Climate Change Requires Action. Not Just Words

(3BL Media/Justmeans) - The issue of climate change was mentioned in President Obama’s State of the Union address as a scientific fact. He also​ emphasized clean energy and transportation as part of the solution pack​ to avoid the worst consequences of climate chaos​. ​Obama ​also stressed the need to protect our air, water, natural resources and habitats.

John Kerry, Secretary of State, emphasized climate change when he addressed college students in Jakarta, Indonesia. He emphasized climate change is the “greatest challenge of our generation” and that we should not let the debate be hijacked by climate change deniers.

However, before we get overenthusiastic about the Obama administration’s words, we should look for some real action to tackle climate change. “Despite the President’s clear message about his desire for climate action, it’s evident that tide-turning change isn’t going to come from the public sector,"​ writes Sara Gutterman at Green Builder Media.

Gutterman adds that we're more likely to see change coming from individuals, such as the top economist and Columbia University Professor Graciela ​​Chichilnisky, who has dedicated her career to sustainable economic development.​ ​Chichilnisky​ authored the carbon market for the UN Kyoto Protocol, which became international law in 2005. She devised the concept of Basic Needs, a global sustainable development model used by the UN, and she acted as a US Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which received the 2007 Nobel Prize. ​​

Chichilnisky asserts that “The cause of climate change is our extraction-based economy, but the effect is not just economic, it’s also physical and geological. But scientists, engineers, geologists, and environmentalists can’t affect any kind of real change without help from economists.” ​ She adds that ​"global trade between nations grew since then 350% compared with growth of the global economy itself. This is the meaning of globalization. Capitalism inherently is a good system, but what we’re practicing today harkens back to Neocolonialism, a system in which rich nations (which represent just 20% of the global population today) demand the over-extraction of natural resources from poor countries.”​

Chichilnisky has also co-founfed Global Thermostat, an emerging company that has developed a low-cost way to simultaneously generate clean energy and remove carbon from ambient air. GT’s “carbon negative technology" can be integrated with legacy power plants, renewable energy plants, and manufacturing facilities ​Another individual who is putting his money where his mouth is to tackle climate change is Tom Steyer, a billionaire retired investor, announced he plans to spend as much as $100 milion during the 2014 election to put pressure on officials to take action. Steyer runs an organization called NextGen Climate Action, one of the largest outside groups in the United States.

As​ Kerry said, climate change is humanity's biggest challenge. As individuals, we can do our share, but it’s the macro-structure that needs to be redesigned. When voting, we need to make sure we support politicians who are committed to environmental preservation and reducing emissions.

Image credit: Green Builder Media