Notice anything familiar about the pandemic and its effects on America? Warnings from scientists, those warnings ignored; selfishness that intensifies the problem; politicizing of the emergency; conspiracy theories spreading and a country not willing to face a crisis. Take a look at the economic toll, human toll, the overall chaos being generated and multiply that 100 times over. This is what awaits all of us, and/or our descendants from climate change.
Hopefully with a vaccine, or herd immunity, the COVID-19 pandemic will work its way through our world in the next year to 18 months. Disasters from climate change will last hundreds, if not thousands of human lifetimes. We have no idea how long it will take to correct climate change, if it’s even possible, how long it would take to get back to a safe CO2 level and what level CO2 will eventually reach.
We’re not talking about an economic disruption that will last a few years causing a recession, or depression; we’re talking permanent economic, societal collapse, or at the least drastic societal change. So, forget about a sustainable economy, society, country when massive droughts, fires and floods make food astronomically expensive, causing food shortages. If you think the George Floyd riots were bad, imagine a scenario where food is rationed, marshal law is declared to stop the violence that starvation will bring; especially in a country loaded up on guns.
Forget about imperfect, but peaceful coexistence between nations as their economies and societies crumble. Right at this moment, reliable sources of water are disappearing that sustain India, China and other countries around the world. What happens when those run out? Will there will be war? Will countries go to war over resources, possibly massive war, nuclear war? War is a predictable consequence when societies undergo colossal difficulties.
America needs to get it’s head out of the hole in the ground it dug for itself to face the COVID pandemic and so far, we’re not exactly pulling it off. The climate crisis is a far greater, longer lasting catastrophe and there needs to be a new, unified conviction to unify the country so we can face the threat and be successful. Maybe it’s the “Green New Deal”, I don’t know. It’s become such a political hot potato and maybe it doesn’t do everything we need anyway. Below are some steps I believe need to be taken to give us a chance of saving the future.
- Provide more help to inventors, entrepreneurs like me with clean tech business start ups. My company developed a new kind of electric vehicle. I got a grant from the state of Minnesota, which helped me immensely, but when I attempted going through the federal government granting process, (SBIR) it was too restrictive and did not help me, even though I have 2 patents on my technology and dozens of early customers. Several other countries help their green tech inventors more.
- Approach the climate crises like it’s a war. We have to have a ground strategy and a big idea strategy just like the US did in WWII. The ground game are things we can do now like planting billions of trees, converting to renewables, (solar, wind). The big idea is a Manhattan Project for scrubbing CO2 out of the atmosphere at a very high rate. A totally new kind of technology.
- Re-start the draft, using the young people as workers to do a lot of the labor. Soldiers in the climate crises war.
- How to pay for all of it:
- Seize the assets of the big oil companies and use the money to pay for a lot of this. Obviously, this will be an unpopular position, but this will happen anyway eventually when things get bad enough and the people are angry enough that the fossil fuel industry covered up the truth.
- Fully instate a carbon tax, carbon offsets program. Put a price on the waste that fossil fuel companies make, that being CO2. Begin a progressive fossil fuel tax that increases a bit each year.
- Set a date for complete phase-out of internal combustion engine cars. Several countries have already announced this.
- Finally – and this is most important – frame the whole thing like this: “America can do this. America can do anything when we set our minds to it. It HAS to be America to solve this because we are the best at this.”