This post is part one of our climate change blog series, Clean Energy Girl Goes to Norway. You can read part two here.
Clean Energy Girl is embarking on an adventure!!
In a continuing pursuit to educate the public and policymakers about the need for immediate action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are forcing harmful changes in our climate, I’m headed to Norway for meetings sponsored by the Institute on Science for Global Policy (ISGP) and their Climate Change Arctic Program (CCAP).
Along with St. Petersburg City Council member Darden Rice, I am part of a group planning an expedition to the Arctic – a place extremely vulnerable to climate change – in the summer of 2016 aboard the Lindblad National Geographic Expedition.
The goal of the expedition is to help people learn how scientific and policy discussions around climate change impact personal, local, and regional decisions. For instance, sea level rise is more important to people from Pinellas County and St. Petersburg – where I live – than it may be to the other communities such as Tuscon, Arizona or Whittier, California who will also be participating in the expedition.
I’ve been working on climate and energy issues since 1999 starting with the World Wildlife Fund where we endeavored to get then President George W. Bush not to stand in the way of other countries joining the Kyoto Protocol prior to the Bonn talks sponsored by The United Nations.
Today, I am the Florida Director of Southern Alliance for Clean Energy www.cleanenergy.org. If you’re not already, please sign up for information there and be sure to “like” our Facebook page. If you’re not involved and helping, then you’re part of the problem. No one gets to sit on the sidelines here. It’s too important and time is of the essence.
Few people know this but President Lyndon Johnson talked about the impact of greenhouse gas emissions on the climate. In a special message to Congress in February 1965, he noted: “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through . . . a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.”
In 1966, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences Panel on Weather and Climate Modification, headed by geophysicist Gordon MacDonald, who later served on President Richard Nixon’s Council on Environmental Quality said that increased carbon dioxide might also lead to “inadvertent weather modification.”
Every President since that time has understood the need to address the problem of spiraling carbon pollution. It is a crime that fossil fuel industries have used their clout and political contributions to slow progress on clean energy. Imagine had we started in earnest 50 years ago, where we’d be now.
Climate science – the understanding that emissions resulting from human activity (burning oil and coal principally) is warming the planet – has become widely accepted. The handful of skeptics is getting smaller although billionaires like the Koch Brothers do everything in their power to spread misinformation to protect their financial interests.
My hope is this expedition and all the activities leading up to it will move the needle both with the public and policymakers on the need to take action.
The longer we wait, the more difficult and costly it will be to change direction. The good news is, if we move now, we cannot only avoid the worst impacts but we can usher in a new era of prosperity and create good paying jobs. Let’s get going!!