(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)
Alarming reports from a wide variety of science-based and international studies keep coming, warning us of disasters that lie ahead if the world fails to make massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
Recognizing this, on Sept. 20, millions of people around the world engaged in a “Climate Strike,” the largest climate protest in history.
Despite the dire urgency for action, the Climate Action Summit produced only modest pledges from a minority of nations. Not surprisingly, the United States was silent. President Trump did not participate in the summit, instead declaring at a separate U.N. gathering, “The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots. The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations.”
There are two fundamental issues here.
First, most nations of the world, many states and localities within the United States, even some corporations and the U.S. military, now recognize that we all face a profound global challenge. While several governments have taken preliminary steps toward altering their emissions, and even more have pledged to do so, these steps remain woefully inadequate if the world is to avoid cataclysmic outcomes.
Second, the United States government, led by the Trump administration and its fossil-fuel producing allies, not only has done nothing to ameliorate climate change, it is blatantly accelerating the race to destruction.
By itself, climate change has caused 150,000 deaths each year (according to findings of a team of health and climate scientists from the World Health Organization and the University of Wisconsin at Madison). That number could double in a decade, and has contributed to 5 million human illnesses every year.
That would seem to suggest that those political actors and fossil fuel producers who resist the necessary changes are guilty of crimes against humanity.
It’s Thursday, October 4, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?