The upcoming week could very well be the most important week our species has faced. Homo sapiens sapiens has an unprecedented opportunity to demonstrate its wisdom by addressing climate change in Copenhagen. World leaders can either act in the best long-term interests of the planet and its people, or continue cowing to the financial interests within its own borders.
Closer to home, activists have gathered in Charleston, W.Va., today to rally for wind energy on Coal River Mountain. Robert Kennedy is addressing the crowds, who support a clean energy future instead of a coal-fired one. Massey Energy plans to mine more than 6000 acres of mountaintop at Coal River Mountain, which would destroy the opportunity to build a 320 megawatt wind farm on the ridges of Coal River Mountain. Instead of 320 megawatts of clean energy that would power more than 70,000 homes indefinitely, Massey’s plans would release 134 million tons of carbon dioxide — the equivalent of putting 1.5 million more cars on the road for 17 years (only 17 years of coal are expected to be mined from the site before it’s depleted).
The week is off to a good start: this morning the EPA announced that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases pose a threat to human health and must be regulated. The EPA said that the scientific evidence surrounding climate change clearly shows that greenhouse gases “threaten the public health and welfare of the American people” and that the pollutants – mainly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels – should be regulated under the Clean Air Act. Even if Congress fails to enact climate change legislation, or Obama fails to reach an agreement in Copenhagen, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson can enforce existing clean air laws to address climate change.