Republicans Speak Out in Support of Renewable Energy and Against Fossil Fuel-Funded Climate Deniers
Some Republicans in states like Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Florida have been waging a war on solar, wind and other renewables, despite the fact that a strong majority of Americans support renewable energy. But conservatives are getting a bad rap from a few, vocal fossil-fuel-funded climate deniers, so says a group called Michigan Conservative Energy Forum. Their stance: We need to increase our commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency.
The group's executive director, Larry Ward, is a longtime Republican activist and conservative leader in Michigan. "Conservatives have solutions to our energy challenges, and contributions to make to the policy debate," says Ward. "It’s time that conservatives come to the table, make their voices heard and lead the way.”
Earlier this week, the group released a video in which prominent state Republicans discuss the need for their party to be involved in renewable energy discussions. In the video, State Sen. Tom Casperson says, "The Republicans and conservatives are not out to destroy the planet. We want to protect the planet like anybody else. Our families live here and work here as well."
"Conservatives take a look at the long view: How do we sustain our economy, how do we clean up our energy portfolio and secure longterm security for our citizens," says Rob Sisson, executive director of ConservAmerica, in the video. ConservAmerica's mission is to "educate the public and elected officials on conservative approaches to today’s environmental, energy and conservation challenges."
Conservative groups like these want it to be known that not all conservatives are "shills for the oil industry," as Obama recently said of those members of Congress—notably, James Inhofe and Marco Rubio—who refuse to accept the science on climate change.
Texas's energy policy is a great example of what groups like the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum call an "all of the above" approach, which recognizes the need to diversify the country's energy portfolio to include more renewable energy. The lone star state is known for its oil and gas wells, but it's also the leading state for renewable energy and the top producer of wind energy in the country. One city outside of Austin, Texas even has plans to go 100 percent renewable in the next two years.
In the end, everyone wants what's best for the kids. "I want my kids to have a secure future ... I think a good energy policy is a foundation for that in any economy," says Ed Rivet of the Michigan Conservative Energy Forum Leadership Council.
Watch the video here:
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A Game of Jenga<p>Think of it as a game of Jenga and the planet's climate system as the tower. For generations, we have been slowly removing blocks. But at some point, we will remove a pivotal block, such as the collapse of one of the major global ocean circulation systems, for example the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC), that will cause all or part of the global climate system to fall into a planetary emergency.</p><p>But worse still, it could cause runaway damage: Where the tipping points form a domino-like cascade, where breaching one triggers breaches of others, creating an unstoppable shift to a radically and swiftly changing climate.</p><p>One of the most concerning tipping points is mass methane release. Methane can be found in deep freeze storage within permafrost and at the bottom of the deepest oceans in the form of methane hydrates. But rising sea and air temperatures are beginning to thaw these stores of methane.</p><p>This would release a powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, 30-times more potent than carbon dioxide as a global warming agent. This would drastically increase temperatures and rush us towards the breach of other tipping points.</p><p>This could include the acceleration of ice thaw on all three of the globe's large, land-based ice sheets – Greenland, West Antarctica and the Wilkes Basin in East Antarctica. The potential collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is seen as a key tipping point, as its loss could eventually <a href="https://science.sciencemag.org/content/324/5929/901" target="_blank">raise global sea levels by 3.3 meters</a> with important regional variations.</p><p>More than that, we would be on the irreversible path to full land-ice melt, causing sea levels to rise by up to 30 meters, roughly at the rate of two meters per century, or maybe faster. Just look at the raised beaches around the world, at the last high stand of global sea level, at the end of the Pleistocene period around 120,0000 years ago, to see the evidence of such a warm world, which was just 2°C warmer than the present day.</p>
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The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major effect on the climate. Praetorius (2018)
Is it Time to Declare a Climate Emergency?<p>At what stage, and at what rise in global temperatures, will these tipping points be reached? No one is entirely sure. It may take centuries, millennia or it could be imminent.</p><p>But as COVID-19 taught us, we need to prepare for the expected. We were aware of the risk of a pandemic. We also knew that we were not sufficiently prepared. But we didn't act in a meaningful manner. Thankfully, we have been able to fast-track the production of vaccines to combat COVID-19. But there is no vaccine for climate change once we have passed these tipping points.</p><p><a href="https://www.weforum.org/reports/the-global-risks-report-2021" target="_blank">We need to act now on our climate</a>. Act like these tipping points are imminent. And stop thinking of climate change as a slow-moving, long-term threat that enables us to kick the problem down the road and let future generations deal with it. We must take immediate action to reduce global warming and fulfill our commitments to the <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Paris Agreement</a>, and build resilience with these tipping points in mind.</p><p>We need to plan now to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, but we also need to plan for the impacts, such as the ability to feed everyone on the planet, develop plans to manage flood risk, as well as manage the social and geopolitical impacts of human migrations that will be a consequence of fight or flight decisions.</p><p>Breaching these tipping points would be cataclysmic and potentially far more devastating than COVID-19. Some may not enjoy hearing these messages, or consider them to be in the realm of science fiction. But if it injects a sense of urgency to make us respond to climate change like we have done to the pandemic, then we must talk more about what has happened before and will happen again.</p><p>Otherwise we will continue playing Jenga with our planet. And ultimately, there will only be one loser – us.</p>
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