I don't know where to begin with this.
I was really sad when a guy came to our local Quaker meeting from the local Interfaith Climate Alliance, and discussed how our area could "lead the race" by requiring local buildings to install solar panels and giving out little brown stars people could display. It is sad that most people can do little more about climate change than make such fashion statements, but IEEE(USA) is unique in being in a position to actually help in a large and useful way which could really make a difference. It is deeply painful to me that we aren't doing it. No amount of political calculations could possibly justify our failure to speak truth to power as we, because of our expertise, have a unique responsibility for doing.
IS net carbon emission from electric power generation one of the important big drivers of bad climate change? Maybe that's a bit beyond our capacity to agree on, but
the article on Canada certainly assumes so, so let us ask what that implies.
In my view, the number one thing the US could do to accelerate renewable electricity in this country, within current budgets (and without really big hidden taxes), is to give FERC authority to approve interstate transmission lines EXACTLY as it now has authority to approve natural gas pipelines. At the last meeting I attended of EPC, there seemed to be a strong consensus to try to go ahead now, as we would if we really cared (not just to make a fashion statement but to make a difference). EEI has told me they tried hard to push this years ago, as did Pickens (who was ready to build and invest if regulations had not prevented it). But they did not have visible enough or articulate enough "public" types of supporters. But then the hired staff informed us that "STEM spending" is the all-arching required priority, and that the best we could do is advise spending new money at NAS to talk about the issue, to be buried somewhere deep where no one would really see it anyway. Others told me that this kind of cutting through today's tangle of regulation would play into Trump's priorities too much, and they feared helping Trump too much by making him look good.
So I keep wondering: do we ONLY care about fashion statements, or do we care about survival?
In fact, after my year addressing climate in Specter's office, I learned more and more that the really serious, urgent threat from climate change is (1) NOT simply warming, and certainly not acid oceans; and (2) FAR worse than the public knows. See www.werbos.com/Atacama.pdf. I do not believe that any economically or politically plausible effort to reduce CO2 emissions would have much chance of preventing the very worst outcomes, involving some combination of (1) sea level rise due to the expansion of the new crack in the Antarctic; (2) massive H2S emission from the Pacific, to be expected in maybe 40 years when oxygen layers thin out (but new research is needed to pin that down better); and (3) less massive problems of the same kind in the Arctic, coming sooner because of how shallow that ocean is, also threatening the Gulf Stream (via a new effect, not the salinity gradient we see now from Greenland melting, but a temperature gradient effect). In my view, IEEEUSA could have helped by opening the door to developing geoengineering options, as part of a new space policy, but once again the iron triangle political approach (aka "swamp") stopped that.
I really hope I was wrong to give up here, but I will not be surprised to hear that I am politically out for even talking about such distractions as whether we all live or die in the end.
It is true that other nations still offer some hope of survival, but that's a complex subject even more horrifying to the swamp.