Leading from the Left

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Environmental Justice and Global Warming

The worlds most-reknowned climate change scientists released a report this weekend that spells out many of the likely consequences of global warming: increased drought in the US Southwest, Mexico and Southern Europe; open sea lanes in the artic; and increased flooding in low-lying areas such as barrier islands and river basins.

One statement jumped out at me as in particular need of being stressed--"THE WORLD'S POOR ARE MOST AT RISK." Folks, global climate change is--amongst other things--an environmental justice issue. The affluent will have the resources to adjust; the poor will have neither the knowledge or the financial capability to prepare. Low-lying areas such as Bangladesh and the Mekong Delta region are at high risk from increased flooding. Of course, the Outer Banks of North Carolina are as well but the US is much more affluent in general and the home-owners along the barrier islands of North Carolina are, largely, wealthy. They will secure the resources to adapt.

While the US, including those of us here locally, are wringing our hands and not doing much to address climate change, the world's poor are sitting in the bull's eye. It's time that NC (and Orange County) take direct and forceful steps to reduce energy consumption and the emission of greenhouse gasses into our atomospher. Time is running out.