The Global Citizen: climate change
Last week, planet earth reached a landmark! CO2 emissions exceeded 400 parts per million. So why aren’t scientists celebrating? Well, this is nothing to celebrate. Al Gore expressed a common sentiment among global warming sympathizers, tweeting that the event was “a sad milestone.” Action must be taken to reduce carbon emissions and the burning of fossil fuels.
The Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii has been monitoring CO2 emissions since 1958. On Thursday, May 10th, it released a report that stated a new, unprecedented level of CO2 had been recorded in the atmosphere. Carbon Dioxide is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in our atmosphere and has been linked to rising temperatures, ice melting and sea level rising.
Cleveland is known for many things. It's the hometown of John D. Rockefeller, Lebron James, Rock and Roll, the traffic light and the Cleveland Clinic. It's also one of the starting places for Earth Day.
On June 22, 1969 the Cuyahoga River, the major river that flows from Lake Erie and a center of trade in the region, caught on fire. The fire occurred when sparks from a blow torch ignited pollution and oil on the river's surface. The river was so polluted that there were no fish for long stretches. Lake Erie was full of sewage run off and parts were declared dead. It is known as the event that started "environmentalism" and the founding of the EPA, as well as the passing of the Clean Water Act.
The following is a guest blog post by Hope Warshaw:
It's easy to feel overwhelmed and powerless when we hear about the large and significant global problems caused by our years of mistreating Mother Earth. Feeling overwhelmed can make it hard to imagine that each of us, one by one, can, make a difference in the health of our global climate. But I believe each of us has the power to impact the health of our climate...by how and what we eat. Yes, it's true!
"The food recommendations made by many climate scientists align neatly with what health experts have told us for many decades: on average Americans consume way too few fruits, vegetables, legumes and grains and far too many meat and dairy products (see: epidemics of obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes). What hit me here was the two-fer: what's good for the planet is good for your body. It's not just your mode of transportation, or how well you insulate your home. Now your menu matters, too."
2012 was the hottest year ever in the United States recorded since 1895. Global sea level rose approximately seventeen centimeters within the last century and we have experienced twenty of the warmest years since 1981. But that is not the only problem we are currently facing...
The United Nations made a report on the relationship between climate change and women's equality, stating that "women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men -- primarily as they constitute the majority of the world's poor and more dependent for their livelihood on natural resources that are threatened by climate change."
Women make up 45-80% of all food producers in developing countries. Climate change has caused a wide array of inconsistent agricultural patterns, making traditional practices to be inadequate. This creates many problems for women, who may solely depend on agriculture for food and income.
It is important to understand the effects of climate change to citizens of developing countries. In places such as Africa and Asia, women and their families are very dependent on agricultural crops and resources. But due to climate change, the likelihood to gather these resources has decreased -- leading to a variety of issues for women and their families.
When will climate change become a priority? Probably, when war, rape, and child suffering no longer exist. Unfortunately, however, these horrible tragedies are perpetuated by the effects of climate change. As the earth's climate warms, insecurity in First and Third World countries rises. As a result, now is the time to focus on climate change so that we can prevent future starvation and suffering.
Unfortunately, it is easy for Congress to push the formation of legislation that eases the effects of climate change aside. Climate change feels distant; guns and budget cuts are pressing issues today. Congress won't get re-elected on issues that we aren't yet feeling the full effects of. However, in his second inaugural address on Monday, President Obama stepped up to the plate and renewed the United States' commitment to respond to climate change.
You also agree that climate change must be a priority in President Obama's second term. A survey conducted by Global Solutions.org members and supporters shows that Americans sill care about the issues surrounding climate change. Members and supporters rated climate change and the environment the highest priority issue for GlobalSolutions.org to focus on in 2013.
"We believe that 'We're all in this together' is a far better philosophy than 'You're on your own'.'' That's how Bill Clinton summed up the philosophical difference between Democrats and Republicans when he nominated President Barack Obama to run and eventually win a second term. It's also the philosophy that underpins the work of the Connect U.S. Fund. For the last eight years they have brought together a community of advocacy and grassroots groups, philanthropic foundations, and think tanks to push for farsighted American leadership in efforts to create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. They have just released a letter to President Obama and his transition team signed by over 180 foreign policy leaders, who represent millions of Americans, and came together to develop proposals to enhance U.S. global leadership and cooperation in this new presidential term. As one of its signatories, I'm excited by the detailed recommendations which lay out a blueprint for constructive and achievable U.S. actions across four key areas: human rights, climate change, nuclear weapons, and development. The letter urges the President to take action to:
Sandy did what Candy didn't: Kick start a full blown conversation on climate change.
GlobalSolutions.org was part of an effort to insert this critical topic into the presidential debates. But despite 160,000 petition signatures, press releases and winning Google moderator votes; Candy Crowley, Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer refused to bring up the topic, the first time climate or the environment was left out of presidential debates since 1978.
Now Superstorm Sandy has changed all of that. Finally the main stream media and politicians are once again taking this seriously. The Bloomberg Business Week cover says it all: "It's Global Warming, STUPID."
The Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson points out, "The traditional dodge - that no single weather event can definitively be attributed to global warming - doesn't work anymore. If something looks, walks and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. Especially if the waterfowl in question is floating through your living room." Too true, but unfortunately Robinson winds up a strong column saying that"
Climate change is a national challenge. Ignoring it is not a solution. Pretending it isn't happening will not make it stop.
As Barack Obama and Mitt Romney made their closing statements, Monday night's debate on foreign policy was the final time the two candidates would meet before the general election on November 6th. For those of us that have been following this election cycle closely, the large number of foreign policy similarities expressed last night between Obama and Romney does not come as a shock. Sure, each candidate provided their own spin on the issues, but overall, they agreed on many points, including Iran, Israel, and drone usage.
It is also true that we live in an age of global interconnectedness; this election will have an impact not only on people living in Omaha, Nebraska, but also citizens of just about every nation on the face of the planet. It should be disappointing then, if not a bit disturbing, that a number of issues that should have been given air time in a foreign policy debate between two presidential candidates were not given the attention that they deserve.
Candy Crowley, I want to start by congratulating you on the great job you did moderating the Town Hall Presidential Debate. But disappointed doesn't begin to express how I feel about a question you didn't choose from the audience. You had a chance get the candidates on record on how they will deal with climate change and you blew it.
Some great topics were debated last night, but unless Bob Schieffer changes his mind and adds global warming to his issue list in next week's foreign policy forum, this will be the first presidential election since before 1980 in which the presidential and vice presidential debate series did not include a direct question about climate change, environmental protection or conservation.
A whole bunch of us tried to make it easy for you. Over 160,000 signed petitions that went to both you and Jim Lehrer. Google and the Commission on Presidential Debate asked folks to weigh in on important topics for the Town Hall debate, and over 11,000 chose "What actions will you take to address climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions?" as the most popular question. You ignored all of us.
If I were lucky enough to be able to select a couple of questions for tomorrow night's Presidential Debate at Hofstra, I would choose some questions that have not been beaten to death on the campaign trail so far. Whether or not these important issues are touched upon in the debates, here are the ones that I would want to make sure that the next leader of the free world weighed in on before I went to the polls:
One glaring omission so far is climate change. There is no doubt that the Earth is heating up; the ice caps are melting and drought is rampant, resulting in higher food prices globally. This issue has been every presidential debate cycle since 1984, but so far this time around, there has only been silence. Although the Democratic Party Platform did touch upon this issue as a national security concern, Obama has not said much since the Democratic Convention. On the other hand, the Republican Party's skepticism concerning the seriousness of climate change (I mean come on, Romney joked about it during his convention speech) casts a lot of doubt on their willingness to do something about it. If Romney is going to change his mind (which seems to be an effective campaign strategy), he needs to give the message enough time to reach voters.
- Arms Control (22)
- Become a Member (3)
- Become a Member (1)
- Capitol Hill (164)
- CGS Political Action Committee (PAC) (17)
- Chapters (4)
- Civilian Protection (133)
- Climate Change (94)
- Comprehensive Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) (2)
- Congressional Report Card (7)
- Current Campaigns (8)
- Election News & Analysis (101)
- Fellows (2)
- Gender Based Violence (26)
- Genocide Prevention (113)
- Get Involved (68)
- Home (12)
- Human Rights (223)
- Human Rights Council (31)
- International Criminal Court (167)
- International Criminal Justice (51)
- Law & Justice (211)
- Law of the Sea Treaty (55)
- Nuclear Disarmament (81)
- Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) (2)
- Other (33)
- PAC: 2010 Election Endorsements (3)
- Partners for Global Change (2)
- Peacekeeping (104)
- Prevent War (181)
- Rights of the Child Treaty (10)
- Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) (19)
- Support Us (14)
- Take Action (24)
- Tax Deductible Giving (2)
- UN Funding (71)
- UN Reform & Revitalization (43)
- United Nations (321)
- usaforicc.org (1)
- WFI (5)
- Women's Rights Treaty (CEDAW) (47)