We have five years to make a rapid and sweeping transition from fossil-fuels-based infrastructure before the world's climate passes the point of no return. That's not the ideologically motivated prognosticatin' of some socialist tree-spikers, mind you, but the International Energy Administration talking.
Writes the Guardian:
The world is likely to build so many fossil-fueled power stations, energy-guzzling factories and inefficient buildings in the next five years that it will become impossible to hold global warming to safe levels, and the last chance of combating dangerous climate change will be "lost for ever", according to the most thorough analysis yet of world energy infrastructure.
Anything built from now on that produces carbon will do so for decades, and this "lock-in" effect will be the single factor most likely to produce irreversible climate change, the world's foremost authority on energy economics has found. If this is not rapidly changed within the next five years, the results are likely to be disastrous.
"The door is closing," Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency, said. "I am very worried – if we don't change direction now on how we use energy, we will end up beyond what scientists tell us is the minimum [for safety]. The door will be closed forever."
It's curious that despite an increasingly shrill call being leveled from across the scientific community, the United States hasn't managed to get on board with the message coming from the lab coats or the planet (bill to date from climate-change-related natural disasters: $14 billion and rising.)
But with that stark warning from the IEA, really, how could President Obama not come out against the muy controversial Canadian tarsands pipeline proposal — as he did today, suggesting that the environmental cost needs to be tallied up before a good decision can be made. Talk is hovering over the potential damage that leaking heavy crude could do to wetlands and the nation's largest freshwater aquifer, the Ogallala, though the climate has been central to the message of the sustained resistance that has regularly descended on the White House before occupying was cool. None other than NASA climate scientist (and recent civil disobedient) James Hansen has warned tapping the carbon-rich tarsands represents a “game over” for the planet.
Interesting that Obama's moment of sanity follows by two days Obama's “other” announcement presenting oil and gas industry with an expansion of offshore drilling permits.
All those American GI Forum folks protesting in favor of the pipeline in Austin recently, not only did they seem to be dancing with them that bought them (to paraphrase the late Molly Ivins), but they're pushing for the wrong jobs.
Americans totally transformed our nation's industrial sector to box Hitler into a cold bunker a half century ago. Now that we need another swift and jobs-generating reconfiguration, what (but politics) is standing in our way?