Do Our Leaders Have the Guts to Do What Is Right to Stop Climate Change?

Many of Them Believe that They Can Pay Only Token Attention

Photo by Marcus Kauffman on Unsplash

They are leading us into environmental oblivion. Yet they don’t seem to understand what they are doing. How could I describe their actions?

  • Presumptuous
  • Arrogant
  • Willfully Ignorant
  • Duplicitous
  • Insincere

United States Government Action vs Talk

Something doesn’t add up. After all of the talk about Building Back Better and slowing Climate Change, here are some of our government’s actions.

  1. FEMA is planning to rebuild Puerto Rico’s electric power system with fossil fueled solutions when we could start fresh with renewables. Fast Company
  2. The United States is reducing its already small contribution to the largest fusion project in the world. Fusion could replace nuclear and fossil fuels in power plants. Dropped from $242 million in 2020 (Trump) to $107 million in 2021 (Biden). Stanford University Report
  3. United States 2021 Defense Budget: $704 billion.
  4. Haggling is continuing in the senate and congress over the $350 million per year to address Climate Change and all the things that must be rebuilt. Yes, it is $350 million per year. That’s it. Over 10 years, spending will amount to $3.5 trillion.
  5. At the United Nations last week, “. . . a clean environment resolution passed by a vote 43–0 with China, India, Japan, and Russia abstaining. The United States reportedly opposed the resolution but didn’t have a vote because it’s not currently a member of the U.N. Human Rights Council, thanks to former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the body in 2018.” Common Dreams
  6. John Kerry is U.S. envoy for Climate Change. He might be making progress, but he has not received much mainstream media coverage. I know that he’s met with many world leaders behind the scenes, visited key locations to see the local conditions, and participated in UN climate related meetings. But what is actually happening as a result? I believe the public should know. I am wondering if he has determined that maybe we are doomed. His silence is scary.

United States Direction

The United States has the unenviable distinction of being the greatest polluter in history. Coal, oil, gasoline, natural gas, nuclear waste. Consume, consume, consume. We are not people, we are consumers. We are fuel for runaway capitalism.

Regardless, the United States is still in a position to lead, if only it will truly lead. Lead not just in words and insincere promises made to support efforts to move away from fossil fuels while secretly endorsing them. We have scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs building companies and working in national laboratories that deserve serious financial support but are receiving amounts that are insignificant compared to the military, for example.

Our leaders in government and in many businesses are like drug crazed drivers headed toward a concrete wall at high speed, and with us as passengers. Their drugs are fossil fuels and they have long been addicted. The drugs make them feel good. Everything is working. But the wall is fast approaching. It’s time to wake up and apply the brakes.

Change of Direction

I usually write about applied science. Today I am speaking about some of the forces that are clearly acting against science. We have leaders that have convinced themselves that they can manipulate science to save us. They believe that they can get the results they want regardless of their actions that run contrary to the principles of science.

Folks, these are the people we have elected to lead this country!

Together, we are the solution. We can move these leaders to see the suicidal path they are on. Or we can remove them.

Many of the project timelines for slowing climate change are very long. In fact, they lead me to wonder if we really have a chance to change the destructive wave that is building. Those in control of capital, either in private enterprise or in government, are being called upon to direct their investments to projects that demonstrably slow climate change. We can, through them, apply powerful scientific discoveries and engineering inventions to literally change our world.

Recent Progress

Outstanding progress has recently been made in controlled fusion at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (LLNL) and at Commonwealth Fusion Systems combined with MIT’s Plasma Science and Fusion Center. An LLNL experiment brought a fuel pellet to a high level of fusion possibly self-sustaining. They do not know yet and analysis is continuing at this time leading to a final report. Commonwealth Fusion tested the first section of a large superconducting magnet that will contain and compress plasma in their Tokamak at MIT’s Center. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) in the south of France, the world’s largest, has passed the halfway milestone in construction. This includes delivery and positioning the first section of the vacuum chamber as well as one of the giant superconducting magnets.

This is the time to increase effort and funding. These are just a few examples of the work in applied science going on throughout the world right now. Let’s keep them going and move as if our lives depend on them. They do.

Video Overview of Fusion at ITER

Here is an excellent piece the shows the basics of fusion and what is being done. Video courtesy of ITER

If we are to reverse climate change with technology, these fusion projects are examples of what requires added attention and funding. Their progress is impressive but timelines seem too long given the degree of climate mess that we have produced.

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Writer, inventor, maker. Member of startup. Applied physics, electronics, microbiology.

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Mark Senninger

Mark Senninger

Writer, inventor, maker. Member of startup. Applied physics, electronics, microbiology.

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