A Matter of Perspective

NWF   |   April 17, 2006

After waiting some time for a mechanical repair to be made to our airplane, the pilot came on the intercom and put our frustrations in perspective, “folks, it’s far better to be down here wishing we were up there than up there wishing we were down here.”

Sometimes it takes others to see our situation more clearly than we see our own and to point it out to us.  There is a growing frustration around the world concerning the United States’ failure to participant in the Kyoto Treaty to reduce carbon dioxide emissions to slow climate change.    Even the queen of England in a rare public moment complained about the US failure to lead on this urgent matter. The Europeans are outspoken critics of the U.S. policy as they are seeing changes occur faster than here.  Their climate is highly dependent upon the tail-end of the weakening Gulf Stream which has slowed about thirty percent in recent decades.

People in central Africa are seeing their fragile landscapes dry out and turn into deserts from increased evapo-transpiration brought on by global warming.  Much like victims of second-hand smoke, they are helpless without us.

The United States produces about twenty-five percent of the world’s total greenhouse emissions and the failure of the U.S. to lead in addressing global warming has made it much more difficult for other developed nations to comply.  Ironically, by becoming a leader tackling this problem, the
U.S. will create new entrepreneurial opportunities, jobs for skilled workers and a more stable and secure non-carbon-based economy. 

The U. S. must step forward and demonstrate leadership on this urgent matter and to achieve that end, the people must lead so our elected leaders can follow.  The public must demand leadership with vision and rich understanding of global warming who can confidently lead us to a new energy future. 

We must plan for a carbon-constrained future. The key to any good plan is good leadership, everything else is secondary.

Published: April 17, 2006