During Monday’s inauguration, with one paragraph, President Obama seemed to have kicked off a new era of climate change dialogue. Sure, those who have dedicated their lives to the fight would argue that the conversation has never died, but since Monday an onslaught of articles have come out, and below are some of the key ones I recommend.
Listen, I’m the first to admit it, I get a serious case of anxiety when someone sends me a link to a story and says, “you have to read this.” Because honestly, the last thing I need is another collection of words on top of the mountain of other reading materials I “have to read”. But seriously, you HAVE to read these articles, blog posts and reports on climate change.
I cut my teeth on the climate change issue. It’s what got me in the door to environmental issues, and it’s certainly an issue I can see myself working on for the rest of my life. In fact it’s the one environmental issue that honestly encompasses ALL environmental issue and bleeds over to every other fabric of our lives.
Consider this the first of many blog posts this year talking about climate change and global warming. My colleague and good friend Tim Connor who is the Communications Director here at the Center and probably the best writer in the NW agrees, and he’s already written a few great pieces this year; Hot & Wild and Truth on Ice.
This is what President Obama said on Monday during his inauguration speech:
We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity. We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.
Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms. The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But American cannot resist this transition. We must lead it.
And it’s this paragraph that history will look back on with admiration or despair. Just as we have with this line that President Obama delivered during his victory speech in 2008 after winning the presidency, “This was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal.”
Without further ado, here is what I’m reading right now and what I think you should read too:
- On Tuesday, Grist’s David Roberts blogged about a new Greenpeace report that attempted to rank the most dangerous fossil-fuel projects currently being planned. The title of the post was, “The 14 fossil-fuel projects poised to f*ck up the climate.”
- The blog post is in response to this amazing Greenpeace study titled, “Point of No Return” which as David Roberts mentions is an attempt to highlight the projects destined to make President Obama’s remarks a moot point.
Here’s the opening of the report: The world is quickly reaching a Point of No Return for preventing the worst impacts of climate change. Continuing on the current course will make it difficult, if not impossible, to prevent the widespread and catastrophic impacts of climate change. The costs will be substantial: billions spent to deal with the destruction of extreme weather events, untold human suffering and the deaths of tens of millions from the impacts by as soon as 2030.“
- You’ll notice in the report and/or the list that of the top 5 worst projects, only one is within US borders and that is NW coal exports. And Greenpeace calls it the “ new front line in the battle to prevent catastrophic climate change.” Here’s a blog post specifically on coal exports in the NW: “US Coal Exports Could Push the Climate Past a Point of No Return”.
- Finally, with all this talk about coal exports and just how bad the project could be for climate change, here’s a antastic piece by Salon about coal exports and how they are likely worse for the planet than the Keystone XL pipeline project: “Worse Than Keystone: Environmentalists are focused oil and gas, but a bigger carbon disaster may be brewing in the Pacific Northwest” If you’re going to read any of these, make sure you read this one.