If we want to make greater headway in solving the climate crisis, perhaps every week should be Climate Week.
On Sunday, September 17, 75,000 people marched in the streets of New York City demanding that President Biden and other leaders take more action to stop the use of fossil fuels.
On Wednesday, UN Secretary General António Guterres convened a special climate summit in New York and shamed the biggest polluters in the world – the United States, China and India – by not inviting them to speak at the meeting.
On the same day, perhaps feeling the heat, President Biden announced the Federal government’s formation of the American Climate Corps, designed to train young people, with paid positions, in environmental work. The projects would include training in conservation and restoration, community climate resilience, and clean energy and energy-efficient technologies. The goal is to train young individuals so they have a viable path “to high-quality, good-paying clean energy and climate resilient jobs in the public and private sector,” the White House said in its statement announcing the program.
As reported in The New York Times, the only official from the U.S. asked to speak at the UN conference was California Gov. Gavin Newsom.
“The climate crisis is a fossil fuel crisis. It’s not complicated,” he said. “It’s the burning of oil, burning of gas, the burning of coal. We need to call that out. For decades, the oil industry has been playing each and everyone in this room for fools. Their deceit and denial going back decades has created the condition that persists here today.”
On September 15, as NPR reported, the state of California filed a sweeping lawsuit in state court in San Francisco against the largest oil producers in the world, Exxon Mobil, Shell, BP ConocoPhillips and Chevron, and also against the American Petroleum Institute, the oil industry’s biggest lobby. The lawsuit claims the defendants misled the public for decades about climate change and demands that they help pay for damage recovery in California caused by extreme weather and events caused by global warming.
“Oil and gas companies have privately known the truth for decades – that the burning of fossil fuels leads to climate change,” said Rob Bonta, California’s attorney general. “But (the companies) have fed us lies and mistruths to further their record-breaking profits at the expense of our environment. Enough is enough.”
Speaking at a New York Times sponsored climate conference on Thursday, former Vice President Al Gore was not his typically reserved self, proclaiming “We don’t have much time left to wake up and take action.”
Scientists have been saying for years that the world must drastically curtail fossil fuel emissions if we are to meet the stated goal of limiting average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial, 1880s level. Beyond that level of average temperature increase, it is predicted extreme heat and extreme weather-related events will make human adaptation even more difficult.
By now, we are all aware of this warning. We are just concluding a summer not to remember – the hottest summer in recorded human history, coupled with unprecedented extreme weather events around the globe, including the historically-deadly floods in Libya and the devastating wildfires in Canada and Hawaii, and the accompanying smoke which impacted millions.
“Our way of life, our civilization is at stake,” Gore said, his voice rising as he spoke. He urged everyone to take action. “This is a moment for people power. … It’s important to change the lightbulbs, but what’s really important is to become politically active.”
To sign up to receive information about the new Climate Corps, click here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/climatecorps/
We urge everyone to remain active in the fight, to write to President Biden and their federal, state, and local representatives to urge them to propose and support environmental legislation.
As former Vice President Gore said, the time for action is now.