Clean Energy Common Sense - the Little Book about Global Warming, What We Can Do About It, and Why We Should

Global warming is a complex subject, but NRDC's own President Frances Beinecke has nailed the essentials in a highly-readable and compelling little book called Clean Energy Common Sense: An American Call to Action on Global Climate Change.

In just 99 pages, Beinecke - with an assist from NRDC's federal communications director Bob Deans - uses plain English to show us the moral imperative global warming poses for us all, the practical solutions that are within our grasp, and the important role individuals have in helping to win the political debate.

Clean Energy Common Sense focuses on three key reasons to tackle climate change, starting with the moral imperative. Human beings, particularly the most vulnerable among us, are already victims of our changing climate and the toll will rise higher if we do not act. Severe drought, desertification, devastating storms and floods and greater hospitability for disease-carrying insects are already resulting from warming temperatures. As Beinecke notes, experts estimate that

"300,000 poor people will die this year, next year and the year after that due to deprivation and disease exacerbated and even fostered by worsening warming worldwide."

But we do not have to stand idle and watch the misery unfold. There are practical solutions at hand that can strengthen American prosperity. To reduce global warming pollution, we need lots of new clean energy sources, and that means we need to put Americans to work building, shipping and installing clean energy technologies and systems. As Tim Conway of the United Steelworkers told a rally in Gary Indiana this summer,

"This is about jobs, jobs, jobs."

A recent analysis by researchers using information a partnership between Yale, UC Berkeley and the University of Illinois found that with legislation similar to what the US House passed this past summer, and driving all the efficiency we can, would create as many as 1.9 million jobs by 2020, boost household incomes and our national GDP.

Tackling the climate challenge will also enhance US security. Beinecke discusses and quotes a number of military and intelligence experts discussing the implications of global warming on US security and the resulting need to treat it like any other threat, by putting resources to work to minimize it.

"We judge global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national security interests over the next twenty years," said the chairman of the National Intelligence Council in testimony before Congress. "We judge the most significant impact for the United States will indirect and result from climate-driven effects on many other countries and their potential to seriously affect U.S. national security interests."

So what's in our way?

While more and more companies recognize the need and value for the United States to pass clean energy and climate legislation, a handful of interests are working very hard to keep us in the energy dark ages. ExxonMobil, Peabody Energy, the American Petroleum Institute and others are using the profits from our addiction to fossil-fuels to fuel a multi-million dollar lobbying and influence campaign to obstruct climate legislation. Not to mention the US Chamber of Commerce.

That's why it is so important for regular citizens to make their voices heard. As Beinecke writes,

"Now it's time for the rest of us to weigh in. Not with millions of dollars, but with something worth even more. Millions of voices. Millions of votes. One voice, one vote, at a time. " 

And you can start right here by sending a letter to your Senators to urge them to pass clean energy and climate legislation.