End the age of coal

Rampaging floods in Uttarakhand,India, Mindanao, along Europe's famed Danube, in large tracts of Canada, and in America's Midwest. Toxic smog in Singapore, Malaysia, and China's industrial heartland. Melting glaciers in the Alps, Himalayas, Greenland, the Andes, and the Arctic. Tens of thousands of people killed, displaced; livelihoods lost. These are not isolated disasters but are interconnected events, they are the distress signals of our ailing planet; a realisation of the vision of what our Earth looks like in the grip of climate change.

In this era of extreme weather events yesterday we finally took some mitigating measures in the right direction. US President Obama recently said:

And someday, our children, and our children's children, will look at us in the eye and they'll ask us, did we do all that we could when we had the chance to deal with this problem and leave them a cleaner, safer, more stable world? And I want to be able to say, yes, we did. Don't you want that?

Yes, Mr Obama we want this and we at Greenpeace stand firm in our belief that eden has enough to go around for all of us without destroying the only home we have; there is enough for everyone's need but not for everyone's greed.

Obama speaks up on climate changeFollowing Obama's recent climate change speech, the World Bank recently stated that it will limit the financing it provides for coal-fired power plants to 'rare circumstances' as part of the global financial body's effort to address the impact of climate change.

"The World Bank Group will help clients identify alternatives to coal power as they make transitions toward sustainable energy," the report said.

As Obama recognised, global warming causing climate change is way past the debate stage. It is real and its impacts are on us. We know what has to be done to arrest the Earth's rising temperature and rising seas, before the process becomes overwhelming. We still have time - but humankind needs to take action.

Like the treatment of human ailments, the solutions of most governments are focused primarily on how to cope with the symptoms of global warming. Its real cause is the continued extraction and burning of oil, coal and gas to provide energy. This is increasingly recognised by the US president and the World Bank - even if couched in wooly terms. But be clear on the message - the age of carbon fuels is ending and the time for clean renewable energy sources has arrived. We need to pay urgent attention to long term effects of burning coal - whether its carbon emissions, direct impact on public health or hazardous catalytic effects on ecology triggering large scale natural disasters.

The past few days we have taken steps in the right direction and hope these recommendations and measures are actually acted upon by the Decision-Makers. In closing we at Greenpeace share a vision which once famous comedian Bill HIcks said in one of his shows

"It's just a ride, and we can change it any time we want, its only a choice, no effort, no work no job, no savings of money, a choice right now between fear and love. The eyes of fear want you to put bigger locks on your doors, and buy guns, close yourself off. The eyes of love instead see all of us as one. Heres what we can do to change the world right now to a better ride; Take all that money we spend on weapons and defence each year and instead spend it on feeding clothing and educating the poor of the world which it would many times over, not one human being excluded and we can explore space, together, both inner and outer, forever, in peace."



Shiwang Singh works for Greenpeace India for Strategic Response and Paul Horsman is a Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace.


Image 2: quickmeme.com