- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Superstorm Sandy. Crippling drought. Devastating wildfires. Tap water that can be set ablaze. Wildfires in the West. Tops being blown off mountains in the East. There’s a dust bowl forming in the center of our country. This is the battle we are waging — here at home in Southern Maryland and all over the United States — to save our air, our oceans, our drinking water and our health.
On Feb. 17, tens of thousands will converge on Washington, D.C., to ask President Obama to take a stand for our climate. The Forward on Climate Rally is expected to be the largest climate rally in U.S. history.
Join us, and help us move forward to slow climate change.
Here in Southern Maryland, the water levels are rising. It’s not obvious, but it’s real. Recent reports by Southern Maryland Newspapers, “Rising tides, rising concerns” [Maryland Independent, Dec. 7] and the Chesapeake Bay Journal, “Sea Level Along Chesapeake Rising Faster than Efforts to Mitigate It” [January 2012] discussed the rising tides. The Chesapeake Bay Program’s Science and Technical Advisory Committee estimates that the sea level will rise 2 feet to 5 feet over the next century. Most conservative estimates put the rise at 3 feet in the Hampton Roads area. A category one hurricane storm surge is at least 4 feet.
Translation: the near-equivalent of a category one storm surge will happen twice a day.
There are many things that can be done to protect the climate. The first step to putting our country on the path to addressing the climate crisis is for President Obama to reject the Keystone XL “tar sands” pipeline. The pipeline would carry the oil from Canadian tar sands to America’s Gulf Coast refineries and ports. Most of it will likely be exported overseas. Extracting low-grade crude oil from tar sands is energy-intensive and damages the environment — even before being used. This is not in our national interest; it is a profit scheme for big oil and should be rejected.
According to a study by Cornell University’s School of Industrial and Labor Relations, claims on jobs creation made by the pipeline owner are highly inflated.
In addition to saying no to this dirty fuels project, the president can limit the amount of industrial carbon pollution emitted from power plants. Taking this action will set the right course for reducing carbon pollution domestically and send the right signals that the U.S. is ready to lead globally.
The Natural Resources Defense Council has laid out a plan that will cut carbon pollution, provide jobs to thousands of Americans and save us money on our electricity bills. Further, the University of Delaware has determined how to eliminate fossil fuels as a requirement for electricity.
In his inaugural address, President Obama promised, “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”
I refuse to leave my children with a lesser planet than what my parents blessed me with.
David Kanter, Hughesville
The writer is the vice chairman of the Sierra Club Southern Maryland Group.