Archive for September, 2012

Candidate Mitt Romney said, ” President Obama promised to begin to slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet.  My promise is to help you and your family.”  What exactly was he trying to tell us when he concluded his acceptance speech with these words?

My first thought was that he was letting us down.  His own capacity and fortitude in the face of challenges doesn’t seem to match that of the American public.  It sounded like he was saying that climate change is too overwhelming for him and so he’s going to stick to the issues he can comprehend; namely, the fossil-fuel-based society he and the rest of us grew up in.  If I understood him correctly I was greatly disappointed.  I hope he clarifies his position soon.

Foremost climate scientist, Richard Hansen, just released a report demonstrating the virtual impossibility that the extreme weather events of recent decades could be caused by natural variability.  He has tracked the predictions he made in the 1980s concerning future weather events with observations made during the past few decades.  Those predictions have become facts for all of us to observe: the European heat wave of 2003, the Russian heat wave of 2010, the droughts in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and the agricultureal disaster across the US in 2012, when 60% of the country experienced drought.

Richard Muller, a scientist long in denial that human activity is affecting climate, recently announced a change of mind.  Refusing to rely on existing research, he did his own work going back 260 years and found that temperature rises always accompany increases in CO2.  His report is interesting because he addresses and refutes all the “legitimate” objections to climate change theory.

I suppose Mr. Romney could “help you and your family” by providing government financial support for the farm families who saw their corn fields dry up this summer or he might put a cap on food prices when this years shortages drive up food prices in the future.  He could have the Corps of Engineers build a sea wall around Norfolk, Virginia, where rising sea levels have flooded streets and home basements consistently for the past six years.

Dealing with climate change is going to take committment, imagination and perhaps sacrifice.  The immensity of the problem requires that all of us, working through government, prepare for the consequences and act with the greatest urgency to slow and stop GHG emissions.

Mr. Romney leaves me questioning whether he can provide the leadership for what may be the most problematic environmental challenge the nation and world has ever faced.

Sam Kendall


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