Although the United States has been dragging its collective feet on global warming and climate change for too long, the Obama administration has been moving along, behind the scenes, raising the mpg (miles per gallon) rate of gasoline needed to power automobiles, capping the construction of coal-fired electricity plants, and yesterday, releasing a report that puts the issue squarely in the present, as opposed to some far-off future problem.
The Republicans, lead by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, continue to sing the worn-out chorus that 'it will make no difference what the U.S. does if other countries do nothing about global warming and climate change' to their brain-dead constituents, continuing a well-established pattern of denial and avoidance.
However, it was to eight television weather forecasters from around the country that the administration made their pitch yesterday, believing not only in the trust Americans place in those talking heads, but also in their capacity to put the story out in each and every broadcast. Some have even begun to include climate forecasts in their daily weather broadcasts, as a way to grow public awareness and public responsibility for measures that can and will reduce the carbon imprint we leave on the planet.
Canada, on the other hand, continues to lag behind the United States, with Ottawa clinging to the cliché that unless and until India and China sign on to some international pact, there is no need to take global warming and climate change seriously. And reports today indicate that our fossil fuel exports have jumped some 900%, making us one of the premier "petro" economies in the world, something that environmentalists cringe to learn, as the appetite for fossil fuels continues seemingly unabated. Here is the way the New York Times framed the story about the existing evidence of deep and profound changes that are already observable, and the conclusions that the administration's report draws from those changes:
The effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, scientists reported Tuesday, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects.
Such sweeping changes have been caused by an average warming of less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit over most land areas of the country in the past century, the scientists found. If greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane continue to escalate at a rapid pace, they said, the warming could conceivably exceed 10 degrees by the end of this century.
“Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the scientists declared in a major new report assessing the situation in the United States.