Moving forward on dealing with climate change

Many around the world have reacted favorably to the deal announced between the United States and China on addressing climate change. The details have created some discussion, but the overarching announcement is huge and could be a game changer if others follow suit. We are the biggest economies and polluters on the planet, so by making this demonstrative statement together, it is major step in the direction we need to go.

Attached is a link to an excellent summary on the “10 things you need to know from the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” report from the United Nations. This report clearly identifies the need to act more aggressively and we are well beyond the time move forward.

The naysayers have already begun their updated drone of a response. It will mean higher energy prices and cost jobs are the mantra. Two quick comments. First, the cost of renewable energy has dramatically declined and will continue to decline. So, the cost alarmists are overstating the impact. And, when the cost of doing nothing to address the issue is factored in, it will be cheaper to be proactive than reactive.

Second, this is not an either/ or jobs issue. There are jobs being created in renewable energy. In fact, there are more solar energy jobs in the United States than coal industry jobs as confirmed by Politifacts. Per Dawn Wallace of The Triangle Business Journal, in the third quarter of 2014:

“Across the nation, more than 18,000 clean-energy and clean-transportation jobs were announced in more than 20 states during the quarter, up from 12,000 announced in the second quarter. During last year’s third quarter, 15,000 jobs were announced, as calculated by national nonpartisan environmental policy group Environmental Entrepreneurs, or E2.”

Here are the top 5 states, with jobs created in the third quarter:

1. Nevada: 6,556

2. New York: 3,822

3. California: 2,070

4. Colorado: 1,333

5. North Carolina: 876

Rather than complain about the jobs that may be lost in the coal industry, the states where the industry is significant should have been reading the tea leaves starting ten years ago and planned ahead with a phase in to new clean energy jobs. This would have eased the transition. There is a lot of wind in the mountains where coal is mined, so wind energy as well as solar energy are there for the taking and it is not too late for coal energy states to move forward.

Of course, I am not a scientist, as the popular retort notes, but I am excited by this development of the US and China making a joint announcement to move forward.

7 thoughts on “Moving forward on dealing with climate change

  1. Don’t you just love the RepubliCANTS constant refrain that they are not a scientist? They are not licensed pilots, either. So does that mean they shouldn’t fly?

    This whole costing us jobs argument is just as bogus. Well said.

    • Thanks. I personally find it interesting that people who cling to the status quo actually impede planning to do something about the problem. The leaders in WVa, KY and PA should have been mapping a future migration to renewables.

  2. I worked for the governor in Idaho in the early ’80s, and these energy alternatives were the big topics of discussion then. I wish there had been more progress over the years. These are not new technologies, nor are they mysterious. The incentive to change has not been strong enough, so we keep dragging along as though it did not really matter. It matters! And has anyone else noticed it doesn’t appear China is doing anything until 2030, and I believe at that point they are going to think about it?

    • I was listening to a scientist on PBS Newshour, China is doing stuff already and will continue. They can see their problem in front of them. Plus, they are the world’s largest maker of solar photo-voltaic panels and wind mill turbines. The scientist noted that what they have to do is harder than what we have to do here in the states, although the impression many get from the deal is they are punting the ball. It should not be ironic that President Carter put solar panels on the White House and President Reagan took them down.

      • President Obama said in 2010 that he would bring the solar panels back. It wasn’t until late 2013 that work started with them finishing in May 2014.

      • Roseylinn, I was not aware of that. Thanks for sharing. I was reading a good article from Paul Krugman this morning and he notes the impact of the deal, even if sketchy on details. To many, it makes a huge statement that this stuff is real and the two biggest actors need to do something about it. The optimist that lies within me hopes that this will squelch the global warming is a hoax crowd, although the pessimist in me sees a denier (Seantor Imhofe) as head of an oversight committee in 2015. Thanks, BTG

  3. Note to Readers: We took my daughter and a friend to the Museum of Natural Science in our state capital in Raleigh, NC yesterday. What a delightful experience. Although, I am not a scientist, I found the multiple exhibits on climate change impact and the need to protect our environment extremely well done. It was of interest to me that the location of the museum is less than two football fields away from the offices of our General Assembly, who as a group, have not been very good stewards of our environment.

    Ironically, one of the climate change exhibits speaks to the science behind the potential rise in sea level of 39 inches (one meter) by 2100 and its impact on our coast and estuaries. You may recall from Stephen Colbert’s Report, that our General Assembly (again less than two hundred yards away), refused to accept a peer reviewed scientific report of 39 inches, accepting only a projection of 8 inches based on what happened last century. So, if you think about this, our kids attending this highly interactive museum will be in tune with climate change than our members of the General Assembly. Of course, I am not a scientist, but that is what I have gathered from my reading and trip.

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