Monday, May 07, 2007

Kerry in Florida... 'We Can Stop a Catastrophe'

John Kerry was in Coral Gables, Florida on Sunday afternoon to promote his book about the environment -- "This Moment on Earth."

Kerry co-wrote "This Moment On Earth," with his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry.

It talks about the environmental movement and the need for solutions to pressing environmental problems.

"It's about how we can deal with environmental issues effectively, make money, create new jobs, be more secure and ultimately make America stronger," Kerry said.

The Kerry's also had an OP/ED published on the environment, in the Miami Herald on Monday. Read it here:

We can stop a catastrophe
Miami Herald
May 07, 2007

BY John Kerry and Teresa Heinz Kerry

Hundreds of thousands of people move to Florida every year, but -- for the same reason that people flock there -- Florida has more to lose than almost any other state from global warming.

Florida has 8,400 miles of tidally influenced coastline. Scientists estimate that, unless we act, sea levels could rise 18-20 inches by 2100 -- endangering everything within 250 feet of the shoreline. Hurricanes are already growing stronger, and rising sea levels and fiercer storms could create disasters that dwarf those we've experienced in recent years.

Florida stands to lose twice over because of the revenue generated by its beaches and natural beauty. The tourism industry is one reason why, in the 12 months before July 2006, Florida's population grew by 321,697 people, the second-most of any state in the country. Beachgoers generate more than $15 billion in revenue. In 2001, nearly 5 million people spent around $6.2 billion on wildlife viewing, hunting and fishing -- supporting 122,518 jobs in the state.

Difficult choices

So when the next batch of presidential candidates starts converging on your state before the 2008 election, make sure they tell you exactly what they plan to do to stop global warming. Because this state has a special stake in solving climate change.

Inaction on global climate change has been the latest chapter in the long story in both parties of politics at its worst -- ducking the difficult choices, giving into the big contributors, substituting words for deeds, postponing the reckoning until the day after tomorrow. If you offend no one, you change nothing.

Here's the bottom line: Within the next decade, if we don't deal with global warming, our children and grandchildren will have to deal with global catastrophe.

Business leaders will tell you: This crisis presents an economic opportunity to create new technologies that lower emissions and reverse the damage already done. Every schoolchild knows our history of innovation -- from the Wright Brothers to Henry Ford to Bill Gates, from the Model T to the iPod. Why would we stop now?

The real crisis will come if we fail to seize the opportunities that global warming presents -- for renewables, efficiency breakthroughs and clean technologies.

We can create millions of new jobs and vast new markets, slow global warming, save taxpayers money, earn the world's respect and significantly strengthen our long-term outlook. All by making a commitment to solve global warming.

Thankfully, people are finally waking up, and the result is a new face of a new environmentalism. For anyone who ever once ridiculed environmentalists as elitist ''tree huggers,'' it's time to meet the new face of the environmental movement: ranchers out West, CEOs of ten major companies urging mandatory carbon-emissions caps, evangelicals who believe in ''creation care'' and parents wondering what's in the water that their kids drink.

The new environmentalists reject the lazy dodge that caring about the environment means caring less about security or the economy because they understand that, in the long run, these issues are inseparable.

To put it simply, this is a matter of life and death. It is a matter of keeping our children safe and of respecting God's creation. It is a matter of preserving species and protecting the bottom line.

Yet U.S. oil use over the past decade has increased by nearly 2.7 million barrels a day -- more than India and Pakistan together use daily. By 2025 we will depend on imports for 70 percent of our oil use.

Yet we are allowing carbon-dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere to rocket past levels that are safe and sustainable.

Yet we have allowed the Earth's average surface temperature to increase 1.4 degrees since 1920. The Earth is hotter today than at any time in at least the past thousand years.

Talk is not enough: We must lead the worldwide race for new energy sources that do not empower our enemies, pollute our skies and waters and imperil our future.

We need to take bold steps -- massive investment in renewable fuels, a carbon emissions cap and a dramatic hike in fuel-efficiency standards -- if we hope to contain this growing threat.

The future of Florida is at stake. Earlier, we mentioned that Florida's population grew the second-most in the nation. You might be wondering which state grew more. It was Texas -- and the tragic reason was the flood of people displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Florida cannot afford the stronger hurricanes and damaged coastlines that unchecked global warming threatens to unleash.

The time to act is now.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., is a former Democratic nominee for president. Teresa Heinz Kerry is the president of the Heinz Family Philanthropies.

There's video of Kerry's visit to Florida here and here... and more on the book event at the Blog on

Cross posted on The Democratic Daily.

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