Is Urgency over the need to curb Global Warming finally taking hold? – By Mohamed Hamaludin

Urgency over the need to curb global warming seems to be finally taking hold

– By MOHAMED HAMALUDIN

Republicans have unique perspectives on global warming, the accelerated overheating of the planet by carbon dioxide emissions which poses an existential threat to the human race.

Oklahoma Senator Jim Inhofe once held up a snowball in the Senate in 2015 as proof that the planet is not getting hotter. Illinois Congressman John Shimkus, an evangelical Christian, cited God’s promise to Noah in Genesis 8:21 never again to destroy the world by flooding. Utah Senator Mike Lee said the answer is to have more babies. Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson said “civilization thrives” in warmer climate. William Harper, senior National Security Council director, said, “The demonization of carbon dioxide is just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.” And Florida Senator Rick Scott, while governor, banned all state agencies from using the terms “climate change” and “global warming.”           

On the other hand, the UK Independent’s Nick Bridge wrote last December, “It is five minutes to midnight on climate change, adding that “we are risking a world of runaway – and unmanageable — chaos.”

Harold Wanless, who chairs the University of Miami Department of Geological Sciences, says only seven percent of the heat from carbon emissions is stored in the atmosphere, the remaining 93 percent getting trapped in the ocean. “The heat is expanding the ocean, which is contributing to sea level rise and it is also, more importantly, creating the setting for something we really don’t want to have happen: rapid ice melt,” Wanless said.

The Guardian reported that Miami would “simply cease to exist” if the temperature rises continue and “the entire bottom third of Florida – the area south of Lake Okeechobee currently home to more than seven million people – submerged, with grim projections for the rest of the state in a little more than half a century.“

Early warning of the alarming rate at which the planet is being heated date back to at least 1965, reaching a high point in November 2009 when Phil Jones, head of the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit in Britain, sounded the alarm. But his research was denounced by skeptics and the fossil fuel industry following a hack of his emails which they claimed revealed that he was perpetrating a hoax. Jones was fully exonerated by colleagues and agencies focusing on climate change and, this month, 11,258 scientists from 153 countries concluded that the planet “clearly and unequivocally faces a climate emergency.”

Such data have spurred some action, including a lawsuit in Oregon — for which Wanless provided expert testimony — calling on the federal government to take steps to halt global warming. Last November, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a group of young people could proceed with their lawsuit against the federal government over its climate policies which, they say, is harming the Earth and infringe on their fundamental rights, NPR reported.

Other youths are mobilizing world opinion, notably through a “Fridays for Future” campaign. Greta Thunberg, 16, of Sweden, famously told the United Nations on Sept. 23, “If you choose to fail us, we will never forgive you.” Leah Namugerwa, 15, of Uganda, declared: “If adults are not willing to take leadership, I and fellow children will lead them.”

New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez produced her Green New Deal and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, has pledged to the spend $16.3 trillion to finance it if he is elected. And a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators comprising four Republicans, three Democrats and one Independent, created a climate caucus, with Utah Republican Senator Mitt Romney commenting, “We look a bit like Neanderthals. It’s real. We’ve got to take action.”

In Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, has appointed the state’s first Chief Science Officer and a Chief Resilience Officer whose duty is to “prepare Florida for the environmental, physical and economic impacts of climate change, especially sea-level rise,” according to the advertisement for the position.

Meanwhile, “carbon farming,” also known as regenerative agriculture and soil carbon sequestration, is slowly taking hold as a way to reduce global warming. “The science is straightforward enough,” the Grist’s Nathaniel Johnson wrote. “Planting a cover crop after harvest, when the acres might be bare and vulnerable to erosion, helps capture carbon. Farmers can keep that greenhouse gas in the ground if they stop plowing, because turning over the dirt with a plow releases soil carbon. These are relatively simple practices that many farmers have already adopted.”

But then there is President Donald Trump, who has been systematically undoing the policies of his predecessor Barack Obama aimed at tackling climate change. The president is pulling the U.S. out of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement which sets limits on carbon emissions and was signed by 195 nations but not Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. “I feel that the United States has tremendous wealth. The wealth is under its feet,” Trump said about oil. “I’m not going to lose that wealth… on dreams, on windmills, which frankly aren’t working too well.”

Such greed cannot be allowed to stand in wake of the danger which it poses to human survival.

Mohamed Hamaludin is a Guyana-born journalist who  worked for several years at The Chronicle in the 1970s and on publications in the Cayman Islands and Turks and Caicos Islands before emigrating to the United States in 1984 where he worked at The Miami Times, the Miami Herald and the South Florida Times.  Though now retired, he writes a commentary every week or two for The South Florida Times (sfltimes.com) in which the above column first appeared. He may be reached at hamal1942@gmail.com.

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Comments

  • wally n  On November 17, 2019 at 7:09 pm

    Tired of the one sided reporting, CANADIANS (some)are willing to give tax payers hard earned money to the crooked liberals, here is an idea….send the$$$$$ straight to PANAMA

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