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Still struggling to grasp all the talk (and counter talk) about Climate Change or Global Warming? The facts can be understood although presentations may be complex. Read this for a bit of a head-start if you’re still struggling with the concept (or if you’re a USA Republican elected official).

A simple definition of climate change: it is a change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns when that change lasts for an extended period of time (i.e., decades to millions of years). Climate change may refer to a change in average weather conditions, or in the time variation of weather around longer-term average conditions (i.e., more or fewer extreme weather events).

Let’s look at the number “350” which is the number scientists say is the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, 350 parts per million (ppm). 

Right now, the atmosphere contains over 393 ppm of CO2 and going up about 2 ppm every year.

At 398 ppm of CO2 in our atmosphere, we’re already seeing massive climate disruption and devastating impacts, from the melting of the Arctic to the terrible floods and droughts of the last year. If we stay on our current pathway, CO2 levels could go up to as high as 700 ppm by the end of the century. That’s not a future we can leave for our children. Really!

112 countries around the world have adopted the 350 ppm target as their official negotiating position at the UN Climate Talks, but the biggest emitters, including the US, still refuse to recognize the scientific imperative of meeting this crucial red line for the planet.

The fact that Boston had record snowfall last year does NOT mean that climate change is not happening.  REALLY!

Climate change is loading the dice for more extreme weather events. Warmer air holds more water vapor than cold air, meaning worse droughts as the air absorbs that moisture, and more devastating floods as it a lets it loose in deluges.

We can’t ignore the increasingly sever weather. The extreme weather we’ve seen over the last few years is dangerous and not normal.

We owe it to our kids and grand-kids to protect them and that means addressing climate change before it becomes irreversible. Running away from tough problems only makes them worse.

In 2012, over 1,300 counties in the United States have been declared national disaster areas due to drought, losing billions of dollars in agricultural production, exports, jobs and income.

2014 was the hottest year on record. (2015 is well on the way to beat last year's numbers!)  In the United States, over 17,000 temperature records were broken across the country during the summer.

The nation’s top scientists say things are going to get worse and that climate change must be addressed now if we want to make sure our kids have a safe future.

Tar sands oil (the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is a 1,700 mile project that would carry tar sands from Canada to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico) is the most polluting form of oil on the planet, with far higher emissions than conventional crude. A top climate scientist, Dr. James Hansen at NASA, has said that burning the tar sands would mean “essentially game over” for the climate.

Keystone XL is a fuse to the largest carbon bomb on the planet, the Canadian tar sands.

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline would not improve our energy security since the oil is meant for export: that’s why they’re so intent on getting it to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. Real energy independence can only come from getting off oil entirely.

The Keystone XL tar sands pipeline puts the land and precious water supplies at risk. A previous tar sands pipeline spilled 17 times in its first year of operation.

Right now, TransCanada, the pipeline company, is attempting to build the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, but is meeting serious resistance from landowners and ranchers, especially in Texas where a citizen-led effort called Tar Sands Blockade is leading acts of principled civil disobedience against the project.

In order to build the northern leg of Keystone XL pipeline that would cross our border with Canada, TransCanada must receive a “presidential permit” from the Obama administration. The permit is currently under review by the State Department and other federal agencies.

President Obama promised to “end the tyranny of oil” and “help heal the planet.” He needs to make true on his promises, stand up to Big Oil, and reject Keystone XL.

We have the solutions to solve the climate crisis. Businesses and innovators around the world have developed renewable energy technologies, including everything from huge solar mirrors, new efficient wind turbines, and jet fuel made from rapidly growing algae.

Cities and communities across the planet are leading the fight against climate change, from keeping waste out of landfills to stop methane emissions to making government buildings more efficient.

Independent studies show that in the United States a sustained investment of public and private dollars in clean energy would generate 1.7 million new jobs in industries like construction for making homes and office buildings more efficient with new windows, lighting and cooling systems — and in manufacturing of solar panels, wind turbines, and electric vehicles.

Clean, renewable energy is a bright spot in the global economy. This industry is a success story that has resulted in job creation, scientific innovation, cleaner air, and a stronger manufacturing sector. When we invest in clean energy, we invest in a safer future, and we keep our money and jobs in our communities rather than padding the pockets of Big Oil.

And, we need to break the fossil fuel industry’s stranglehold over our democracy and our economy.

Oil company Super-PACs are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to influence elections and lobby Congress. They are attacking clean energy and rigging the system to protect their profits.

The fossil fuel industry is intentionally misleading the public about climate change. Exxon, for example, has paid 40 organizations to create doubt about the settled science of climate change, using some of the same PR people the tobacco companies used. They are manipulating the media to convince us that fossil fuels don’t hurt our environment. They’re lying.

The fossil fuel industry spends millions corrupting our politicians and then receive billions of dollars in subsidies every year from the American taxpayer.

Destroying our climate is a radical act and the fossil fuel industry is a rogue industry. It’s time for a grassroots movement that can confront them and create the clean energy future we need and want.

To grasp the seriousness of the climate crisis, you just need to do a little math. We have 5 times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We’d have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate.

At our current rate, we’ll blow through our 565-gigaton allowance in 16 years, around the time today’s preschoolers will be graduating from high school.

Once you “do the math,” there seems to be only one possible conclusion: the fossil fuel industry is Public Enemy Number One to the survival of our planetary civilization. The fossil-fuel industry is allowed to dump its main waste, carbon dioxide, for free. They have no economic incentive to stop business as usual.

Breaking the power of the fossil fuel industry is going to be difficult but not impossible. 

There is a lot more to it but the above should get your thinking started…   :-]

#climate #globalwarming #climatechange #environment 
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