‘Mother Earth is Having a Fit’

By Rinaldo Brutoco   |   September 3, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was interviewed last Wednesday on CBS by Stephen Colbert and she made this provocative observation: “Mother Earth is having a fit.” It was her way of saying that the climate crisis is real, and it’s here now.

Let’s put some substance to that claim.

We were all mesmerized as Hurricane Laura blasted Louisiana’s shores with category four winds that have devastated towns, downed power lines, and left damages that will exceed $1 billion and resulted in six deaths. And the most active part of hurricane season is still in front of us. Well, that would be more “newsworthy” if the US hadn’t already sustained more than 10 of these $1 billion “natural disasters” this year alone, including the massive loss of crops in the Midwest last week from the extremely rare, 800-mile wide derecho with category four winds that destroyed 35 percent of Iowa’s corn crop and more than 100 million bushels worth of grain storage and processing infrastructure. And that’s before totaling the damage from the wildfires decimating 12 counties mostly in Northern California that have already destroyed 1.5 million acres as of last Sunday, leaving approximately 1,700 structures destroyed and seven known dead so far. The one-week heatwave saw temperatures across the Southwest climb to life threatening levels, and the highest temperature ever recorded on planet earth of 134 degrees in Death Valley, California occurred July 10. Yes, we’re far from out of the woods as more wind events, storm surges, hurricanes, derechos, fires, and record setting climatic events occur here at home.

If anything, it is even worse in other parts of the world. Canada lost 31 square miles from its last remaining ice shelf in the Arctic, the Milne ice shelf, when a chunk of ice bigger than Manhattan floated away. More than four million people were affected in Bangladesh when more than 25 percent of the country was inundated by seawater. More than 160,000 people were displaced in Yemen and 130 people were killed in massive flooding.

This is one heck of a crisis and existential threat for the survival of civilization as we know it. Yes, Speaker Pelosi is correct: Mother Nature is having a fit. That’s the threat that is even bigger than the pandemic and the economic depression we’re falling into. There is no vaccine for climate change.

So what should we do? Let’s start by admitting that we are out of time. For those people who believe we have 10 years before climate change hits us, sorry to say we don’t. As the foregoing statistics indicate, the climate crisis is here and is accelerating. Human civilization’s response, therefore, must begin immediately and must be extremely ambitious if we have any hope of escaping the complete destruction of civilization within the next 35 years. If that sounds like a short timeframe, it is. There’s really no time to waste.

We need to immediately develop sufficient renewable energy to provide 100 percent of all future energy needs, as well as enough to begin retiring all existing fossil fuel electrical generating equipment within the next 10 years. There is a simple answer for those uninformed skeptics that ask, “Well, what are you going to do when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun don’t shine?” Electrolyze all the energy you could possibly capture (wind costs less than two cents per kilowatt hour and large-scale solar less than seven cents per kilowatt hour) and turn it into hydrogen. The hydrogen can be stored indefinitely as a gas, which means it’s better than a battery, and can be consumed in a fuel cell that produces electricity with H2O (plain water) as the only byproduct. When this technology is combined with 100 percent coverage of microgrids, also powered by economic, non-polluting fuel cells, you have the 100 percent green energy solution for the planet that is only 42 percent as expensive as our current electrical bills here in California. There wouldn’t be any long-distance transmission lines to start more wildfires. What a bonus for our fire-ravaged state. If you would like to learn exactly how this system could be created in California at no additional cost to ratepayers, please go to the World Business Academy’s website (www.worldbusiness.org), search “California Moonshot,” and watch the informative video that conclusively demonstrates that “it is cheaper to ‘go green’ than it is to stay fossil fuel dirty.

There is also a link on the extensive role hydrogen can and must play in the greening of our planet. Frankly, there is no other way to do it.

In addition to all this information, you’ll want to see the work in the 540-page report just released by the bipartisan Congressional Select Committee on Climate Change, with our own Ventura Congresswoman Julia Brownley as a member of that committee. She has been participating since January 2019 on the select committee and played a key role in posting this “call to arms” for the nation. Happily, there’s a great executive summary that runs less than 30 pages and is very thorough. Feel free to request the summary or the full report by emailing info@worldbusiness.org.

Not everything in the report is perfect. There are places which reveal a lack of current science and economics, but on the whole, the report makes it abundantly clear that we are in a crisis, and that we are running out of time much faster than we imagined just a few years ago, and that we must act with urgency.

In looking at the destruction already caused by the climate crisis, Senator Bernie Sanders last Thursday observed that “July 2020 was the second hottest month ever recorded; June 2020 was the second hottest June of all time; May 2020 was the hottest May of all time… January 2020 was the hottest January of all time.” And, in noting that folks often think of his progressivism as “radical,” he concluded his remarks with this trenchant observation: “What is radical is doing nothing to take on the existential threat of climate change while the world burns.”

Whether you agree with Bernie on anything else, I believe we can all agree there is no disputing the “urgency of now” when it relates to the climate crisis.

 

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