Saturday, April 22, 2017 at 7:28 AM

Earth Day

Posted by Anthony L. Hall

Former U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) conceived this day of awareness in the late 1960s as an enlightened response to carefree pollution all over America.

The country celebrated its first Earth Day in 1970. The environmental practices it inaugurated have become routine and universal; so much so that the symbolic replenishing of Earth’s natural resources — by planting trees — now seems trite, if not contrived.

Granted, to hear all of the alarmist talk about climate change, you’d think it was Al Gore who transformed public consciousness in this regard only years ago with sermons from his environmental bible, Earth in the Balance.

But this celebration of, and deference to, Earth’s natural wonders should be distinguished from Gore’s convenient truths about climate change. Truths, incidentally, that included using fake images of melting glaciers in his documentary An Inconvenient Truth just to scare people.

Earth Day ushered in conservation and greening trends that have led to cleaner air, more potable (lead-free) water, and a much less polluted environment; whereas, for all his prophesying, Gore has had no impact.

Nobel Peace Prize-winner Al Gore said in an interview published Monday that there had been no improvement in the fight against climate change since his Oscar-winning film on the issue was released.

(Agence France-Presse, April 20, 2008)

face-of-climate-change-300x129In any event, representatives from 194 countries marked the occasion last year by gathering at the United Nations in New York to sign the landmark Paris Agreement.

As CNN reported, scientist hailed this agreement as the “world’s biggest leap forward in climate change policy in history.” It committed the world to ending our dependence on fossil fuels by the end of this century, which would limit global warming to “well below 2 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels.”

Past being prologue, I feared that getting each country to ratify this agreement, to say nothing of getting each to abide by the terms, would devolve into a terminal winter of discontent. I delineated my abiding doubts in “Paris Talks on Climate Change to Avert an Apocalypse? Hardly…,” December 2, 2015.

This is why I could not be more pleased that, as of March 2017, the United States (the world’s second-biggest polluter behind China) had led 137 countries in ratifying this agreement. Except that, apropos of past as prologue, supporters of this agreement can only hope President Trump continues his unprecedented streak of reneging on campaign promises. After all, he promised to “cancel” US participation. So here’s to another flip-flop.

Hope springs eternal.

Related commentaries:
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