Many of my blog posts have an optimistic tone. I strive to share good news about people doing things to make the world a better place, such as the recent post about a bee swarm and a beekeeper who came to its rescue.
But now to a reality that should strike fear into any responsible person’s heart. The presumptive Republican candidate for president, in a late May speech to oil producers in North Dakota, said he would “cancel” the Paris climate agreement and withdraw any funding for United Nations programs related to global warming. He also pledged to reopen coal mines and to try to reopen negotiations to build the Keystone XL pipeline. You can read his entire energy policy plan here.
Presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has vowed to “deliver on the pledge President Obama made at the Paris climate conference last December… Her plan will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 30 percent in 2025 relative to 2005 levels and put the country on a path to cut emissions more than 80 percent by 2050.” In November 2015 Hillary Clinton said: “I won’t let anyone take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.”
For the first time in its history the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council) has endorsed a candidate for president. That candidate is Hillary Clinton. The advocacy group declared: “She has the deep knowledge and diplomatic skills to fight for our kids’ future, preserve America’s leadership role in the Paris Climate Agreement and build upon that global framework to fight climate change. We will work with her to honor and implement that historic accord to preserve our planet for future generations.”
Why is this so important? In a talk entitled “A Future Free from Fear: Why We must Act on Climate Change Today,” delivered at Yale in May, Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCC (Un Framework Convention on Climate Change) stated that we have just FIVE YEARS to make important progress to reducing the amount of CO2 in our air.
Figueres praised the Paris Climate Agreements for setting up the possibility of a new reality, but emphasized in her message the we need to make this reality happen NOW. She was careful to point out that with challenges come great economic opportunities. Yes, we can change the world and garner economic benefits. We must face the challenge head on. This is our moon shot!
One only has to watch or read the news to see that destabilization of our world has begun. Parents and grandparents in particular must realize the burdens which we are going to pass on to the next generation. That is the price of inaction.
It is clear that just one of these candidates has the vision to help us as a nation achieve a clean energy future. An obvious first step is to vote for that candidate in November and to work in the coming months to persuade everyone you know that they should do the same.