Year 3, Month 4, Day 10: People Get Ready…

The Salt Lake Tribune praises the city’s initiatives on climate change:

Climate change should be a matter of science, not politics. But only changes in public policy, which is often determined by political ideology, can reduce the human-caused warming that is threatening ecosystems around the globe.

In the end, governments, large and small, will be forced to confront the vast upheavals that climate change can bring if we don’t act now to curb greenhouse-gas emissions.

That’s why it’s important that Salt Lake City is supporting a growing movement among cities to urge President Barack Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency to invoke the Clean Air Act to place limits on carbon emissions. The City Council and Mayor Ralph Becker collaborated on a resolution urging the federal agency to “swiftly employ and enforce” the act. Only Councilman Carlton Christensen voted against it.

The need to act is underscored by a new report on severe weather events related to global warming coming from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The panel, founded by the United Nations in 1988, is focusing for the first time on extreme weather changes, which have increased in number and intensity in recent decades.

Weather disasters including drought, flooding, hurricanes and rising seas cost the U.S. government an average of $3 billion a year in the 1980s. In the past 10 years, that figure has skyrocketed to $20 billion a year, adjusted for inflation.

Read the comments on this article if you want to be seriously depressed. Sent April 3:

Successful approaches to climate change must be polycentric — operating at multiple levels of geographical scale, from the individual home all the way to the national and global.

Urban initiatives like Salt Lake City’s are essential components of the total picture; without the engagement of cities, any attempt at mitigation and adaptation is doomed to failure. Similarly, no progress can take place without the commitment of dedicated people, families and communities, working together to reduce their carbon footprints and prepare for the infrastructural and agricultural disruptions that are now inescapable.

But none of these will make sense without broader-scale government support. Just as the planetary environment supports a vast range of diverse and interdependent ecosystems, only federal government action can support the wide range of individual, local, and regional initiatives that are necessary to address the slowly unfolding catastrophes that are the inevitable consequences of the burgeoning greenhouse effect.

Warren Senders


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