First of all, Al Gore never gave me that fluttery, Henry V feeling. He wanted us to rally around climate change as the Agincourt of our time. Global warming, to him, is the battlefield to live or die on so that our descendants would count themselves ennobled by our fight. I saw his documentary and everything; and I remained calm.
Not to sound too mystical, but it is possible that Gaia (Mother Earth) may save us from ourselves. So far it has worked out! Ozone depletion was supposed to get us. The population explosion was supposed to get us. A nuclear holocaust was supposed to get us. The year 2000 was supposed to get us.
If you are of my generation, you remember hiding from an imaginary nuclear attack—under your sturdy, American-made wooden and metal school desk. This just in—it would not have been sturdy enough for a firestorm. Yet here we are. Apparently our civilization was supposed to be here for a while.
Not that I take global warming lightly. I do not. As I have said before, it could be a civilization-ender and just going about your daily life you cannot help but notice the disasters happening and waiting to happen.
Sandy. Irene. Katrina. Less famous ones like Hurricane Opal that tracked hundreds of miles inland, which should have been impossible. The 2012 700-mile super derecho, straight-line winds that broke records and left 1.2 million people without power. The droughts and wildfires in the West.
It’s not a laughing matter.
Those things could wipe us out. They flex their muscles a little bit, bring everything to a halt, and then we get back to normal and forget.
Why am I harping on weather? Because it is not weather, it is climate. The careful observations that went into the White House Third U.S. National Climate Assessment, released in May, were definite.
Human actions are endangering humans. Our greenhouse gas emissions are altering the climate. We still have a chance to do something about it.
So I am sad and puzzled to see the Chamber of Commerce and others rejecting the new EPA power plant proposals by saying they will cost too much. What could be more costly than losing our whole society? They also said the administration is deluded. But it really is not.
The political and legal process of curbing emissions will be complicated but must be fair. It does not have to cost jobs. It can create jobs.
Letting things slide, hanging onto the status quo, keeping our minds closed: that will be an expensive solution.
And Gaia, in my opinion, helps those who help themselves. And those who respect her.