CAN WE SURVIVE A PERFECT CLIMATE STORM?

By Alison Rene’ Martin

August 2017

Trump voters wanted better jobs and to shake up D.C. But did they foresee that Trump’s policies would exacerbate an already developing perfect storm of climate devastation, dooming not only Democrats and environmentalists, but also them?

Since Al Gore came to Boise in 2007 with his Inconvenient Truth presentation, warning Idahoans of what horrific climate events could happen, they have. His 2017 documentary, “An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” highlights the current climate state after 10 years of not doing enough to combat climate change. To summarize, the Earth is rapidly becoming unlivable. Humans are causing it, and a recent report concludes that 2020 is a drop-dead date to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in our atmosphere, or it’s too late.

Trump says climate change is a hoax, and removed the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, our last, best hope for keeping the expected global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. If the Earth warms beyond that: climate catastrophe. Clearing the way for unfettered corporate greed, Trump has chosen agency heads intent on destroying the agencies they lead and the regulations enacted to protect our air and water. The Trump Administration is working quickly to allow corporations to drill, pollute, and destroy the Earth. Trump seeks to revive dirty coal, which was dying anyway. Add to the developing perfect climate storm the Koch Brothers, who fund climate denial to further line their own colossal pocketbooks. They back the Heartland Institute, which is the Idaho Republican Legislature’s go-to source for climate denial information in making state laws.

Trump is president, and we’re not. The Koch Brothers are billionaires, and we’re not. The Idaho Legislature is bent on denying climate change, and disregards the fallout for Idahoans. The Earth is dying, and we’re in line for extinction. What can we citizens do?

There are some actions we can take to help avert climate catastrophe, until we can solve the problem of billionaires and corporations controlling environmental policy and elect a more enlightened president and Idaho Legislature.

Here’s one: Change our diet. On August 8, Planetsave reported on a finding by Oregon State University and other researchers that if Americans substituted beans for beef, “the US could come close to meeting its 2020 greenhouse gas emission goals” pledged under the Paris Climate Agreement. That’s something we all could do from home, and be healthier for it.

Here’s another: Solarize. Everyone who can afford to should do it now. What are we waiting for, post-Apocalypse? There are currently tax incentives on the books up to about 1/3 of the outlay, and some loans available.

There is much more we can do. But we can’t dilly-dally. If we don’t solve climate change, all the other challenges we face, both as a country and as individuals trying to make a living and raise our families, will evaporate. There are no jobs on a dead planet. And no people or families either. Act on climate now.

WHAT WE CAN DO TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE

The effects of climate change have worsened. Sea levels are rising faster than anticipated, methane leaks and emissions are out of control (with little to no regulation of the emitters), the Earth is warming at a rate expected to exceed the 2 degrees Celsius that is the goal of COP21 to prevent catastrophe, and vicious storms, floods, and droughts are increasingly common. “Global Weirding” is a new term for the weirdness that is happening to the Earth due to climate change.

We need to take action, and fast. We at DWWC believe these are the most important steps individuals can take:

1) Cut down on (or cut out) animal products in our diets, particularly beef and dairy. Watch Cowspiracy and you’ll understand why.

2) Cut down on CO2 emissions caused by transportation. If possible, buy or lease an electric car. Or, drive a hybrid or other fuel efficient car, and drive less. Hats off to those who ride bikes, take the bus, and walk rather than drive. Low gas prices have caused Americans to drive more, which is a tragedy. No matter what gas costs, we must cut back.

3) Go solar for your home or business. It is imperative that all nations move as fast as possible to cut the use of fossil fuels, or we may not live to regret it.

4) Support the Clean Power Plan. It’s essential to meet the goals of COP21.

5) Work to elect government representatives who will fight climate change. We need governments to develop policies that will move us to sustainable energy immediately.

6) Spread the word. Doing What We Can offers presentations on climate change and related topics that are free to the public. Contact us at 208-484-3241.

Doing What We Can – Summary of 2/26/15 meeting – Boise, Idaho USA

I.  One of our members made a presentation on the “Clean Power Plan” (Plan). Here are some highlights:

The Plan is a set of rules proposed by the EPA designed to limit carbon pollution emitted by power plants. The federal Clean Air Act is the legal authority for the proposed rules. The Plan is premised on the following:

  •  Power plants are the largest source of carbon pollution in the US, consisting of approximately 1/3 of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions;
  • The Plan will cut carbon pollution from the power sector by 30% from 2005 levels;
  • States will have flexibility in establishing plans to meet the carbon reduction goals;
  • The Plan will cut wasted energy, improve efficiency and reduce pollution while still maintaining adequate power to grow our economy and maintain the US’s competitive edge;
  • The Plan will keep the US and US businesses at the forefront of a global movement to produce and consume energy in a more sustainable way.

Handouts were presented, containing information showing, as of 2013:

  • China was the leader in carbon emissions, with the US coming in second;
  • The US and Saudi Arabia tied for the highest per capita emissions, with Canada coming in second;
  • India, with its huge population had about 1/10 the emissions per capita of the US and Saudi Arabia. The concern was expressed that if nations with huge populations that are currently low emitters per capita should rise to the level of US emitters, the climate crisis would be exacerbated to an increasingly alarming degree.
  • The UK had less than ½ the emissions per capita than the US and Saudi Arabia;
  • In 2013-2014, use of coal as energy constituted approximately 32% of total emissions.

The rules are expected to be finalized in the summer of 2015. President Obama is expected to use the Plan at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21 or CMP11) to be held in November and December 2015 in Paris to showcase US efforts to address the climate crisis.

The group discussed the rules and what we can do to support them.

WHAT WE CAN DO:  Write to our representatives both in Congress and in the Idaho Legislature to let them know we’re concerned about climate change and wish to support the Clean Power Plan.

II.  The attendees discussed how to further membership in our group, and ideas were presented as to how our group can make a difference in solving the climate crisis, including joining with other groups in that mission. Education of the public on climate change was identified as a major goal and perhaps holding an all-state climate rally in the foreseeable future. One suggestion was for our group to make presentations on a local radio stations regarding climate change and what we can do to address it.

WHAT WE CAN DO: Discuss these issues further at our next meeting and develop a plan to implement the best ideas.

III. The group discussed developments in the climate movement since our February meeting, to include President Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL Pipeline bill, Divestment Days on February 13-14, Pacific Island nations being displaced due to rising sea waters (Kiribati), possible extinction of monarch butterflies, aerospace engineer Willie Soon (whose work is relied on by climate deniers) being exposed as funded by the fossil fuel industry, and serious water shortages happening now in Brazil and Pakistan.

IV.  Michael Richardson, founder of the Idaho Climate Think Tank, informed us of the work he is doing on energy issues in Idaho, including through proposed legislation, and working with officials from Idaho Power. He also briefly discussed the current effort by Idaho Power to limit the 20-year duration of solar contracts to two years. Such change would effectively defeat solar power in Idaho due to the inability to obtain adequate financing under that time constraint.

V.  Individuals associated with Idaho 350.org and the Snake River Alliance joined our meeting and shared their ideas.

VI.  Our next meeting will be held on March 26, 2015, at 5:30 p.m. at the Flicks Theatre meeting room in Boise, Idaho. A presentation regarding the Koch Brothers and their influence on climate denial will be given.

 

FOUNDER’S COMMENTS:

The following website offers further information about the “Clean Power Plan.”

http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/clean-power-pHerlan-proposed-rule

Climate deniers are sharpening their sabers to defeat the Clean Power Plan.

Check out Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s stance:

http://www.msnbc.com/msnbc/mcconnell-tells-states-blow-off-epa

How about Sen. James Inhofe, senior member of the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/sen-jim-inhofe-throws-snowball-senate-floor-attempt/story?id=29255635

This from a senator from Oklahoma, a state that has experienced fracking-induced earthquakes. But that’s another story. See:

http://www.newsweek.com/industry-pressure-kept-oklahomas-scientists-silent-earthquake-fracking-link-311307#.VPjXtGsGH4o.mailto

Idaho’s Senator Michael Crapo is a denier, at least according to my recent review of his website. Amazing, considering the fact that he is a Harvard-educated attorney.

Because Congress holds the “power of the purse,” we can expect Congressional deniers to threaten defunding the EPA as a way to thwart the rules. Stay tuned on that.

We’ll have to closely watch Idaho Power’s stance in the discussion of the Clean Power Plan in Idaho. Idaho Power owns shares in three out of state coal fired plants. Check out Idaho Power’s website for more information.

Please join us at our next meeting.

Alyson R. Martin, JD

Message from Founder:

Happy 2015 climate believers, friends, and other interested persons! This will be a big year for the climate movement.

The optimists among us believe that there is still time to solve the climate crisis and avert catastrophic changes to life on Earth and changes to human life that will be less than pleasant. But the consensus seems to hold that 2015 is a critical juncture—we either make the difficult changes necessary to fix the problem, or prepare to adapt to a world human life has not previously known. That result could affect not only our children, and all life on Earth, but also US.

There are several significant efforts to solve the problem that are pending. One is the set of proposed EPA rules designed to limit carbon pollution by American power plants. A second is the United Nations Climate Change Conference, COP21 or CMP11, scheduled for Paris in November and December of 2015. Many established environmental groups have been diligently working toward a solution, and many smaller groups like ours have sprung up to support the climate movement.  Many believe that it’s do or die this year—perhaps literally. Add my name to that view.

It is time to stop debating and start acting. Doingwhatwecan.org needs to step it up. I am planning to schedule our first discussion/action group meeting to launch efforts towards a climate solution by our Idaho-based group. Watch for details on this website. And be ready to bring your ideas as to how we can make a difference. Members outside the Boise area, we would like your ideas, also. We’ll be hoping for your participation.

I’m hoping to meet you soon and discuss what we can do.

Alyson R. Martin, J.D.
Climate Reality Leader