By STEVE BACHER
Bucks County Courier Times
Posted Aug 2, 2016 at 12:01 AM
What will it take for Congress to take climate change seriously and take the steps necessary to transform our economy to one that is not dependent on fossil fuels?
World War II had been raging in Europe and Asia for years before Congress declared war following Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Then, in a short amount of time, government and private industry transformed the nation’s economy to manufacture what was necessary to win the war.
When will we work together to transform our economy to clean energy and eliminate our need for fossil fuels? What will be the Pearl Harbor of climate change? It wasn’t Hurricane Sandy. It isn’t the drought in California. It isn’t the expanding forest fire season.
On July 24, as many as 10,000 advocates for clean energy marched in Philadelphia, including many from Bucks County. It is a shame that this march was necessary. Both political parties are years behind where they should be on this issue.
The International Panel on Climate Change, under the United Nations, issues major reports on climate change every five years. The report is authored by hundreds of climate scientists from around the world. Among the statements in the 2014 “Synthesis Report: Summary for Policymakers”:
- Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic (human-made) emissions of greenhouse gases are the highest in history. Recent climate changes have had widespread impacts on human and natural systems.
- Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished and sea level has risen.
- Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the preindustrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth, and are now higher than ever. This has led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.
- Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems. Limiting climate change would require substantial and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions which, together with adaptation, can limit climate change risks.
Ninety-seven percent of the world’s peer-reviewed published climate scientists agree that climate change is caused by humans. Not politicians. Not businessmen. Scientists. If 97 percent of the world’s cardiologists said you need open heart surgery and 3 percent said you are fine, would you have the surgery? Ninety-seven percent of the world’s climate scientists say we need to radically cut our output of carbon dioxide if we want to avoid even more severe floods, droughts, fires, heat waves and other extreme weather. We trust scientists and engineers to create safe cars, bridges and medical devices, and our phones, computers and communication satellites. Why do we choose to question the accuracy and motives of this one category of scientists? Why do we choose to ignore the great business opportunity that clean energy offers? For the short-term profit of the fossil fuel companies, which are poisoning our planet.
Donald Trump says climate change is “a hoax.”
Hillary Clinton says, “Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time. It threatens our economy, our national security and our children’s health and futures. We can tackle it by making America the world’s clean energy superpower and creating millions of good-paying jobs, taking bold steps to slash carbon pollution at home and around the world, and ensuring no Americans are left out or left behind as we rapidly build a clean energy economy.”
We need to stop building fossil fuel infrastructure and turn our resources to creation of clean, renewable energy infrastructure. No more pipelines. More wind farms. More solar farms. There is plenty of money waiting to be made for energy companies that are willing and able to embrace renewable energy.
Steve Bacher resides in Newtown Township.