“I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen”

by Mike Gaworecki

February 20, 2009

President Obama’s selection of Steven Chu to be his Secretary of Energy was greeted with much enthusiasm by many environmentalists, including us. This interview pretty plainly spells out why:

In his first interview since taking office last month, the Nobel-prize-winning physicist offered some of the starkest comments yet on how seriously President Obama’s cabinet views the threat of climate change, along with a detailed assessment of the administration’s plans to combat it.

Chu warned of water shortages plaguing the West and Upper Midwest and particularly dire consequences for California, his home state, the nation’s leading agricultural producer.

In a worst case, Chu said, up to 90% of the Sierra snowpack could disappear, all but eliminating a natural storage system for water vital to agriculture.

"I don’t think the American public has gripped in its gut what could happen," he said. "We’re looking at a scenario where there’s no more agriculture in California." And, he added, "I don’t actually see how they can keep their cities going" either.

Sounds dire indeed, but we have time to fix it. Precious little time, as it turns out, which is really why the Obama team is so welcome to anyone interested in the health and well-being of our planet.

As Mr. Chu pointed out in this interview, global warming is a threat to pretty much everything we know and love, yet many people choose to remain blissfully unaware of this threat. But, at long last, we have a White House that gets it. Our task now is to build the movement that will support President Obama’s attempts to stop global warming. The dirty fossil fuel industry has deep pockets, you can bet they’ll be fighing each and every measure designed to stop global warming so they can protect the cash flow they stuff those deep pockets with. Only overwhelming and undeniable popular demand for solutions will give the Obama Administration and our allies in Congress the mandate they need to override the special interests and do what’s right for the world.

To whit: if you’re anywhere near DC, or you can get there by March 2nd, you should take part in the Capitol Climate Action (if you like, RSVP here).

If you can’t make it to DC, there’s still plenty you can do to take action and show Congress that we the people support global warming solutions. The important thing is just that we all get involved and do whatever we can. Tell your friends, tell your family. Let’s make sure that the energy revolution starts right here and right now.

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