Today I am participating in the 2009 Blog Action Day by writing about climate change. I made plans to participate in this event a few months ago and then I started reading to figure out what I wanted to write about.
For the first month, I just read everything I could about climate change. And wow, there is a lot of good scholarship out there. And, when it comes to the amount of damage we've already done to our climate, some of scholarship is really scary. I tend to take what I regard as an even-handed approach to the political world and I believe that forecasts of doom and forecasts of nirvana are equally foolish: I'm a middle-of-the-road kind of girl. But when it comes to climate change, I just see no reason for moderation. For starters, the risks of failure are cataclysmic.
For another, unlike other political problems, we cannot fix climate damage. And that's the fact that really stands out for me. Climate damage is permanent. Under President Clinton, the U.S. signed the Kyoto Accord but it was never confirmed by the Senate. President Bush further distanced the U.S. from the Accord, thus assuring it fell short of being a complete success.
In December 2009, when the world's nations get together in Copenhagen to once again discuss setting limits on greenhouse gas emissions, the United States must be a player in the process. President Obama has said that we will be there. But that's not enough. Copenhagen will be more successful if the U.S. brings to the international table a real commitment to change. That means signing the treaty and getting the support of two-thirds of the Senate in order to make our signature binding.
To do that means building Congressional support for a federal cap-and-trade system for limiting carbon emissions. The Waxman-Markey bill, which does just that, t has already passed the House. It needs to pass the Senate. Read about Waxman-Markey here and then go here to contact your member of the Senate and ask them to support Waxman-Markey. Copenhagen will be here before we know it. The time to act is now.