It’s been a couple of months since my last post and the break from the weekly routine has been rewarding. Everyone should take a vacation now and then to recharge their batteries.
A lot has happened in the last couple of months. Personally, I participated in a 4-day electrical blackout and no water in Texas. Thank you, Texas leadership, for your decisions to deregulate the energy industry and especially your decision to maintain the independence of the Texas electrical grid. Gotta love that cheap, unreliable power. As former governor Rick Perry said, Texans would gladly go without power for a few days to maintain their independence from federal oversight. Not me! And I’m not so sure many would agree with him.
On a more positive note, I’ve been very pleased with the appointments and early steps of the Biden administration, especially related to climate change. During the campaign, Biden was not seen as the most climate focused candidate but his actions to incorporate climate change into every department of government is promising. And there is a lot to be done.
For example, a recent Associated Press story reported, based on data from the International Energy Agency, “Global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions rose 2% in December compared with the same month of 2019, indicating the sharp drop seen due to the pandemic was short-lived. Scientists have previously calculated that emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for global warming, fell by 7 percent during the full year 2020 as people stayed at home because of the pandemic. The U.N. Environment Program has said such a decline would be needed every year (emphasis added) for the next decade if the world is going to stay on track to meet the Paris climate accord’s goal of keeping average temperatures from rising by 2 degrees Celsius.” This most recent data suggest that is unlikely to happen.
I had intended to restart my blog in April, coinciding with Earth Day. The Biden administration has announced it would present its goals and climate commitments to the U.N. during that time-frame. But I came across a New York Times article I wanted to share now. It’s a 5-6 minute read entitled Climate Change Is Complex. We’ve Got Answers to Your Questions. It’s a tutorial on climate change presenting 17 questions and answers. It’s in three parts: Part 1: What is Happening? Part 2: What Could Happen? Part 3: What Can We Do? Click the link. I highly recommend reading this.
One of the things this article suggests is sharing a copy with 50 of your friends. I think this is a great idea. Implementing climate change policies requires large-scale collective actions and public support is critical. In an earlier post (The Most Important Thing You Can Do) I suggested talking about climate change with your neighbors and friends. That might be challenging if you feel less than qualified to talk about it. Sharing the Times article overcomes that challenge.
One more footnote to the Texas power/water outage. I was fortunate to have a good book to read, given to me by a close friend (thank you Terry). It’s entitled Endurance and it was written by Alfred Lansing. It’s the story of the challenges endured by Ernest Shackleton and his crew who planned to sail to Antarctica and then cross the continent on foot. Needless to say, things did not go as planned. When Terry gave me this book, he told me “if you ever feel like you can’t go on read this book”.
We’ve been going through some difficult times, some much more than others. At times, it might seem like we can’t go on. Shackleton’s message to his crew was to not give up. Good advice.