The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice: Vote to stop climate change
Vote to stop climate change
New York’s Mayor Bloomberg has endorsed President Obama and his solutions for Global Climate Change following the recent damage from Hurricane Sandy. This has brought the important issue of climate challenges back to the table for the 2012 Presidential Election.
After Hurricane Sandy, 8 million people are without power, over 100 people have died and at least $20 billion has been lost in revenue in America – the devastation is staggering. Storms have increased by 85 percent since the 1940s. Unbiased scientists from around the globe say that this is clearly due to human’s effect on the climate through burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil and natural gas. When the global temperature goes up by one degree, Sandy is a hint of what that looks like. If we continue on our trajectory of fossil fuel use, the global temperature will go up by 4 or 5 degrees. I don’t want to know what that will look like.
Over the next four years, it will be critical to make the right steps to reduce our climate impact. I have a young son. I don’t want to share a future with him where devastation such as this past Monday (and worse) is the new normal.
Here is where the candidates stand on climate change:
Obama: Climate Change is real, it is caused by humans, it is happening fast, and is a risk for our future. We need to move towards renewable, non-fossil fuel energy, but do so in a way that preserves jobs and the economy. Under his administration we have seen and will see: More fuel efficient vehicles and support for companies with new ideas for renewable energy.
He has doubled electricity generated from wind and solar and created nearly a quarter million new jobs in renewable energy and will continue in these efforts.
Romney: Climate Change is real, it is caused by humans, but it is not something that changing our use of fossil fuels will stop. The use of fossil fuels is an important source of energy for this country, and we all like energy. Increasing investments in coal, oil and natural gas domestically are his goal. What this will look like under his administration:
Greater subsidies and support for domestic energy sources. Increased prospecting and finances for fossil fuel industry improvements
What this means to me:
Caring about the planet that supports us is not a “nice to have” – it is a “need to have”. All of the money in the world can’t stop a natural disaster from ruining the human landscape and taking lives, but a natural disaster can halt the significance of all of the money in the world in less than 5 minutes.
While the effects of global Climate Change from burning fossil fuels are difficult to predict exactly, scientists all over the world agree on one clear fact – they will be devastating. The general tenor of what we can expect to see includes:
Greater and more frequent natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy, tornados, and even blizzards (simply put the more moisture in the air from melting of the polar icecaps the greater the number and intensity of all types of storms!) Increased disease vectors such as mosquitoes. Longer and more frequent droughts (as we saw in the Midwest these past years).
Inundation of highly developed coastal areas, affecting millions of people and trillions of dollars in property.
This election is at an incredibly critical time for our future. We have surpassed the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, but our actions over the next four years can ameliorate this. The designs for renewable energy under Obama are big steps in the right direction. A Romney administration pushes us well beyond the safe upper limit for atmospheric emissions.
The choice in this election to vote for combating Climate Change is clear. Obama is critical for a future with fewer natural disasters and climate mayhem. — Mariah Titlow Tinger, Beverly, a graduate student at Harvard University Extension School studying climate change, sustainability and environmental management
Bloomberg endorses Obama over climate change. Does Obama deserve it?
For a day or two, global warming might actually become a big issue in the presidential race. On Thursday, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg came out and endorsed President Obama’s re-election bid, arguing that Hurricane Sandy had brought climate change to the forefront — and commending Obama’s record on this front.
This week’s Bloomberg Businessweek cover. Not so subtle.
“Our climate is changing,” Bloombergwrote. “And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”
So why does Obama deserve a climate-centered endorsement? How much has the president actually done on the issue? And does he have plans to do more in a second term? Let’s take a look:
1) What Obama has — and hasn’t — done on climate change: Over the past four years, climate has largely taken a backseat to the economy, health care, and financial regulations. But the Obama administration has taken a few modest steps to curb carbon emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency has craftedcarbon regulations for power plants, making it difficult to build new coal plants in the United States. The administration has tightened fuel-economy standards for cars and light trucks, reaching 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025. And the stimulus poured $90 billion into clean energy, which, for all its shortcomings, did boost U.S. solar and wind capacity significantly.
But Obama has also been fairly cautious on climate issues: The White House endorsed, but didn’t push very hard for, a carbon cap-and-trade bill when it was struggling in the Senate in 2010. (See Ryan Lizza’s post-mortem in the New Yorker.) And on the campaign trail, Obama rarely mentions the issue at all.
2) What Obama plans to do on climate if reelected: In a recent debate at MIT, campaign surrogate Joseph Aldy predicted that Obama was unlikely to put forward further legislative measures — like a clean-energy standard — so long as Republicans in Congress would reject them out of hand. Instead, Aldy predicted, an Obama second term would focus on using the EPA’s authority to further reduce carbon-dioxide emissions from stationary sources such as power plants and refineries.
All told, Obama’s incremental steps and further EPA action — when combined with a boom in natural gas and state-level actions like those in California — could nudge U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions down by as much as 16 percent by 2020, according to a recent analysis by Resources for the Future. That’s a fairly sizable step. But without a price on carbon, the analysts noted, the country is unlikely to see a major energy transformation in the long run.
3) What Romney plans to do: Very little. If Obama’s climate aims are modest, Romney has ignored the issue almost entirely. In that MIT debate, Romney domestic policy adviser Oren Cass said that reducing carbon emissions should not be a focus of government policy. “With respect to a legislative agenda,” Cass explained, “moving forward, climate change would not be at the top of it.”
In some cases, Romney has actively opposed steps to curb emissions: He has criticized Obama’s vehicle fuel-economy standards as “extreme” and has vowed to repeal the EPA’s regulations on coal plants. The only climate-related action Romney has said he would take is providing a bit more government funding for basic energy research. In his endorsement, Bloomberg criticized Romney for abandoning his previous green positions.
4) Why Bloomberg picked Obama: Looking back at Obama’s mixed climate record over the past four years, one thing his advisers have often said is that they’d prefer to do more on climate change but think the politics are impossible. “If [Obama] actually sees a goodwill gesture from the other side,” Aldy said, “and if you can do so in a way that also tackles the challenge of climate change, I think he would consider that.”
One way to read Bloomberg’s endorsement is that he’s trying to shift the politics of climate change in his own small way. By supporting a president who has taken half-steps over a challenger who wants to ignore the issue altogether, Bloomberg is trying to make big action more politically feasible — and make inaction unacceptable.
Hurricane Sandy has brought to light a serious, but somewhat sidelined, concern: climate change. Last week, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg officially endorsed President Obama. The conversation surrounding Bloomberg’s endorsement of Obama focuses on climate change, an issue with which Bloomberg has been extensively involved.
Bloomberg has criticized both the president and challenger Mitt Romney for their failure to candidly confront the nation’s ills. Despite such criticism, Bloomberg has offered his support to Obama given his response to the Emergency Sandy created for his municipality and constituents.
Bloomberg also used Sandy as an opportunity to highlight the need for a discussion surrounding climate change.
In an editorial, Bloomberg writes:
“…while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of [climate change], the risk that it may be — given the devastation it is wreaking — should be enough to compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.”
While Bloomberg may be making a last attempt to impress a legacy upon his three-term as mayor, there is no doubt Sandy’s monstrosity has called into question the lack of time candidate’s have spent talking about climate change. Indeed, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that more intense hurricanes are possible because of warmer weather due to climate change.
Bloomberg has been a long time proponent of climate change awareness, and, in making his endorsement, highlighted Obama’s achievements on the issue. His endorsement clearly marks his hope that, if reelected, the president will continue to champion and prioritize climate change.
Interestingly, in that same editorial from November 1, Bloomberg notes Mitt Romney’s achievements on climate change when he served as governor of Massachusetts. However, Bloomberg cautioned,
“He couldn’t have been more right [about needing to reduce carbon emissions]. But since then, he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported. This issue is too important. We need determined leadership at the national level to move the nation and the world forward.”
President Obama said that he is “honored to have Mayor Bloomberg’s endorsement,” and committed himself and the country to stand by New York in its time of need.
SELVA Vida Sin Fronteras acknowledges Kevin Schafer’s important contribution towards protecting the highly endangered Amazon pink fresh water dolphin. Title photographs of our “The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice” were taken by Mr. Schafer.
Editorial: SELVA-Vida Sin Fronteras
Gustavo López Ospina
Pieter Jan Brouwer
Assistant: Emilia Romero
The Amazon Pink Dolphin’s Voice is associated with the International Environmental Mission, a grass roots citizens movement created by Chilean Senator Juan Pablo Letelier.