Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation 

Working for peace, social justice and principled nonviolence since 1976

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The Politics of the Climate Crisis

The US government  repeatedly prevents necessary action on the climate crisis:  The U.S. never ratified the Kyoto Protocol – not under Clinton-Gore, not under Bush-Cheney, and not under Obama-Biden.  The United Nations has sponsored several global conferences to address the climate crisis in recent years, including global conferences in Kyoto, Japan;  Copenhagen, Denmark;   and Durban, South Africa.  The U.S. and other major polluters prevent each global conference from taking necessary action, and all they do is hope for better results at the next conference.  Meanwhile, the problem gets worse, and time is running out before climate catastrophe becomes irreversible. 

US and other polluting governments repeatedly fail to respond to the climate crisis:  If we want to limit damage to the climate to less than a catastrophe, we must absolutely must keep temperature increases to less than 2 degrees Celsius (about 3 degrees Fahrenheit).  Before the global climate conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, leading scientists were insisting that we must start reducing emissions by 2015 if we are to reach the 2-degree Celsius limit.  The Copenhagen conference failed to do that.  The next global climate conference occurred in Durban, South Africa.  The extremely weak deal reached in Durban will PREVENT us from meeting this target.

Urge Congress to seriously deal with the climate crisis:  For a long time all of the US’s Congresses and Presidents have failed to take the climate crisis seriously.  While the crisis escalates into life-threatening dangers for humans, other species and entire ecosystems, Congress – which is practically owned by fossil fuel companies and Wall Street – refuses to acknowledge scientific realities and refuses to protect us from devastation.  Now Representative Jim Moran (VA) is introducing a resolution that acknowledges that human activity contributes to climate change, that its impacts will be harmful if those activities are unabated, and asks representatives to commit to discussing and considering solutions.  Is your US Representative co-sponsoring it?  The Quaker-based Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL – www.fcnl.org) is one of many organizations urging support.  See www.fcnl.org/issues/energy  about this effort and www.350.org for more information about the climate crisis.

Obama Enthusiastically Supports Keystone XL Pipeline and “Drill, Baby, Drill” Policy Rather than Protect Human Health, Ecosystems and the Climate:  On March 21, 2012, President Obama stood in a TransCanada pipeline yard and issued a new Executive Order “expediting” the permit process for the Southern half of the Keystone XL pipeline that will carry extremely dirty and climate-destroying Canadian tar sands.  He also announced, “You have my word that we will keep drilling everywhere we can.”  Who would have thought that Sarah Palin (“Drill, baby, drill!”) was President?  Obama has received more than $1.2 million from the oil industry during his brief political career.  He knows the campaign rhetoric to use when talking to his political base, but his new Executive Order is another massive subsidy to Big Oil because his “fast-track” will exempt them from having to obey laws protecting human health or the environment.  Obama also has allowed oil companies to drill in a number of very sensitive areas.  Furthermore, instead of providing gasoline for Americans, the Gulf Coast refineries will export Canadian tar sands’ oil to other countries.  Information:  Oil Change International, 236 Massachusetts Ave NE #203, Washington, DC 20002 (202) 518-9029  www.priceofoil.org

Barack Obama has drifted away from the climate issue:  The website www.climatesilence.org includes a graph at http://climatesilence.org/graph/ showing that “Although Barack Obama sprinkles his speeches with mentions of energy and climate, he has remained stubbornly silent on the immediate and profound task of phasing out a carbon-based economy. His failure to connect the dots and do the math imperils our nation and prevents the development of a national and global plan to respond to the most urgent challenge of our era. It's time for his climate silence to end.”  This fascinating graph tracks the statements of Obama and Mitt Romney for the past several years, leading up to nearly the end of the 2012 election campaign. 

Interesting Mother Jones article about benefits to political candidates who speak out on behalf of the climate: http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/10/swing-voters-climate-change-issue



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