Southeast Volusia Audubon Society, P.O. Box 46, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32170;

December 2012 Conservation Notes


No D.C. Leadership on Climate Change

Congress and the President act like a bunch of little kids upstairs in their house fighting over who gets the biggest piece of pie. Downstairs their house is on fire.
The world isn’t burning up yet, although wildfires are bad along with record-breaking and lethal heat waves, drought, deluges, floods and storms.
Sea level is rising 60 percent faster than climate models predicted, while feedback from ice-free dark Arctic waters is likely to accelerate sea level rising even more. It’s possible that thawing permafrost and melting frozen methane clathrates in in shallow sea beds could boost sea level rise drastically.
Florida faces a grim future if rising seas along with our usual storms flood critical parts of the coastal counties which house and employ three-quarters of our population.
There seems little chance that Florida Legislators and the Governor will creep out of their caves enough to acknowledge global warming, let alone try to restrain it.
Florida’s best hopes for preservation rest mainly with our fractious Congress and President. Both parties are guilty to some extent of failing to halt actions that increase the greenhouse gas emissions overheating the earth.
For example nine Democrats joined with nine Republicans in a letter to the President urging him to approve the Keystone XL pipeline that would promote continuing Canadian tar sands exploitation. Tar sands extraction, processing, transporting and consumption could make global warming irreversible.
Perhaps the only shock sufficient to unite Congress and the President into cooperative action would be a 108 degree heat spell for two weeks in DC when Congress is in session. Then a superstorm like Sandy hitting DC would be tragic, but could spur government actions to take global leadership in preventing a far worse tragedy of irreversible climate chaos. We have the technology to restrain global overheating effectively, but the fight won’t be easy.
Without US leadership, victory in that critical fight seems unlikely.

Lee Bidgood, Jr.

Gainesville, Florida