Friday, September 19, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Per Capita Davis: Obama takes the lead on climate challenge

JohnMott-SmithW

By
From page A5 | July 05, 2013 |

It was back in 1990 when Bruce Springsteen first sang the song “57 Channels (And Nothin’ On).” I remember when it came out. I thought it was both hilarious and true. So much garbage on TV. I feel much the same way today, except that now, if one is willing to pay for them, there are hundreds of stations.

It seems that almost anything that happens on the planet is captured by camera and can become part of the news. But somehow the networks and people who choose from among all these possible stories focus on the disaster of the day, the bad accident, the terrible crime, the child who fell down a well or the regular citizen who performed a heroic act.

So it was with little surprise that I heard that President Obama’s speech on climate change at Georgetown University on June 25 was not broadcast on any of the major stations. Actually, it apparently was featured on one station: the Weather Channel.

With partisan gridlock foreclosing any progress on this issue in Congress one might think that a president taking matters into his own hands on such a crucial issue would be big news. No such luck. So, in case you didn’t happen to be watching the Weather Channel that day, I’m taking advantage of the massive circulation of The Davis Enterprise to describe the speech and spread the news. Of course, it’s also viewable at www.georgetown.edu.

The president framed his speech as a “Climate Challenge.” He briefly noted that the effects of climate change (increased ocean temperature, loss of arctic sea ice, sea level rise and higher global average temperatures) are no longer theoretical, they are with us now, and 97 percent of the scientific community acknowledges and accepts that the planet is getting hotter and humans are responsible for a huge part of that.

He also pointed out that whenever it was proposed that the environment could be protected without ruining the economy (Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, mpg standards for cars, preventing CFCs from destroying the ozone, etc.), the response of special interests has been to forecast doom and gloom for the economy and jobs. But the lesson of history is that the naysayers have always been wrong. The president urged: “Don’t fear the future; seize it.”

Obama outlined his “Climate Challenge” in six parts covering three basic themes: use less dirty energy, build more clean energy and use energy more efficiently.

First, regulate carbon pollution from new and existing power plants, the single largest source of our emissions. He pointed out that the Clean Air Act, enacted in 1970, was passed unanimously in the Senate and by a vote of 375-1 in the House of Representatives and was signed into law by a Republican president, Richard Nixon. More recently, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2007 that carbon dioxide is a pollutant and the Environmental Protection Agency can regulate it.

Second, increase production and use of natural gas as a “transition fuel” to bridge to a longer term goal (see below). It was at this stage of his speech that he dropped the bombshell that approval of the Keystone pipeline from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico would require a finding that it did not substantially exacerbate the problem of climate change. Articulation of this standard was (is) big news.

Third, increase the use of renewable energy sources for electrical power. Specifically, the president proposed: green-lighting photovoltaic projects on federal land to provide enough electricity for 6 million homes by 2020; generating 3 gigawatts of electricity from solar installations on military bases; and asking Congress to end tax breaks for oil companies, instead directing those funds to development of renewables.

Fourth, improve the efficiency with which we currently use energy by increasing building and appliance efficiency standards and mpg requirements for vehicles. The president set a goal of reducing energy use in federal buildings and vehicles by at least 20 percent by 2020. In a separate recent announcement, the federal government indicated it will double the number of hybrid vehicles in its fleet to 20,000, thereby saving a million gallons of fuel per year.

Fifth, acknowledge that the effects of climate change are with us now, and will continue to be no matter how many or how strong our mitigation efforts. The president pledged to prepare for these effects through various “adaptation” measures, including requiring that all federally funded projects incorporate responses to sea level rise, increased temperature, etc.

Sixth, Obama noted that the United States can’t solve the climate challenge itself; other countries also must do their part. Along these lines, he indicated that it was time to end public subsidies for financing coal plants in other countries, which knew this was happening in the first place.

Finally, he described his commitment to the issue by stating, “I don’t have patience for those who deny the problem. We don’t have time for a meeting of the Flat Earth Society.”

He concluded by urging citizens to get involved, to speak up at public meetings, and to make responding to climate change a condition of their vote for elected officials.

— John Mott-Smith is a resident of Davis; his column is published on the first and third Thursdays of each month. Send comments to johnmottsmith@comcast.net

Comments

comments

John Mott-Smith

.

News

Grant means new push for moving tracks out of town

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Some say council needs to reconsider MRAP

By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1

UC to create $250 million venture capital fund

By San Francisco Chronicle | From Page: A1

 
School district may redevelop downtown site

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A1

 
Master Gardeners share their wisdom at free workshops

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

Scots vote to stay in UK

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
France strikes Islamic State group’s depot in Iraq

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Man faces arson charge in huge California wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
DUI suspected in crash

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

Woodland Healthcare offering flu shots

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Putah Creek Bike Path to close temporarily

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Little Free Libraries open at Montgomery

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A3

Project Linus seeks donations

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Rabid bat found at Holmes Junior High

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Students invited to apply for Blue & White grants

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Halloween costume sale benefits preschool

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Telling tales, on ‘Davisville’

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Volunteers sought to make veggie bags

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Storyteller will draw on music, dance

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Free workout class set at library

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Explorit: Lots of ways to be a volunteer

By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Sierra Club remembers longtime walker

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
DHS Classes of 1954 and 1955 will hold 60th reunion

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Nonprofits can get DCN’s help

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Register to vote by Oct. 20

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis maps available at Chamber office

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Need a new best friend?

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Reception benefits endangered gorillas

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
Downtown history tour planned in October

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Davis hosts its own climate change rally

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Sutter Farmers Market offers local goods

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8 | Gallery

Wolk applauds approval of stronger rules for olive oil

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
Qigong classes available for heart health

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

.

Forum

Sick of being the bad guy

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

Return to previous plan

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Save the ‘pine cone place’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Affirm our community values

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Project has safety risks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Learn more about Paso Fino

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Educate homeless with dogs

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6, 1 Comment

Cheers and Jeers: Not the end of the rainbow

By Our View | From Page: A6

 
.

Sports

Aggies’ new energy could be scary for Big West

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
No rest for the weary: Aggie TE Martindale busy on and off the field

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Devils hope the light bulb turns on at Edison

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
River Cats and Giants sign two-year deal

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

Blue Devil volleyballers hold off Herd

By Spencer Ault | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Take Zona and Bama this week

By Bob Dunning | From Page: B2

Mustangs are no match for DHS boys in water polo

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2

 
A’s slide continues as Rangers sweep

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

.

Features

Name Droppers: Awards keep coming for UC Davis retiree

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Business

Redesigned 2015 Escalade remains breed all its own

By Ann M. Job | From Page: B3 | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

Carol L. Walsh

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Comics: Friday, September 19, 2014

By Creator | From Page: A10

 
.

Real Estate Review

Featured Listing

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER1

Professional Services Directory

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER2

Taylor Morrison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER3

Malek Baroody

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER4

Norcal Land

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER5

Robin Garland

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER6

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Dana Hawkins

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER7

Martha Bernauer

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Joe Kaplan

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Lynne Wegner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER8

Remax

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER9

Melrina A Maggiora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER10

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Julie Leonard

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER11

Coldwell Banker

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER12

Kim Eichorn

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER14

Lyon Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER15

Marcelo Campos

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Julie Partain

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Jamie Madison & Associates

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER16

Kim Merrel Lamb

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Bob Bockwinkel

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Juan Ramirez

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER17

Chris Snow

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

James Hanna

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER18

Raul Zamora

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Susan von Geldern

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER19

Travis Credit Union

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER20

Jamie Madison

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Karen Waggoner

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER21

Tracy Harris

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

Lisa Haass

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER22

First Street Real Estate

By Zack Snow | From Page: RER24