Tick, tick, tick, …
(1896) It’s been 119 years since the scientist Svante Arrhenius published his formula for the greenhouse effect, and the idea that the burning of coal, by adding CO2 to the atmosphere, would raise the earth’s average temperature.
(1900) It’s been 115 years since the turn of the 20th century, when Nikola Tesla, the visionary inventor who devoted his life to making abundant, clean energy for humanity, gave his outlook on energy sources:
- Coal: “[T]o burn coal, however efficiently … would be a phase in the evolution toward something much more perfect. After all, in generating electricity in this manner, we should be destroying material, and this would be a barbarous process.”
- Water: Evidently all electrical energy obtained from a waterfall … is a net gain to mankind, which is all the more effective as it is secured with little expenditure of human effort …
- Geothermal: Another way of getting motive power from the medium without consuming any material would be to utilize the heat contained in the earth, the water, or the air for driving an engine. …
- Wind: … [S]ince time immemorial man has had at his disposal a fairly good machine which has enabled him to utilize the energy of the ambient medium. This machine is the windmill. Contrary to popular belief, the power obtainable from wind is very considerable. …
- Solar: A far better way, however, to obtain power would be to avail ourselves of the sun’s rays, which beat the earth incessantly and supply energy at a maximum rate of over four million horsepower per square mile. … [A]n inexhaustible source of power would be opened up by the discovery of some efficient method of utilizing the energy of the rays.
(1979) It’s been 36 years since President Jimmy Carter spearheaded a national solar energy program, and installed solar panels on the White House roof. But a few years later, his successor, President Ronald Reagan, gutted the solar energy program, and removed the solar panels from the White House roof. Reagan went on to become an icon of the modern Republican Party, also known as the “Grand Oil Party.”
(1979) It’s been 36 years since the UN convened the First World Climate Conference, which led to the creation, 27 years ago, of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC creates the world’s foremost comprehensive climate report.
(1988) It’s been 27 years since NASA scientist Jim Hansen, during a heat-wave in D.C., warned Congress that the greenhouse effect, strengthened mainly by CO2 released in burning fossil fuels, was almost certainly the main cause of global warming, and that we were beginning to see the effects in more extreme weather events, such as heat waves.
(1990) It’s been 25 years since the IPCC issued its first assessment report, which stated:
Emissions resulting from human activities are substantially increasing the atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and nitrous oxide. These increases will enhance the greenhouse effect, resulting on average in an additional warming of the Earth’s surface. …
The report warned that:
Increases in atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases may lead to irreversible change in the climate which could be detectable by the end of this century.
In following reports, comprising more-and-more knowledge, the likelihood of the observed average global warming being due to human greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (mostly fossil fuel use) has risen:
- 1990 – Some warming results from human GHG emissions.
- 1995 – Growing confidence that a significant part of warming due to human GHG emissions.
- 2001 – Likely (66% certainty) most of warming due to human GHG emissions.
- 2007 – Very likely (90% certainty) most of warming due to human GHG emissions.
- 2013 – Extremely likely (95 to 100% certainty) dominant cause of warming due to human GHG emissions.
(1992) It’s been 23 years since the Earth Summit in Rio produced the world-wide treaty, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to “stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”.
(1992) It’s been 23 years since then-Senator Al Gore published the book “Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit,” which called for a “global Marshall Plan,” making “rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization.” It’s been 15 years since Gore officially lost the presidential election to Grand Oil Party candidate George W. Bush. While Gore did not make global warming the central organizing principle of his campaign, he did favor urgent action. Bush favored no action on global warming until having “all the facts.” And, indeed, during eight years as president, he took virtually no action, except to prevent addressing the problem.
(1997) It’s been 18 years since the Kyoto Protocol was signed, setting legally binding GHG emissions cuts for developed countries. At the same time, it was declared “dead on arrival” by Grand Oil Party Senate leaders, leaving the United States as the only country to sign but not ratify the treaty. It’s been 14 years since President George W. Bush officially withdrew the U.S. from the Kyoto treaty. It’s been ten years since the Kyoto Protocol took effect, with enough ratifying countries to comprise 55% of world GHG emissions.
(2008) It’s been seven years since 350.org formed to organize a bottom-up movement around the goal of paring down CO2 atmospheric concentration from what was then 386 parts per million to less than 350 ppm, in order “to preserve a livable planet.” It’s been two years since the measured concentration first breached 400 ppm, and just weeks since the monthly global average registered 400 ppm.
(2008) It’s been seven years since Ohio — with a government split between the two big parties — passed some of the strongest standards in the country for clean energy and energy efficiency. It’s been one year since Ohio — with a government totally run by the Grand Oil Party — rolled-back all of those standards.
(2008) It’s been seven years since the spectacle of the Grand Oil Party’s McCain-Palin presidential campaign, with the battle cry of "Drill, Baby, Drill", got drubbed by voters.
(2009) It’s been about six years since, while driving on I-71 South to Columbus, I slowly passed what seemed like hundreds of cars parked on the shoulder, all waiting for an utter downpour to let up. I may have seen a downpour or two like that in the 20th century, but in the 21st they seem to come much more often. Another thing that, to my memory, is new in the 21st century — winter thunderstorms.
(2009) It’s been six years since U.S. Senate Democrats tried to advance a law to limit greenhouse gases to 20% under 2005 levels by 2020 — a cut 7% under that of Kyoto. The bill would have given the U.S. a respectable position at the upcoming Copenhagen climate meeting. The committee meeting for work on the bill was boycotted by all committee members of the Grand Oil Party.
(2010) It’s been five years since the 2010 Cancún agreements, which set a target that future global warming should be limited to below 2.0 °C (3.6 °F) more than the pre-industrial temperature.
(2011) It’s been four years since Ohio governor John Kasich, of the Grand Oil Party, took the reins, and began carrying out two of his pet policies: canceling the Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati passenger train, and opening up the state parks to fracking.
(2012) It’s been three years since Hurricane Sandy sat with its eye off the coast of New Jersey, battering the Eastern Seaboard, and at the same time, some 500 miles (805 km) away, whipping the southern Lake Erie shore. Fed by the warmer ocean waters and ushered in by the loopier jet stream to join forces with a storm from the west, Hurricane Sandy had become a monster blowing tropical storm force winds over its thousand mile breadth.
(2014) It’s been a year since Naomi Klein published the book “This Changes Everything,” which, after examining tries at working within the capitalist system with market-based solutions and the big ideas of would-be beneficent billionaires, finds
… that no one is going to step in and fix this [climate] crisis; that if change is to take place it will only be because leadership bubbled up from below.
(2014) It’s been one-half year since the presidents of the world’s two most GHG-emitting countries — the U.S. and China — agreed on a plan to reduce greenhouse gases.
(2014) It’s been one-half year since some 400,000 persons took to the streets of New York City — joined by many more around the world — for the People’s Climate March.
(2015) It’s been just weeks since:
- Pope Francis met with economists, scientists, religious leaders and government leaders, and declared his intent to issue an encyclical to teach the Catholic faithful about the moral duty to arrest global warming.
- Grand Oil Party members in the U.S. House passed a bill that cut funding for solar and wind energy and boosted funding for fossil fuels.
- Tesla Motors, named after Nikola Tesla, began briskly selling its new battery that will enable buildings to store daytime solar energy for later use at night.
- the “Paddle in Seattle,” where people rowed their kayaks to block Shell Oil’s ship from taking a big oil rig up to drill in the newly-open waters of the Arctic Ocean.
- the California PTA resolved to make climate change, being a threat to children, a priority in the science curriculum.
- Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) gave his 100th weekly floor speech on climate change, which threatens the “Ocean State’s” 400 miles of coast with higher and warmer waters.
- our warmer planet has produced historic extreme heat in India, historic rain and flooding in Oklahoma and Texas, and wide-ranging wildfires in Alberta.
- the ExxonMobil shareholders meeting where CEO Rex Tillerson nixed the idea of his company investing in renewable energy, saying that without subsidies, “they really don’t make money.”
- a study out of the International Money Fund (IMF) figured fossil fuel subsidies — including pollution and global warming effects — at $5.3 TRILLION worldwide (6.5% of global GDP). The U.S.A. accounts for $700B of that total.
- the French foreign minister stated that this year’s global climate agreement, to be adopted in December in Paris, must have “a formula which is valuable for everybody and valuable for the U.S. without going to the Congress,” recognizing that Grand Oil Party senators would block any climate treaty.
(2015) It’s been just days since:
- leaders at the G7 meeting in Bavaria agreed to “a decarbonisation of the global economy over the course of this century.”
- National Climate Mobilization Day, where people joined planned events across the nation to call for a World War II type mobilization to protect the climate, and cut net GHG emissions to zero by 2025.
After all these years of warnings and planning, with ever-increasing GHG concentrations and ever-worsening weather, rising seas, and melting ice formations, we still don’t have a working world-wide action plan to cut GHG emissions and keep global warming to a fairly livable level. What can everyday people do? Those with the will and the way can join the uprising at 350.org or The Climate Mobilization. And every adult citizen of the U.S.A. should, at the very least, be sure to vote, and vote out the Grand Oil Party.
Svante Arrhenius published “The Discovery of Global Warming – Greenhouse Speculations: Arrhenius and Chamberlin” by Spencer Weart; The American Institute of Physics; 2003-2015
devoted his life “Nikola Tesla Sought Abundant, Clean Energy for Humanity” by Quinn Hungeski; The Paragraph; 2010-09-23
gutted the solar energy program “Where Did the Carter White House’s Solar Panels Go?” By David Biello; Scientific American; August 6, 2010
become an icon “Ronald Reagan Remains Potent Republican Icon” by Jim Malone; Voice of America; February 09, 2011
Grand Oil Party “How the ‘Grand Oil Party’ Got Its Name” by Quinn Hungeski; The Paragraph; 2006-08-16
First World Climate Conference “World Climate Conferences” – The World Meteorological Organization
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change The World Meteorological Organization
during a heat-wave “His Bold Statement Transforms the Debate On Greenhouse Effect” By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD; The New York Times; August 23, 1988
warned Congress Statement of Dr. James Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies – Presented to United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources – June 23, 1988 (pdf)
first assessment report IPCC First Assessment Report Overview (pdf)
1995 Climate Change 1995 – The Science of Climate Change – Contribution of Working Group I to the Second Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (588 page pdf)
2001 “Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report” – IPCC
2007 “Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report” – IPCC
2013 IPCC, 2013: Summary for Policymakers. In: Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of
Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
produced the world-wide treaty “First steps to a safer future: Introducing The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change” – United Nations
Earth in the Balanceby Sen. Al Gore; via OCLC WorldCat
officially lost “Bush v. Gore’s Dark American Decade” By Robert Parry; Consortium News; December 12, 2010
favor urgent action “October 11, 2000 Debate Transcript – The Second Gore-Bush Presidential Debate” – Commission on Presidential Debates
took virtually no action “Bush’s Global Warming Foot-Dragging” By Robert Parry; June 1, 2007
Kyoto Protocol Wikipedia
declared “dead on arrival” “Senate Republicans Call Kyoto Pact Dead” By Helen Dewar and Kevin Sullivan; The Washington Post; December 11, 1997
Bush officially withdrew “The Kyoto Protocol – History” – a report out of Mount Holyoke College
formed to organize350.org – About – What We Do
less than 350 ppm Publication Abstract – Hansen et al. 2008 – NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies
first breached “The World’s Carbon Dioxide Levels Just Hit a Staggering New Milestone” By Inae Oh; Mother Jones;May 6, 2015
with a government split “127th Ohio General Assembly” – Wikipedia
passed some of the strongest standards “The battle of Ohio: clean energy vs. coal” by Richard Martin; Fortune; OCTOBER 9, 2014
with a government totally run “130th Ohio General Assembly” – Wikipedia
under the banner of “Drill, Baby, Drill” ““Drill baby, drill”: The moment the Republic died” BY JOE ROMM; Climate Progress; SEPTEMBER 5, 2008
drubbed by voters “United States presidential election, 2008” – Wikipedia
tried to advance a law “Germany’s Merkel urges binding U.N. climate deal” by Alister Doyle and Gerard Wynn; Reuters; November 4, 2009
set a target “International climate change negotiations – Key lessons and next steps” – Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment; University of Oxford; July 2011
canceling the Cleveland-Columbus-Cincinnati passenger train “Feds to Ohio: Your high-speed rail project is officially dead (and New York thanks you)” by Stephen Koff; Northeast Ohio Media Group; 2010-12-09
opening up the state parks “After Years Of Planning, Kasich Says He Never Wanted To Frack State Parks” by Joseph; Plunderbund; February 19, 2014
Hurricane Sandy sat “Oct. 29, 2012 – NASA Examines Hurricane Sandy as it Affects the Eastern U.S.” – NASA
whipping the southern Lake Erie shore “ONE YEAR AGO: Hurricane Sandy leaves its mark on Northern Ohio” by Mark Johnson; newsnet5.com; Oct 30, 2013
Fed by the warmer ocean waters “Hurricane Sandy mixes super-storm conditions with climate change” by Kevin Trenberth; The Conversation; October 28, 2012
ushered in “Why did Hurricane Sandy take such an unusual track into New Jersey?” by Dr. Jeff Masters; Weather Underground; October 31, 2012
This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein; 2014
agreed on a plan “U.S. and China Reach Climate Accord After Months of Talks” By MARK LANDLER; The New York Times; NOV. 11, 2014
some 400,000 “Hundreds Of Thousands Turn Out For People’s Climate March In New York City” by Nick Visser; The Huffington Post; 09/21/2014
Pope Francis met “Pope Francis Unlikely to Sway Catholic Republicans on Climate Change” By Katherine Bagley; InsideClimate News; May 1, 2015
passed a bill “‘Pollute at Will’ Bill Enjoys Widespread Support From House Republicans” By Katherine Bagley; InsideClimate News; May 6, 2015
began briskly selling “Tesla Announces New Product To ‘Fundamentally Change The Way The World Uses Energy’” BY SAMANTHA PAGE; Climate Progress; MAY 1, 2015
rowed their kayaks “Paddle in Seattle: Protest against Shell Arctic drilling (+video)” By Martha Bellisle; Associated Press; MAY 16, 2015
the California PTA resolved “Climate Change Lands on Agenda of the PTA” By Katherine Bagley; InsideClimate News; May 19, 2015
gave his 100th weekly floor speech “Sen. Whitehouse gives his 100th climate change speech. More senators should emulate him” by Meteor Blades; Daily Kos; MAY 19, 2015
warmer planet has produced “Weather Extremes Wear Climate Change’s Fingerprints” By Katherine Bagley; InsideClimate News; May 29, 2015
CEO Rex Tillerson nixed “Exxon, Chevron Reject Shareholder Measures on Climate Change Again” By Elizabeth Douglass; InsideClimate News; May 28, 2015
figured fossil fuel subsidies “Fossil fuels subsidised by $10m a minute, says IMF” – The Guardian
French foreign minister stated “French minister: 2015 climate deal must avoid US Congress” By SYLVIE CORBET and KARL RITTER; The Missoulian; June 01, 2015
agreed to “a decarbonisation “Leadersʼ Declaration G7 Summit Germany” via Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; 8 June 2015
National Climate Mobilization Day The Climate Mobilization
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By Quinn Hungeski, TheParagraph.com, Copyright (CC BY-ND) 2015
The consequences of this shameful neglect of our stewardship of the earth are becoming more painful every year. My heart breaks to think what my granddaughter will be inheriting from us. Thank you for this clear-eyed, well-documented history of the war between human intelligence–studying and finding alternative energy sources–and human greed.