A special issue of Science Times, included Amb. Moses’ thoughts on her hopes and fears on climate change in timing with the UN Climate Summit.
MARLENE MOSES, Nauru’s ambassador to the United Nations, chairwoman of the Alliance of Small Island States
When I go home and look at the deteriorating situation there — increased droughts, the ocean washing away the coast — I can’t help but be fearful for what the future may hold for Nauru’s children and grandchildren. How will they adapt? Will the international community be there for them? These are most distressing questions to which I don’t yet have answers.
TENZIN GYATSO, 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet
The worst possible aspect of climate change is that it will be irreversible and irrevocable. Therefore, there is the urgency to do whatever we can to protect the environment while we can. When I was young, even I did not really think about the environment, nor did I hear much about it from others. Today, more and more people are trying to take action. We are beginning to look at this planet as our only home, and I am hopeful that this will lead to the generation of a genuine sense of universal responsibility. We can do this.
MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG, Former mayor of New York City and special United Nations envoy for cities and climate change
Something like 90 percent of the world’s cities are on coasts, and in most places, the most vulnerable people in those cities will feel the worst impacts. We have a responsibility to do something about that. We can’t afford to sit back, cross our fingers and hope for the best.
A tremendous amount of progress is being made by cities all around the world. Cities account for some 70 percent of the emissions that cause climate change, so together they can make a big difference. In New York City back in 2007, we set a goal of reducing our carbon footprint 30 percent by 2030, and we got to a 19 percent reduction in just six years.
Mayors have powers they can use to address climate change immediately. They have control over many of the things that create emissions — like transportation and buildings — and they can invest in infrastructure. They’re not interested in turning the issue into a big political fight. They’re the ones most directly responsible for people’s safety and welfare — and they recognize the dangers of inaction.
JEFFREY SACHS, Director, Earth Institute of Columbia University
The oil industry has lobbied Washington to a state of paralysis, and as is so often true, greed is at the root of the crisis, with the politicians getting in line to feed at the oil trough. The climate deniers are not the real problem. Their transparent propaganda and misdirections are laughable; their scientific ignorance is impossible to miss. The real problem is the cowardice and greed of those who absolutely know better, both in government and industry.
We are living in an age of technological breakthroughs that could transform the world economy to a low-carbon energy system by midcentury. Solar, wind, geothermal, carbon sequestration, safe nuclear energy, and energy efficiency are all part of the mix. The oil industry should cooperate, rather than faking it or dodging it as until now.