Saturday, April 17, 2010

Succession to the Icelandic Volcanic Eruption: Implications for the Climate Change Bill Experience

Regardless of your position on the Climate Change Bill, HR 2452, American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, we will eventually have to deal with the challenge of either passing or not passing the bill. Unless you believe that there is actually nothing like climate change because there is yet no credible data to convince skeptics like you, you would still have to transition from unbelieving to a believer when the impact of this problem actually hits you in the face. I can hear you say: heresy! But look at what just happened in Iceland?

This past week, meteorologists recorded wind speed of 40 miles an hour with ashes and volcanic waste due to the volcano eruption in that country. The 30,000 foot of volcanic explosion in far away Iceland is resulting in flooding which no one in Iceland or elsewhere, contemplated a month ago. Imagine if someone had informed residents of Iceland three weeks ago that they would experience a volcanic eruption of that magnitude or that three out of every five flights in Europe would be cancelled because the air is so polluted to the extent that pilots and airports’ managers consider it unsafe to fly a plane. They would have probably brushed that thought aside, just the way we are doing regarding climate change. Imagine also having 50,000 passengers on Euro rail an hour because flights in the larger part of Europe are cancelled or there is no flight in Europe until further notice because of the effect of the Icelandic volcanoes. Imagine further that the level of flight cancellations in some of our airlines heading for Europe becomes behemoth to an extent that millions are trapped in American airports and hotels due to the impact of an environmental event as far away as Iceland.  Finally, who could imagine that a volcanic eruption, an act of God in Iceland, can impact such a large number of people, countries, continents and overall world airline businesses? This is the reality of the unexpected, which the challenge of climate change may result into or precipitate, if nothing is done right now in Congress or around the world. The world is really getting smaller than we expect or conceive and the timing of an unexpected climate change can have a ripple effect far away from regions and or continents.

To help America and Americans prepare for the unexpected, which climate change falls under, it is about time we start sharing the development or non-development on the debate on climate change and what exactly is holding the bill behind in Congress. Citizens must seek a full floor consideration of the benefits or non-benefits of HR 2452 - American Clean Energy and Security Act. We must not allow the lawmakers alone to define whether the nation needs to pass a climate change bill or not. We can all be hit by the vagaries of climate change and no congressman can save us, if it happens right today! If we are not paying attention to what takes place in congress around a bill, if we fail to document what is being done and what isn’t, we face the chances of dealing with the impact of inaction and probably have to deal with the trade-offs of inaction on an issue that is important as our climate. The public needs to be asking questions right now about what is exactly holding back HR 2452, American Clean Energy and Security Act, and attempt to facilitate reconsideration of the bill by many lawmakers who have been working against the bill.

One aspect of successions of volcanic eruptions in Iceland is its impact on air quality in most of Europe. If Europeans had been prepared for this unexpected volcanic eruption, maybe they would have gained on time and energy to deal with the repercussion of the behemoth explosion. If some of our lawmakers maintain that we do not have to be worried about the problem of climate change, simply because we do not yet have credible data on the problem, we may want to be cautious, because it is unwise to put all our eggs in one basket when it comes to the unexpected impact of energy shortage or climate change. We must attempt to edge against risk of climate change. We need to make laws that would help us help ourselves, even if we do not have the total information on the problem of climate change.

How do we mobilize the public once again behind the climate change bill? We may want to contemplate multiple things to bring to the table on the issue of climate change and the need to provide some energy security or the need to encourage lawmakers to resuscitate the climate change bill all over again. Here are some suggestions for the public to help resuscitate HR 2452 - American Clean Energy and Security Act in congress:
  • Write your congressman describing how you capture the possibility of the impact of climate change or energy insecurity on your immediate environment or the legislator’s constituency and why the lawmaker need to revisit HR 2452 - American Clean Energy and Security Act, again;
  • Develop a one-year calendar from the day HR 2452 - American Clean Energy and Security Act was introduced in congress, and your expectation from your congressperson on this bill;
  • Create and annotated Rolex of the key events that has taken place since the introduction of the bill in congress and what milestones you want accomplished and which of the milestones have been ignored by congress in the past six months;
  • Keep note of what your representative is doing on HR 2452 - American Clean Energy and Security Act, your communication with his or her office on your request for him or her to make a change on the  essential effort to pass the bill and the sequencing of the relegated parliamentary procedure that has been holding the bill back in congress;
  • Start a file on tips and tricks to move bills in congress and what has been failing with respect to HR 2452 - American Clean Energy and Security Act. Describe what is expedient for your representative to do, to help demonstrate the importance you place on the issue of climate change and energy security;
  • Create a profile of consequences of failing to edge against unexpected environmental events like the volcanoes in Iceland, earthquakes in California, Chile and Haiti; show the deplorable impact on human sufferings, energy security and death when we fail to act;
  • Offer to serve as  your precinct contact person  for the congressman regarding the majority feeling about HR 2452 - American Clean Energy and Security Act, and what you are willing to expend to help the congressman feel the tempo of his or her constituency;
  • Capture critical personal stories regarding events considered as act of God, which the Climate Change impacts may fall under, and call the attention of your congressman to the benefits of taking some steps to address part of the potential impact of the climate change experience;
  • Make notes on what you wished you had known about how congress passes a bill and see what you can change right now, to help you come to speed regarding how to move a bill ahead in congress and work towards your shortcoming to help redirect the fortunes of t HR 2452 - American Clean Energy and Security Act; and
  • Invite other members of your precinct or constituency to follow through with similar effort to help bring up the urgency and need to help pass HR 2452 - American Clean Energy and Security Act in the 111th Congress;
It is close to six months that the Climate Change bill has been lying fallow in the House of Representatives. Although the bill is currently being looked over by members of congress, who once proposed the bill and have persistently worked towards helping the bill move along in congress, the difficulty and challenges of oppositions and skepticisms from some lawmakers have been a set back and albatross around the neck of the bill. If we all can talk and highlight our concerns regarding HR 2452 - American Clean Energy and Security Act, if we can share information regarding the potential impact of climate change on the environment and the possible repercussion of not being prepared on our quality of life, we may be able to bring the lawmakers to our side and our wish to see that our lawmakers attend to our concerns on the climate change bill. Many lawmakers search around for ideas and initiatives on many bills and often they do not have all the information necessary to make informed and responsive decision regarding the bill. We must support our congressman to do what is in our interest in congress. It is absolutely fortuitous if our representatives do what we want regarding a bill in congress, however, when they don’t, it is partly because we fail to have our voice known or registered on the issues in consideration on a bill. We can no longer afford that luxury on HR 2452 - American Clean Energy and Security Act. We need to get back to work!

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