Taking Attendance on the Mother of All Threats

The missing campaign issue

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It has been alarming to see the lack of discussion this election season about our most threatening challenge as humans, that of climate change. It’s barely gotten a mention by our leading candidates, and that in itself indicates how low it is on the minds of voters. Clearly we have more pending issues to overcome, like surviving a pandemic and overcoming the biggest economic down slide in our lifetime. I suppose all that outweighs the looming threat of global warming, which merely promises to disrupt the delicate balance of life on earth.  

Unlike any present political polarization, it has taken generations, of greenhouse gas accumulating to levels high enough to show itself, through more severe weather events, encroaching sea level rise, drought, and stresses on already-fragile regions, which is exacerbating instability and migration. It will get worse, as we chaotically plod through our election cycles over and over again.

The good news is that unbeknown to us, we are now practicing for the bigger threats to come. Let us use this pandemic as a sandbox o work out the global cooperation needed to withstand the inevitable. From now on, nations will be forced to figure out coping mechanisms to withstand the disruption from creeping global warming. It is unavoidable, and though we can’t reverse much of the global warming trajectory from all the excess emissions in our atmosphere, we can curb it. We know how to limit it, and we understand what needs to be done to do it, which is to end the use of fossil fuel and develop a new infrastructure of renewable energy to replace it, and do it globally.

The United States should be a leader in this effort. We simply need the political will to take up the challenge, without delay, before we lose our narrow window of opportunity to do so. Luckily we already have legislation in place to do it, including RGGI, The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative which Pennsylvania must join, as well as federal initiatives working their way through Congress, most notably HR 763, the Energy and Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act, that offers the most comfortable and immediate plan to fund our transformation to clean energy, which also means good jobs to create it!. 

As Citizens Climate Lobby, (the bi-partisan organization that supports HR 763), reminded me recently, climate change is not only our duty to confront, it is our ultimate bridge issue, being the biggest existential threat to us all. Like overcoming a pandemic, it should’t be a wedge between us, but the single most pressing issue to unite humans, with the inclusive goal of protecting all future life on earth.

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