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Rick Edmund

Rick Edmund

Rick Edmund is a United Methodist church pastor in Maryland. He resides on Smith Island, which has been impacted by rising sea-level and in 2007 testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment about climate change and the Chesapeake Bay. ALL POSTS

Let's make a plan

Other nations can offer some guidelines as to how the U.S. can address our response to climate change. The Maldives are very concerned about their situation where the average land is only about 4 to 6 feet above sea level (about the same as Smith Island, Md., where I live). Their cabinet, led by newly elected president Mohamed Nasheed, held a meeting underwater using scuba gear, and they signed a declaration calling for global cuts in carbon emissions to be submitted in Copenhagen. While we could say this was a silly stunt, it did call attention to the plight of their nation of islands. On the more serious side, the Maldives are planning to buy land in another country to allow their 300,000 citizens to migrate when the sea overcomes their homes. Some of our land in American may face the same fate.

France, where 80 percent of their electricity is nuclear generated, deserves credit for thinking ahead of the curve. We can certainly look to them for helpful information in building anew that source of cleaner power, albeit with problems other than carbon emissions.

Switzerland faces loss of income due to glacier and snow melt which will affect tourism, and loss of agricultural production. The country is a direct democracy where the citizens can vote for legislation. Political alliances are not a factor as they are here in the United States when legislation is created. If the necessary majority of the population who votes decides to enact legislation, it happens. I think we can learn from the Swiss in one aspect -- the people of the country need to be behind any effort to enact legislation. I am surprised by how many people with whom I discuss global warming feel that any warming is only part of a natural cycle. I have studied science but I don't know the real meaning of the figures and graphs I see portrayed to try to convince me one way or the other. Let's have an understandable debate in this country to put before the American people the facts as we know them, and then let our Congressional Representatives and Senators know how we feel about this issue which will affect many generations after ours.

The country we can most learn from may well be our neighbor to the north. Canada began to embrace global efforts to stem climate change in 1992, and has a very comprehensive and detailed plan which pledges that country to make significant efforts to stem their greenhouse gases. I urge readers and our political representatives to examine "The Climate Change Plan for Canada" to see a focused effort by a developed country.

Let's not try to "do it on our own," but look to other countries for examples of what to do and what not to do. We're all in this together for the long haul.

By Rick Edmund  |  November 12, 2009; 3:38 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Lessons from Europe | Next: Many examples of what not to do

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