For Immediate Release May 14, 2008: 

            The accelerating climate crisis and skyrocketing gas prices both demand an immediate change to our energy and transportation infrastructure, from energy wasteful and excessively dangerous auto, truck and plane, to high speed and super efficient electrified rail.  Energy sources and the gluttonous waste shown in America and most other industrialized countries needs to change.

            Vast wind farms and solar energy can generate the energy for the rail transport, along with all other electric needs.  This does not take new technology, though the technology is improving fast like computers.  More and more utility-scale projects are underway. General Electric signed its second $1 billion+ wind turbine contract this year with Citizens Energy and the Navajo Nation to generate 500 megawatts of energy with up to 300 turbines.  Texas oil man T. Boone Pickens announced he would spend $10 billion on the world’s largest wind farm with 2,700 wind turbines generating 4,000 megawatts of electricity.  He anticipates a 25 percent return on investment.  Global wind capacity increased 27 percent in 2007.

            But the latest findings on climate change mean we need to move far faster.  James Hansen, one of the world’s foremost climate change scientists, and a senior NASA scientist, found that we need to reduce carbon dioxide levels to below 350 parts per million or risk catastrophic climate change.

            As we are currently at 385 parts per million, and increasing rapidly, citizens need to become activists, and demand action such as the Safe Climate Act now being considered by Congress.  While it is way to little, way to late, the act at least will begin to steer emissions toward a decrease, instead of increasing as they have for the last decade.

            For home energy use, we can look to Juneau , Alaska for leadership.  The city recently cut its electric use by as much as 30 percent in one week with increased conservation, after an avalanche knocked down power lines, causing predicted electricity prices to skyrocket.  Scientists found that climate change is causing more avalanches with the increase in the number of annual freeze-thaw cycles.

            Drying clothes on clothes lines, walking and bicycling for shorter trips, taking public transportation, changing to energy efficient lighting, recycling, composting and weatherizing are critical steps we can all take.  But the biggest steps must be taken by our government and industries, to make massive changes, very fast.  The wonderful thing is two major problems are solved with the change: the climate crisis and skyrocketing costs of energy.  With solar and wind energy, the energy is free, once the infrastructure is in place.

            We just need to demand the change, and make sure it happens fast enough to solve the climate crisis.  The true threat, with runaway greenhouse effect mechanisms kicking in, is not understood by the masses.  If it was, millions of people would quite everything else and get into the streets to demand change.

Chad Kister

P.O. Box 31 ; Athens , Ohio 45701

740-707-4110    (740)-753-3888

Kister is the author of Arctic Quest: Odyssey Through a Threatened Wilderness; Arctic Melting: How Climate Change is Destroying One of the World’s Largest Wilderness Areas; and Against All Odds: The Struggle to Save The Ridges.  Kister is also the Producer of the 2006 film Caribou People.  Arctic Melting will be released in its second edition in September with 100 more pages.