Cheap shots and expensive omissions

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Of course it’s wrong to link any one extreme weather event to climate change so Hurricane Sandy, at the time of writing about 100 miles of the eastern seaboard of America, should really be allowed to pursue its manifest destiny without moralising.

However, a presidential election is also imminent. The candidates are nearing the end of a long and bloody campaign and it is appropriate to point out that the one issue that hasn’t been fought over or even mentioned is the fact of global warming and the growing impact it is having on the lives of us all, including The American People.

But what could a presidential candidate concerned to offer real leadership in this area say? I came across this yesterday – a sharp, thoughtful speech that will never be made. Imagine the pre-election debate that gave a candidate the chance to say:

“Thank you, Jim/Candy/Bob, very much for asking about where we stand on the issue of climate change. How we answer this question will have a great deal to do with how we will fare with the other challenges raised in these debates.

It is an extraordinary time to be alive. We have the ability to travel across the globe in a single day. We can communicate with the entire world from the palm of our hand. And we have the knowledge of just how marvelous the planet we inhabit is and how interconnected, and thus fragile, it all is.

Our lives and prosperity depend upon a stable climate. We are able to grow abundant food, drink fresh water and develop as a civilization because our planet features relatively consistent weather patterns. So, as the scientists have been telling us for quite a while now, it’s a big problem that our climate is becoming less and less stable. In the last few years, we’ve had more extreme weather events than ever in our history, costing America more than ever to deal with the consequences. And as you may have noticed, our weather is not what it used to be, from ponds no longer freezing each winter to planting and harvesting times out of whack.

What’s driving these changes and extreme weather events is climate disruption. There is overwhelming scientific consensus that human activity is driving the disruption to our climate and that our nation, sadly, is one of the major drivers. And it is abundantly clear that climate disruption will get exponentially worse if we don’t do anything about it…”

The speech goes on to map out the solutions that are at hand and the people who are already active. Worth reading in full – because you are never going to hear it delivered.

(That’s enough speeches. Ed)
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Cheap shots and expensive omissions

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