Climate change is real, and it is happening now. Heat waves, floods, droughts, fires, superstorms, rising sea levels, and devastating hurricanes and tornados are witnessed and experienced by millions of our fellow citizens in all parts of the country, and no amount of prevarication or denial can wish it, think it, or argue it away. Today, we are reaping the whirlwind of our 200-year-old love affair with the carbon-based forms of energy that have powered our modern world.
Those who deny climate change are either ignorant of the proven science or are in the pocket of those corporate interests whose bottom lines will be affected if we, as a society, finally make the necessary and concerted effort to replace the burning of fossil fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas – with clean, free, and renewable sources of energy – wind, solar, and geothermal, among others.
Take a look behind the scenes of those who contend that global warming is a hoax, or some sort of liberal cant, and you will always see the carbon footprints of some player in the fossil fuel arena. They are footing the bill for all the erroneous and duplicitous pronouncements in print and elsewhere, and their payouts extend to various right-wing think tanks, and more abhorrently, to members of the United States Senate and House of Representatives. It is estimated that there are over 100 climate change deniers in the U.S. Congress – and every single one of them receives campaign contributions from dirty energy companies and/or their affiliates.
And the arguments of these shortsighted, climate change deniers are always the same and they always miss the point: If we give up on fossil fuel production, they contend, energy prices will go up, jobs will disappear, and the economy will suffer. It’s a prime example of those who profess to know the price of everything, but the value of nothing. They ignore the value of clean air. They ignore the value of healthy lungs. They ignore the value of leaving a habitable planet behind for our children, our grandchildren, and generations to come. They clearly don’t respect the value of Mother Earth.
But even if one were to take their arguments at face value, they don’t stand up under scrutiny. The truth is that our economy will be stronger if we invest in clean energy. More jobs will be created than lost and, as the costs of alternative energy continue to decrease, less of our money will be siphoned off by the giant oil, gas, and coal companies. The only losers will be the oil companies and the politicians who cynically profit from their largesse.
The situation is urgent. While it is already agreed by the world’s climate scientists that we cannot stop the effects of global warming, there is still time to mitigate the damage it is doing to our planet and its people. We have a window of opportunity, but it is closing quickly. We need to reverse the wrong-headed policies that continue to support the fossil fuel industries and make the transition to renewable energy more attractive and more economically feasible. And we need to do it quickly.
We need tax incentives and government programs that will help accelerate the growth of the renewable energy industries. We need ways to encourage consumers to switch to cleaner forms of power. But for that, we will need Congresspeople and legislators throughout the country who believe in science and a citizenry that is informed and fired up… one that will demand the changes we need to make in our national energy policy. In short, we need a government and a county that is willing to lead the world, in order to save the world. The clock is ticking. Now’s the time!