil fuel wealthy. Transitioning to an economy with sustainable sources of energy hasn’t been their thing.

Affluent-by-fossil-fuel is a world-wide fiasco, including Democrat Senator Joe Manchin. Increasingly “irritated” by Manchin making 1/2 million dollars annually from his coal stock, Americans took to Twitter. “ Why don’t we just buy out Joe Manchin’s coal company and give him a solar panel company? Then he’d be all in for solar power.”

Out-bribing the oil industry could take awhile. Meanwhile, we’re dying. June’s Pacific Northwest heat wave meant 600 excess deaths in just one week. Florida tourists saw 1,000 dead manatees this year as heat choked off their food source. What’s happening to human food and water? Just look at our border to see the climate migration” of refugees whose agriculture burned down.

President Biden tried to assert leadership by declaring limits on methane gas, but no one’s holding their breath for our legislators to walk-the-talk.  If America can’t get it’s act together, will other nations respond to scientists’ save-the-planet plea?

Huge carbon-emitters like China, Saudi Arabia and Russia wouldn’t even attend  the earlier G-20 conference in person. Their absence spoke volumes and the conference’s results were likened to a drop in an overheating ocean. So far, the COP26 isn’t doing much better, with most promises taking decades to reach any worthwhile goal. Again with the blah-blah-blah.

So COP26 turned to billionaires like Tesla’s Jeff Bezos of the space tourism extravaganza. The UN World Food Program (WFP) tweeted Bezos asking for $6 million to prevent instability and climate migration as well as saving 42 million people from starvation. Surprisingly, Bezos tweeted back, although he demanded show-the-math proof and only offered $2 billion.   

Pope Francis asked world leaders to take radical decisions” and offer concrete hope to future generations”. Britain’s international solar grid proposal definitely qualifies and would complement the WFP efforts. Scientists estimate that solar power will become as cheap as fossil fuels in the next three years, making it easier to build solar power plants and storage facilities. Biden, legislators and Bezos need to think big like this and give the project their full support.

So tweet your legislators to protect our planet. Lobby the super rich. And while you’re at it, speak to local leaders. Let’s all come together and be known internationally as the most evolved nation ever, not the most clueless.


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