Climate change leadership

Clyde Burnett, Nederland.  Historically, it was the Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius, in 1896, who performed the paper and pencil calculation predicting a 5-6 degree Celsius global temperature increase if the CO2 atmospheric concentration were to double.

Then in 1950, it was the oceanographer Roger Revelle at La Jolla who realized that we were performing a geophysical experiment to determine the actual danger of a CO2 increase. So, in 1950, Charles Keeling began the CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa that are continuing today. Now we have the research of our most prominent climate scientists from James Hansen of NASA Goddard and Columbia University, to Richard Alley and Michael Mann of Penn State, to Susan Solomon of Boulder NOAA, to Katherine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University. They have served in leadership roles from warnings to Congress, to co-chairman of the IPCC, to NSF sponsored “Earth: The Operator’s Manual”, to serve with President Obama in a South Lawn climate presentation interview.

Question: Do we have other civilian leaders?

Answer: Al Gore of The Inconvenient Truth and Our Choice and The Climate Reality Project, Bill McGibben of, Pope Francis in his encyclical “Laudato si”, and Leonardo DiCaprio who made the film “Before the Storm”.

California’s campaign is to reduce CO2 in the state by 40% below the 1990 level by 2030. Governor Brown has vowed, “California is not turning back. Not now, not ever.”

President Obama, after unsuccessful compromise with Congress, has made important administration rulings to mitigate the climate change by CO2 increase, and the administration of FEMA to adapt to the ongoing climate change disasters. His leadership in the Paris Conference in 2015 was instrumental in proceeding with international steps to stem the global temperature to 2oC or less. In January, he continued the investment of $500 Million in support of developing countries to adapt to the dangers of climate change.

Question: Are there other countries that lead in mitigation of climate change?

Answer: Prominent examples include Germany with support of solar energy and research in nuclear fusion with the Stellerator. Most prominent is China, with the manufacture of solar and wind energy equipment and the beginning of control of coal-powered energy in response to pollution pressures.
Conversely, our television and print media have completely failed in acknowledging the existence and dangers of climate change. This effectively supports climate deniers and the fossil fuel lobby. The local news channels’ weather and the Weather Channel have avoided mention of climate change. In January, Mike Nelson, chief meteorologist of Denver ABC Channel 7, has broken the silence with his essays on the ABC website. His leadership efforts have been republished in the prestigious Yale Climate Change Communication.

Unfortunately, climate change deniers in politics and the electorate see few followers of these scientific or citizen activists. The extreme weather events, sea level rise, worldwide climate disasters, and the confused, and perhaps desperate, response of some of our beautiful creatures have failed to convince citizens of the reality of dangerous climate change. Poor science education background is believed to make the argument of energy imbalance from infrared trapping of little attraction to potentially concerned citizens. Arguments to consider problems for children and grandchildren as well as the health of the planet apparently carry little weight. Current concerns of the next generation are not readily apparent. The United States is losing environmental leadership now and in the future due to Federal Climate policies excused by citizen confusion and apathy.