Dedicated to the balanced discussion of global warming
ThinkProgress – April 3, 2006
Earlier, I had an article on the thoughts of Sen. John McCain on the subject of global warming and climate change. Here are some of the thoughts of Sen. Barack Obama. I don’t pick these two gentlemen because of their beliefs or that I will vote for one of them. Rather, I think it is important to read about the feelings of people that are our leaders and who want a greater role. I promise that I will write about more of these people in the coming days.
Sen. Obama appears to want greater efforts given to conservation and the discovery/use of alternative fuels. He also appears to think that we are in the midst of a global warming crisis caused by man.
All across the world, in every kind of environment and region known to man, increasingly dangerous weather patterns and devastating storms are abruptly putting an end to the long-running debate over whether or not climate change is real. Not only is it real, it’s here, and its effects are giving rise to a frighteningly new global phenomenon: the man-made natural disaster.
And yet, for decades, far too many have ignored the warnings, either dismissing the science as a hoax or believing that it was the concern of enviros looking to save polar bears and rainforests.
The issue of climate change is one that we ignore at our own peril. There may still be disputes about exactly how much we’re contributing to the warming of the earth’s atmosphere and how much is naturally occurring, but what we can be scientifically certain of is that our continued use of fossil fuels is pushing us to a point of no return. And unless we free ourselves from a dependence on these fossil fuels and chart a new course on energy in this country, we are condemning future generations to global catastrophe.
And while the situation on the land may look ugly, what’s going on in the oceans is even worse. Hurricanes and typhoons thrive in warm water, and as the temperature has risen, so has the intensity of these storms. In the last thirty-five years, the percentage of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has doubled, and the wind speed and duration of these storms has jumped 50%.
These are all frightening situations, but perhaps none more so than what is beginning to occur at the North and South Poles. There, a satellite image from space or a trip to the region shows indisputable evidence that the polar ice caps are melting.
In 1996, a melting Greenland dumped about 22 cubic miles of water into the sea. Today, just ten years later, it’s melting twice as fast. In real terms, this means that every single month, Greenland is dumping into the ocean an amount of water 54 times greater than the city of Los Angeles uses in an entire year.
And when it comes to climate change, it’s the fossil fuels we insist on burning – particularly oil – that are the single greatest cause of global warming and the damaging weather patterns that have been its result.
To deal directly with climate change, something we failed to do in the last energy bill, we should use a market-based strategy that gradually reduces harmful emissions in the most economical way. John McCain and Joe Lieberman are continuing to build support for legislation based on this approach, and Senators Bingaman and Domenici are also pursuing proposals that will cut carbon emissions. Right here in Chicago, the Chicago Climate Exchange is already running a legally binding greenhouse gas trading system.
The idea here is simple: if you’re a business that can’t yet meet the lower cap we’ll put on harmful carbon emissions, you can either purchase credits from other companies that have achieved more than their emissions goal, or you can temporarily purchase a permit from the government, the money from which will go towards investments in clean energy technology. As Fred Krupp, the president of Environmental Defense has said, “Once you put a value on carbon reductions, you make winners out of innovators.”
Please read the rest of the speech which can be found here. The above snippets do not adequately cover Senator Obama’s eloquent oratory ability.
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