Blog Post

The Climate Emergency

By Craig Wolfe, President of Heartland Renewable Energy Society

Note: Craig Wolfe has been trained by Al Gore and his Climate Reality Project to make presentations on the climate emergency.

In this, our HRES first blog, I have only a few words to get you to change your minds about climate change.  Oh, I know, you all believe climate change is real, but I am here to change your dedication and activism to…  the climate emergency.

The fossil fuel industry is doing everything it can to foil our efforts to move us to a clean, safe, renewable energy future.  The fossil fuel industry is one of the largest, most powerful, and in many cases, the most underhanded industry on earth.  Why are they so rattled?  Because we must leave 70 to 80% of their known fossil fuels reserves in the ground.  At every turn, the fossil fuel industry is working behind the curtains to thwart the rise of renewable energy.

Why must we act now?  The climate crisis is the only crisis that has a clock associated with it.  Other social issues, or medical issues, or scientific issues, or environmental issues, given the luxury of enough time, will be significantly improved or solved.  Only the climate emergency issue has a clock.  If we don’t act quickly enough, the clock runs out.  Only the climate emergency issue might tell us, whoops, ya’ll waited a little too long.  You’re all now screwed.  If you break it, you buy it.  And what have you bought?  The 6th mass extinction…. for you grandchildren, their grandchildren, and their grandchildren, and all other species on the planet.

Why?  There is something called Tipping Points.  What are tipping points?  These are points that once reached, something collapses that cannot be restored.  It’s like a snow ball going downhill that you can’t stop.  What are some of these tipping points?

  • Rising oceans due to melting ice caps and glacial ice like Greenland and ocean warming, which expands the volume of water.
  • Acidification of oceans, which cannot be reversed without the passing of thousands of years.
  • The defrosting of permafrost and Tundra, which will release tons of methane gas, a greenhouse gas some 80 times more devastating over a 20 year time frame than CO2.
  • Die back of tropical and boreal forests in our colder regions.

So, if we pass these tipping points, what would the world look like?

What would the world look like… If oceans flood our coastal economic and population centers, creating millions if not billions of refugees.

What would the world look like… If a major source of fresh water disappears from the planet due to global temperatures melting snow and ice in our mountain ranges, needed by 40% of humanity.

What would the world look like… If our farmers can no longer grow food.

What would the world look like… If the web of life in our oceans collapses due to our oceans absorbing too much carbon, which results in the creation of carbonic acid, which results in coral reefs dying, which is happening already.  And, which dissolves the shells of small crustaceans that serve as the bottom of the food chain.  If they are lost, so are those creatures above them in the food chain, and so it goes for each layer of the food chain.  The web of life in the ocean collapses.

Doug Erwin, a paleobiologist at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, famously said, “You don’t want to start a mass extinction, because once a mass extinction begins, the prognosis is pretty grim.”

But, we do have a couple amazing statistics!

  • Wind could supply 40% of our world-wide electrical consumption 40 times over!
  • In one hour, the Sun give us enough energy to meet the power needs of the entire world for a full year!

We only need the political will to accomplish what we already know how to do.

So, let me introduce a new term I have coined… Planetary Treason.

One definition of regular old treason is “the betrayal of a trust or confidence; a breach of faith; treachery”

Planetary Treason is… “The act by a person who betrays their duty to protect the survival of all species and civilization by willfully disregarding science for personal or political gain.”

So, We, the inhabitants of our Planet, have had war declared upon us by such traitors.  Donald Trump and his administration, so far, have attacked the planet by:

  • resumed sales of coal – mined on federal land.
  • reversed an Obama-era restriction against dumping mining waste into waterways.
  • killed a mandate that federal agencies must consider climate change when making decisions.
  • revoked the EPA’s landmark Clean Power Plan.
  • announced the United States will withdraw from the 195-nation Paris Climate Agreement.
  • asked the courts to delay a hearing about limits on mercury and other toxic pollutants from power plants, which suggests, the plan is to weaken such rules.
  • moved to overturn rules that limit methane gas pollution from oil and gas production.
  • allowed, over the objections of EPA scientists, the continued use of the pesticide chlor-py-ri-fos, which has been linked to breast cancer and birth defects… to name only a few!

So, how important is our government in addressing the climate emergency?

We have a great example that occurred on December 7, 1941.  The Climate Mobilization is an organization that wants us to fight the climate emergency as if it was a real emergency.  Their stated goal is… “to start a WWII scale mobilization that restores a climate that is safe for everyone.”

Why is it important we act now?  Each decade we delay a serious response, we continue to add greenhouse gases.  These gases will stay in the atmosphere for centuries.  The storms, flooding, droughts and wildfire we are experiencing now, we will also experience for centuries.  They are now baked in the cake.  Each decade delayed will give us more serious and more frequent extreme weather events… also baked in the cake for centuries.

What can you… what can we do?

NUMBER 1 THING.  Get deniers out of the business of making decisions for our future generations.  When elections role around again, find out which ones have their act together so they can win, and convince them that the environment and the climate emergency require their immediate attention.  Get active in this election and all local elections.

Change your dedication to personally addressing the climate emergency issue.

Do you need a Speaker for the climate crisis?  I was trained by Al Gore and his Climate Reality Project to specifically present regarding the climate emergency. Contact Craig Wolfe to schedule a presentation.

All of you with gray hair, even a little, will not see the final chapter in this book.  We will be gone.  Again, we are fighting this battle for our grandchildren, their grandchildren, and their grandchildren.  And all species on the planet.

So, Let none of us be timid.  Let all of us decide to act.

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