King Ethelred (968-1016) of England was so ineffective that he was acclaimed by historians “Ethelred the unready.”
Are world leaders of our era ready or “unready” for the greatest challenges in human history? Earth is now subjected to climate change and global warming in a two fisted punch on our vulnerable planet.
In the 1970’s, the famous anthropologist Louis Leakey (1903-1972) was asked what is the most serious problem facing humankind. He responded without hesitation: “GLOBAL WARMING!”
Not so for President George Bush who withdrew the largest global economy from the Kyoto climate Protocol in 1972. Indigenous President Evo Morales of Bolivia, possessing innate awareness of deterioration within our environment invited all nations to end the arms race then join together to fight global warming.
Elected officials of North Carolina and Florida recently introduced legislation that even forbids use of terms such as global warming or climate change. Do “educated” officials actually believe refusal to speak of such visible realities affecting their states will prevent disasters from occurring?
During a Washington DC session on proposed EPA emissions rule Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said, “Carbon dioxide is not poison. It’s something we breathe out.” (Baton Rouge ADVOCATE, 17 April 2015). Could it be the journalist Gregory Roberts of the Baton Rouge Advocate intended to humiliate Mr. Caldwell by printing his superficial scientific drivel?
While politicians with gray hair bellow a line in defense of an existing carbon system that is failing to protect our future, another generation of children, teenagers and 20-somethings is rising to challenge and even reverse the course of history that seemingly will make their future more uncomfortable, indeed dangerous.
During April 2015 several young women in Oregon appeared in a court room to sue the state of Oregon for not doing enough to reverse the rising rate of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. University students throughout the USA are aware of the fact a global Carbon Combustion Complex (CCC) controls an economy that belches out more carbon dioxide than Earth can tolerate. FORBES 500 yearly lists the energy and auto companies that dominate the top ten economic firms. The leading profitable entities in the 21st century are corporations, not countries.
Mr. Caldwell is correct. Humans do exhale carbon dioxide. Seven billion of us together with billions more among the non-human world put a lot of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. However, science professors like Svante August Arrhenius warned in the 1890’s unlimited burning of fossil fuels will certainly cause a global problem. Arrhenius repeated his warning in 1905. Not until June 1988 did someone like NASA scientist James Hansen appear before the US Congress to state bluntly: “Global warming is a reality.” Hansen, like all prophets has been scorned by CEO’s and elected officials.
In 1914 there were one million cars in the USA. Today there are over 300 million, making life congested in every city, killing over one million people globally. Each gallon of gasoline generates over 20 pounds of carbon dioxide. Having generated billions of tons of carbon dioxide, we are making the ocean too acidic. Carbon dioxide in contact with water becomes carbonic acid. Our future depends upon a healthy ocean.
We now have a choice. Do we wish to remain dithering with the “unready” political acolytes of an old order or join progressive young people who want a future free from global climate catastrophes?