The current United Nations Summit on Climate Change, which opened in New York this week, is already the most successful climate meeting ever held.
In several such past meetings, the most industrialized countries and biggest carbon emitters, notably the United States, China and others, have not only been in denial about the looming catastrophe that increasing carbon emissions are bringing upon the world. These nations have historically also refused to go along with any proposals that would reverse the rapid global warming advance because they claim it hurts their economies. The industrial giants in these countries have also fully backed their governments, frustrating every attempt to reverse global warming, which threatens to have a horrific effect on life as we know it on planet Earth.
But U.S. President Barrack Obama set the positive and decisive tone at this year’s Summit. In his speech Tuesday, he told the Summit, “We cannot condemn our children, and their children, to a future that is beyond their capacity to repair.”
He then made this confession, which none of his predecessors had ever made: “So today, I’m here personally, as the leader of the world’s largest economy and its second largest emitter, to say that we have begun to do something about it.
He outlined a number of successful measures the US has taken :
* harnessed three times as much electricity from the wind and 10 times as much from the sun as we did when I came into office.
* Within a decade, our cars will go twice as far on a gallon of gas, and already, every major automaker offers electric vehicles.
* We’ve made unprecedented investments to cut energy waste in our homes, buildings and appliances, all of which will save consumers billions of dollars.
* We are helping communities build climate-resilient infrastructure.
* Over the past eight years, the United States has reduced, more than any other nation, our total carbon pollution . But we have to do more. Last year, I issued America’s first Climate Action Plan to double down on our efforts. Under that plan, my administration is working with states and utilities to set first-ever standards to cut the amount of carbon pollution our power plants can dump into the air, making this the single most significant step USA has ever taken to reduce our carbon emissions.
* New actions in renewable energy and energy efficiency will save consumers more than $10 billion on their energy bills and cut carbon pollution by nearly 300 million metric tons through 2030. That’s the equivalent of taking more than 60 million cars off the road for one year.
* Got private sector leaders who’ve agreed to slash, by 80 percent by 2050, consumption of dangerous greenhouse gases known as HFCs.
* More than 100 nations have agreed to launch talks to phase down HFCs under the Montreal Protocol — the same agreement the world used successfully to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals.
* President Xi of China and I have worked on this together. Just a few minutes ago, I met with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, and reiterated my belief that as the two largest economies and emitters in the world, we have a special responsibility to lead. That’s what big nations have to do.”
Big nations have a particular responsibility, yes.
But so do small nations like Liberia . And that is what we, with the generous assistance of Norway, also did this week, in New York. The Norwegians have provided US$150 million to help save Liberia from deforestation. This money is being given us to halt the logging industry and still make money by retaining our forests.
What will happen to forestry workers? We suggest that GOL uses some of that money to invest in agriculture–tree crops (citrus, coffee, cocoa, almond, cashew nuts, plums and rubber); as well as pineapples, vegetables–greens, pepper, cucumber, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.
Our farmers should also invest in cassava and other tubers, rice and livestock–cattle, pigs, poultry and eggs.
This is a very serious mission that will ensure an alternative the extractive industry. Instead of cutting down our trees, we must start growing food, making use of the fertile land and great rainfall God has given us.
Our first step is to retrain our forestry workers and turn them into agricultural producers. Then we must find them the land, seeds, scions, irrigation systems and farm implements–not just the cutlass and hoe–but tractors and other modern tools that will make them successful.
These initiatives will definitely contribute to the reduction in carbon emissions, arrest the advance of climate change and restore with full force, life on planet Earth and the livelihood of its inhabitants.