George Jacob is the President & CEO of Bay Ecotarium- the largest non-profit watershed conservation group with seven branches including Aquarium of the Bay, Sea Lion Center, Bay Academy, Studio Aqua, Bay Model, EcoXpeditions and the Bay Institute, in the San Francisco Bay Area, celebrating its 40th year in environmental advocacy.
Within hours of being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden, took swift Executive Action on Climate and Environment.
With curbing Global Warming as his highest priority, President Biden has instructed the review and reinstatement of over 100 environmental regulations diluted by the previous administration’s policies, even as he rescinded the Keystone XL Pipeline project construction permit to bring crude oil from Canadian oil sands to the refineries on the Gulf Coast. Nearly half of the regulations in focus emanate from the Environmental Protection Agency’s position on endangered species, habitat, drinking water, chemical pollution et al.
In his letter to the United Nations signed by Mr. Biden today, he has stated his recommitment of the United States to the Paris Accord, drawing praise and support from world leaders, who hailed it as a step in the right direction to address the growing existential threat being faced by the planet. It was in 2019 that the Trump administration formally notified the United Nations of its intent to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord. Among the 17 Executive Orders signed, also included a temporary moratorium on Oil and Natural Gas exploration leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and recreate a working group on the social cost as well as the impact on greenhouse gas emissions. The United States has been the highest and longest-standing contributor to global warming and carbon emissions.
With the US Chamber of Commerce signaling its support toward the Climate Accord and its opposition to the cancellation of the Keystone pipeline, other objections and legal challenges are to be expected, prior to a long-term agenda in overcoming global challenges and dependencies on fossil-fuels, emissions, automobile standards and other industrial pollutants that contribute to a cyclical economy and imbalance of trade. Internally, the ambitious target of reducing and eliminating carbon emissions by 2035 and 2050 will undoubtedly hinge on the viability of a one-vote thin majority in the Senate. The job losses are not only in the refineries but also in the allied sectors of petroleum by-products. Many are surprised to learn that the common aspirin has the hydrocarbon benzene derived from petroleum. From CDs to chewing gum, from dentures to cosmetics, to everyday plastics to toothpaste and shampoos are all allied sectors impacted if the refineries stop production. Solar panels and embedded fuel cells on the panels use petroleum-based products, though, at some point, they will be replaced by synthetic alternates. It is never easy to be in the crosshairs of job losses and doing the right thing for the greater good.
It is important to remember that while President Obama strived for a 28 percent carbon reduction between 2005 and 2025, the reality is somewhere at the half-way level. Nevertheless, it is still a journey towards the moral compass of intent and the audacity of aspiration.
Meanwhile, here in the Bay Area, this momentum could yield positive traction in the establishment of the world’s most comprehensive Climate Resilience an Ocean Conservation Living Museum under planning at the Embarcadero in San Francisco. The vision was unveiled with Dr. Jill Biden, now the First Lady of the United States, delivering the Key-Note on the need for education and awareness towards Climate and Sustainable Oceans.