Climate March Philadelphia July 2016

assembling before march
Assembling before the march. We're right next to City Hall, Philadelphia.

So, how's the climate change issue doing in comparison to four years ago? Pretty good, actually. "But in 2012, during his reelection campaign, President Obama was bragging about the fracking boom, and the Democratic Party platform touted his all-of-the-above energy policy." Back in May of this year, a vice-president for the American Petroleum Institute was bemoaning the lack of an "all-of-the-above" energy strategy from the Obama Administration. Obama and Clinton remain "cautious, mainstream Democrats," but they've definitely moved in the right direction over the past four years.

march begins
Yep, lots and lots of supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders on the march!

The Obama/Clinton efforts are still well short of what humanity needs. And unfortunately, the New York Times demonstrated an especially appalling nostalgic love for nuclear power. Nuclear power did this nation a great deal of good back in the day and we still run military ships and submarines with it, but it's fallen on hard times, not just because of the Fukshima disaster, where "the 11 March 2011 earthquake and tsunami devastated the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, causing three nuclear reactors to melt down and release radioactive plumes...', but because of renewables just plain beating nuclear power on price and availability. Even nuclear-friendly France "can’t build an affordable, on-schedule next generation nuclear plant" these days.

How does the Republican nominee for president, Donald Trump, feel about the issue of climate change? Apparently, it depends on whether it affects his business interests or not. His golf course on Doughmore Bay, Ireland, is considered a great risk to be affected by climate change, so Trump has requested permission to build a sea wall there. According to his public statements, though, climate change is a hoax. How about the Democratic Platform Committee? No comparison whatsoever. The Platform calls for a World War II-style mobilization that moves along the transition from fossil fuels to renewable as soon as possible.

The platform makes for the starkest possible contrast with a party that just nominated Donald Trump — a man who has called climate change a hoax invented by and for the Chinese, who has denied basic reality such as the drought in California, and who has vowed to (try to) scuttle the unanimous agreement by the world’s nations in Paris to take whatever measures are necessary to avert catastrophic warming and keep total warming “well below 2°C.”

How is climate change affecting things outside the US? The Himalayas aren't doing too well. They're sometimes referred to as the "Third Pole" because they hold an amount of frozen water comparable to the North and South Poles. The rate of ice melting has nearly doubled from what it was in 1960. "Professor Qin says in the past 48 years, the 226 glaciers in the Tiger Valley have lost 27 square kilometres of ice." 509 smaller glaciers have been lost entirely.


News from NASA isn't great, either. Records set for the shrinkage of sea ice and for the rise of global surface temperatures continue to be broken. So The World Economic Forum feels the critical solution is better and more efficient lighting methods as electric lights use up 19% of global electricity consumption. Scientific American said in 2014 that several solutions were already underway, among them clean power plants, controlling methane leaks (burned methane is fine, but unburned methane is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon is), tougher emission standards, greener farming and others.