Monday, January 31, 2011

State of the Union Address and Rochester, NY‘s environment

 

Several prominent environmental writers noted President Obama’s neglect to mention the world-wide crisis of Climate Change in his State of the Union Address.

Obama Ducks and Covers on Climate “The “C-word,” climate, appears to have become to the Beltway what the “P-word,” population, has been in climate treaty negotiations for a long time — unmentionable. It’s one thing to cave to a wave of naysaying climate rhetoric and build a new American energy conversation on points of agreement rather than clear ideological flash points like global warming.” Andrew Revkin ( 1/26/2011) New York Times.

And:

Obama was wrong not to mention climate change in his State of the Union | Grist “In his 2009 State of the Union-esque speech, Obama spoke of "saving our planet from the ravages of climate change." In his 2010 SOTU, he affirmed the "overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change." In 2011, fresh off the hottest year on record, Obama said ... nothing about climate change. It didn't come up. This is a failure on Obama's part. A moral failure, a failure of leadership, but also, I would argue, a political failure.” David Roberts (1/26/2011) Grist

While this omission may comfort those who think there are more important, or more immediate matters for our country to consider (or just don’t believe in physics), our planet is still going to warm up. And, despite Obama’s back-peddling on his promise to address Climate Change our Rochester, NY region is going to change: how Climate Change will impact the Rochester, New York area.

Despite what voters might think, our public officials will be held accountable for not addressing Climate Change because they are the ones in a position to be held accountable. That’s their job: a public servant’s purpose is to protect the public. They do not have the luxury of ignoring or pushing it aside because Climate Change is the environmental issue that connects all environmental issues. Water quality, air quality, pollution, energy, transportation, invasive species, biodiversity, and you-name-it will all be affected by the extreme weather events and other complications due to Climate Change. Just like when your streets don’t get quickly plowed in a snowstorm, you’re going to blame your public officials for not having addressed Climate Change—even if you voted for tax cuts over getting the job done.

Trust me, when things get dicey you won’t care if you didn’t believe in Climate Change and did your darnedest to vote against anyone who mentioned the word. You won’t care if you sat and listened to all those pundits in Washington who told you Climate Change was a bunch of hogwash and don’t let those crazy liberals spend a cent on preparing or informing the public on it. You won’t care because you’ll be too angry at your public officials who didn’t act in your behalf and too busy trying to keep everything you held precious from being destroyed by a world heating up. Here’s a statement by our top climate scientist

James A. Hansen: "Climate change is likely to be the predominant scientific, economic, political and moral issue of the 21st century.  The fate of humanity and nature may depend upon early recognition and understanding of human-made effects on Earth's climate (Hansen, 2009)" Paleoclimate Implications for Human-Made Climate Change

Sadly and profoundly tragic, we are living in a world where there is little accountability anymore. Lie us into a war, and we’ll only hold those trying to fix it accountable. Destroy our economy by gaming the housing market, and we’ll only hold the public who do their job day in and day out accountable by confiscating their future. Forsake the planet for your own political and industrial gain, and you’ll get showered with money and fame beyond all measure. But there’s one entity that holds all accountable for violating her rules—Mother Earth.

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