Do you remember as recently as 2009 when climate change was “one of the greatest challenges of the present day” according to a widely supported document from the climate change conference in Copenhagen? Yet one would think from the recent inattention to this issue by the corporate-controlled politicians and pundits that climate change is a non-issue today. What is going on? Has the threat from climate change been reduced or what?
In a column in the Financial Times this past weekend, the insightful Simon Kuper addressed this question. He suggested that almost everyone has given up. Kuper wrote: “We in the west have recently made an unspoken bet: we’re going to wing it, run the risk of climatic catastrophe, and hope that it is mostly faraway people in poor countries who will suffer.”
Unfortunately I think that his statement applies all too well to some of our so-called leaders. However, I think and hope that ‘we the people’ are better than Kuper’s dark statement suggests.
A group actively working to lessen the damage from climate change is 350.org. One of its current campaigns is to stop the construction of Keystone XL, a pipeline that would bring tar sands crude from Canada to refineries in Texas.
In a July 25th New York Times column, Christa Marshall addressed the controversy over the pipeline including comments from Bill McKibben, a founder of 350.org. Marshall wrote:
“Timing is also a key part of why the project is so important in terms of climate change, he said. Keystone XL could be operational by 2013, while other proposals could take five to 10 years to move through regulation, according to some estimates. Those future dates could come at a time when public opinion about climate change is different, he said.
“‘There is a limited period of time to make this a fait accompli. Sooner or later, the world’s going to come to its senses about carbon, at which point no one is going to invest hundreds of billions to get the stuff out of the tar sands,’ McKibben said.”
Removing tar sands crude as a fuel source would reduce the greenhouse gases in the atmosphere over your lifetime.