Hillary Clinton is Prepared to Tackle Climate Change

All politicians need to address global warming and climate change. This issue affects everyone on the planet and to ignore what the world’s top climate scientists are saying about it is nothing short of irresponsible.

I’ve never felt that the science of climate change is a partisan subject, but I appreciate that the solutions may have partisan differences. Too often the suggested solutions are not comfortable with folks on the right side of the political spectrum and studies have shown that that fact helps explain in part why they reject the science. But no matter which political party you support, you should be able to ask your candidate how they plan to tackle the issue.

Hillary Clinton certainly shares this attitude, as she’s made it abundantly clear what she plans to do about it if she is elected President. If you don’t think you should vote for her, so be it. But make sure your preferred candidate has a plan as well. (Hint: the plan can’t be “I’m not a scientist so I’m not planning on doing anything.” That doesn’t hold water anymore.)

A Few More Environmental Quotes to Get You Thinking

This week is one of a few I’m going to be enjoying at my cottage in the Muskokas this summer, enjoying Mother Nature and all she has to offer. Not only does it offer me a little rest and recreation—recharging my batteries in the meantime—but it also brings me closer to my planet and reminds me why I fight this fight.

Because I have limited internet access, I thought I’d use this opportunity to share some of the most important quotations I’ve come across along with some new ones. They help remind us all why we should be fighting this fight. I’ll be back next week with the latest news and research about global warming and climate change.

The most alarming of all man’s assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world—the very nature of its life.
—Rachel Carson (1907-1964), Silent Spring

We have forgotten how to be good guests, how to walk lightly on the earth as its other creatures do.
—Barbara Ward, Only One Earth, 1972

Never, no never, did nature say one thing and wisdom say another.
—Edmund Burke (1729-1797), Letters on a Regicide Peace, 1797

If all mankind were to disappear, the world would regenerate back to the rich state of equilibrium that existed ten thousand years ago. If insects were to vanish, the environment would collapse into chaos.
—Edward O. Wilson

We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.
—Margaret Mead

Some Great Environmental Quotes

This week is one of a few I’m going to be enjoying at my cottage in the Muskokas this summer, enjoying Mother Nature and all she has to offer. Not only does it offer me a little rest and recreation—recharging my batteries in the meantime—but it also brings me closer to my planet and reminds me why I fight this fight.

Because I have limited internet access, I thought I’d use this opportunity to share some of the most important quotations I’ve come across along with some new ones. They help remind us all why we should be fighting this fight. I’ll be back next week with the latest news and research about global warming and climate change.

Live simply that others may simply live.
—Mohandas K. Gandhi

This world is indeed a living being endowed with a soul and intelligence…a single visible living entity containing all other living entities, which by their nature are all related.
—Plato,Timaeus, 4th century BC

Only when the last tree has been cut down
Only when the last river has been poisoned
Only when the last fish has been caught
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.
—Native American Cree Tribe Prophecy

Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.
—Henry David Thoreau, 1861

We generate our own environment. We get exactly what we deserve. How can we resent a life we’ve created ourselves? Who’s to blame, who’s to credit but us? Who can change it, anytime we wish, but us?
—Richard Bach

There are no unsacred places;
there are only sacred places
and desecrated places.
—Wendell Berry

The Pope, the World's Mayors, and Climate Change

“The idea of infinite or unlimited growth, which proves so attractive to economists, financiers and experts in technology … is based on the lie that there is an infinite supply of the earth’s goods, and this leads to the planet being squeezed dry at every limit.”
Pope Francis

For two days, mayors from all over the world have been meeting at the Vatican to discuss the climate change among other things. The Vatican is trying to bring these people together with the hope that it will help bring the world’s political leaders closer to a binding agreement on climate change this coming December in Paris. Just how has climate change affected these cities? Their mayors know the truth:

Tehran, Iran – Water shortages due to climate change and over-exploitation of groundwater, and a century of development have threatened a city where its country’s precipitation levels are a third of the global average. Sadly, Tehran also has to contend with pollution from outdated factories and locally-mixed gasoline that falls below the usual standards. According to the World Health Organization, Tehran’s air has four times as much pollution as Los Angeles.

Vancouver, British Columbia – This beautiful west coast city in my own country is at great risk form sea level rise. A 2013 study in Nature Climate Change placed Vancouver as one of the top 20 cities on the planet at greatest threat from climate change. To mitigate this, Vancouver has banned construction on all areas that are below 3.6 feet above sea level.

São Paulo, Brazil –  Brazil’s richest and most populated city is facing the worst drought it has seen in a century, leading to water cutoffs and rationing. The city will need to build new reservoirs and draw from other river basins but that won’t be ready for a number of years. Sadly, despite efforts to reduce emissions in an effort to combat the problem, São Paulo’s emissions have increased as it tries to deal with this drought even though Brazil’s emissions have been dropping overall.

New Orleans, Louisiana –  This  city has had to deal with both Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Mayor Mitchell Landrieu described how his city’s poorest neighborhoods were most vulnerable to rising sea levels and storm surges. As hurricanes become stronger thanks to global warming, half if this city that lies below sea level will be that much more deadly. Mitigating efforts including levees, storm surge barriers, and dikes can help, but will they be enough?.

Stockholm, Sweden –  This city is an example of what is possible. It adopted its first climate plan back in 1998, and will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by more than 20 percent from 1990 to 2020. To date it has prevented more than 80,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions by switching to green cars and another 500,000 tons from switching to biofuels. Mayor Karin Wanngard pointed out that 75 percent of Stockholm’s public transportation uses renewable energy. The ultimate goal is to be fossil fuel-free in the next 25 years.

I think the world’s mayors have a lot of power to exert influence higher up through states and provinces and ultimately up to the federal governments around the world. That’s exactly the point behind David Suzuki’s Blue Dot campaign. I applaud Pope Francis for taking the initiative to bring these important individuals together in order to talk about this. How often do we say that the world’s leaders need to tackle this problem head on? Well, Pope Francis is a world leader.

Sea Level Rise: It's Worse Than We Thought

“This is substantially more persuasive than anything previously published about just how dangerous 2°C will be.”
—James Hansen

From bad to worse. New research suggests that even if we limit global warming to two degrees Celsius, it won’t stop a devastating rise in sea level. It all boils down—no pun intended—to a positive feedback loop. As freshwater from land-based sources of ice melt into our oceans, it accelerates melting even further because the freshwater is able to trap warmer sea water, melting more ice in the process. The data show this isn’t just conjecture: it’s already happening.

It will be interesting to see what the scientific community thinks of the study which has yet to be peer-reviewed. However, Michael Mann who is the director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University stated the following:

Hansen and colleagues make a plausible case that even 2°C planetary warming (something we commit to in just a few years given business as usual fossil fuel burning) could indeed be very bad. On that basis alone, the article serves as a sobering wake-up call to those who still dispute the threat posed by our ongoing burning of fossil fuels.

With the United Nations’ climate talks in Paris this coming December, Hansen is hoping that world leaders will appreciate the significance of even trying to reach a two degree Celsius cap. The paper puts it this way:

High emissions will make multi-meter sea level rise practically unavoidable and likely to occur this century. It is not difficult to imagine that conflicts arising from forced migrations and economic collapse might make the planet ungovernable, threatening the fabric of civilization.

What’s the solution if we hope to avert such disaster? We need to cut our emissions by three percent each and every year. Not everyone is optimistic that this year’s meeting in Paris will achieve two degrees Celsius let alone something more aggressive. But when push comes to shove and the evidence becomes irrefutable to even the greatest doubters among us, perhaps then we’ll achieve some real change.