Elio Delgado Legon

Barack Obama observing climate change issues. Photo: voanews.com

HAVANA TIMES — Barack Obama has become the first US president to have shown a degree of concern over the present and future effects of climate change and has advanced a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions which has promoted numerous reactions at home and abroad.

Internally, several Republican politicians are saying Obama’s plan is impossible to implement and are announcing they will vote against it in Congress. These are the kinds of backward stances that have till now prevented the United States from assuming a responsible position on the matter, as would befit the largest economy in the world and the country that is polluting the atmosphere the most. They have also prevented the United States from signing the Kyoto protocol and from committing to any of the measures proposed at summits on climate change organized by the UN.

Obama will go down in history as the first US president to have attempted to do something regarding carbon dioxide emissions. However, Obama has only 17 months left as president, such that, even if the plan were to be approved, it would need to be implemented by subsequent administrations. In the more than six and a half years since taking office, he has done nothing in connection with the issue. That is to say, he has wasted far too much time, at a time when the impact of climate change is rapidly growing.

On the other hand, the plan proposed by Obama calls for a gradual 32 percent reduction of CO2 emissions until 2030, but with respect to emissions in 2005. Why does it not suggest a reduction with respect to current emissions? The explanation is very simple: in 2005, the economic crisis still hadn’t reared its ugly head and CO2 emissions were 17 percent higher than they are today, as a result of the crisis. That is to say, over the next 15 years, emissions will be reduced by a mere 15 percent with respect to current levels.

Supposing it is approved by Congress and US administrations over the next 14 years can actually implement it, Obama’s plan still comes a little too late. Climate change is no longer something awaiting us in the near future, it is here and, as of now, we will begin to feel its effects more intensely every year.

When the Kyoto Protocol was signed 18 years ago, we still had time to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the chief culprits behind climate change. The United States, however, refused to sign it.

Then Cuban President Fidel Castro warned of the dangers facing the human species if we didn’t take timely action. In June of 1992, during the UN Conference on the Environment and Development, he stated: “An important biological species is at risk of disappearing as a result of the rapid and progressive destruction of its natural living conditions: humanity.”

At the time, some may have thought the Cuban president was exaggerating and they didn’t heed his warnings, as they should have, for Fidel Castro has never said anything without prior thought. When he speaks of such a critical scenario, it is because he has studied it previously, reading the opinions of numerous scientists from around the world, who have been warning us about the problem for many years.

It’s been more than 20 years since Fidel Castro issued that warning, and nothing has been done to reduce the risks since. The risks have in fact grown and it is now too late to launch the shy greenhouse emission reduction plans now proposed. Either we undertake an ambitious, general and worldwide plan controlled by the UN that is binding, or the generations to come will have the sad experience of seeing how life on the planet comes to an end.

Elio Delgado Legon

Elio Delgado-Legon: I am a Cuban who has lived for 80 years, therefore I know full well how life was before the revolution, having experienced it directly and indirectly. As a result, it hurts me to read so many aspersions cast upon a government that fights tooth and nail to provide us a better life. If it hasn’t fully been able to do so, this is because of the many obstacles that have been put in its way.

10 thoughts on “Barack Obama and Climate Change

  • No, it’s explanatory because it’s USA Money that is the leader in destroying our environment.

    The Meso American Barrier Reef is in very bad shape, chopped up into pieces by pollution, it no longer forms a continuous, living structure even though the dead coral is still in place: it’s no longer the largest and definitely not anywhere near as clean as Cuba’s

    The “world leaders” (Do you know who?) may have convened a conference in 1979 and that conference formed the IPCC and called upon the UN to call a convention, etc… these are all undisputed facts, but it took Fidel to take the lead as he has so many times. USA Presidents and Harper have fought tooth and nail to delay and block international attempts at limiting indu$trial pollution; Did the USA sign the Tokyo Accord? NO! What about Harper (Canadian Prime Minister) NO!
    Gee, it looks like you jumped the gun again Moses, at least I don’t ask you to put down the crack pipe or call you a “Black…fascist”, but I do get pissed off from time to time with you, I imagine it’s the same there. Just Remember: Sticks and Stones May Hurt My Bones, But Words Will Never Hurt Me”. Repeat this as a Mantra and you will live a very happy life.

  • What has been exposed is your misstatements about the US as the #1 polluter. Your attempt to recast your statement is noted. Now, you have erred again. Your claim that Cuba has the largest coral reef in the Caribbean is wrong. The Mesoamerican Reef which lies within the Caribbean Sea and touches the coasts of Mexico, Belize,Guatemala and Honduras contains the largest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, stretching nearly 700 miles from the northern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula down through the Honduran Bay Islands. With regards to climate change, as early as 1979, world leaders convened the first World Climate Conference. This led to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) set up in 1988. The United Nations General Assembly, in 1990, began negotiations on a framework convention which took place in 1992 when Fidel finally jumped on the bandwagon. He was far from the first world leader to acknowledge this issue. Please stop the ad hominem attacks an focus on your verifying your facts.

  • Of course you are, you have trouble conceiving anything positive about Cuba or Fidel and suspect any positive source of such information to the point of imagining conspiracy and outright fraud; that is simply called a Negative Obsession with Paranoid tendencies, in your case surely beyond the Neurotic threshold. Fidel did address this issue at the UN in 1992, the first head of State to do so at this highest international level and way before it was popular, particularly among Venture Capitalists who still scoff at environmental issues and at ANYTHING at ALL that stands between them and their plans for exploitation.
    Also, your country may not be territorially the #1 polluter in quantity, but all emissions from the USA Capitalist Ventures around the world, such as Union Carbide of Bhopal fame, plus those emissions from the territorial USA combined top the charts. Furthermore, the toxicity of all these U$A emissions, while internally curtailed somewhat by an uneven patchwork of “swiss cheese” laws, different in each State of the Union, and by very new, very few Federal regulations and guidelines (Obama is the first USA President to try to pass Fed Law limiting the emissions of CO2), are not so controlled in most countries where USA money is financing the destruction and contamination of the environment and the People.
    Lack of massive industrial pollution in Cuba has saved such treasures as our coral reefs, the largest and most pristine in the Caribbean/Gulf of Mexico. The establishment of National Parks and Protected Areas all over the Island, strict environmental laws and extensive studies have succeeded in renewing, preserving and protecting our flora and fauna both on land and in the ocean much better than anyplace in the hemisphere.
    Now explain why do you think either I or any other intelligent reader is going to accept your dismissal of don Elio’s Article as simply “tired and inaccurate praise”. That particular Fidel Speech was HISTORIC, let me rub it in your face a bit more, please; and your attempts at twisting, downgrading, negating and criticizing every single one of our many accomplishments under the Revolutionary Government of Fidel and Raúl Castro has again been exposed and disposed of in the trash bin of history (well, kind of, with a very small h…).

  • I am having trouble believing that 80-plus year
    old Elio wrote this post himself. Nonetheless, is it an investigatve error or
    is Elio’s well -documented anti-US bias showing when he inaccurately writes that
    the US is, “the country that is polluting the atmosphere the most.”? According to the UN, that dubious distinction
    belongs to China who was the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide; the country
    accounted for around 23.4 percent of global CO2 emissions last year. Elio is
    again mistaken when he writes about Obama’s effort to slow if not reverse the
    effects of global warming that “he has done nothing in connection with the
    issue.” On the contrary, he has done more than any previous US President. While
    that isn’t saying much, Obama began his battle for the environment way back in
    2009 after his less than ideal participation in the Copenhagan Climate Change
    conference. Elio also parrots the tired and inaccurate praise of Fidel’s speech
    to the UN in 1992. Environmentalists and world leaders have long warned of the perils
    of air and water pollution since at least the early 1960s. Elio should stick to his waxing nostalgic about his days as a youth 57 years ago in Castro’s revolution. At least then, when he gets his facts wrong, no one still alive notices.

  • For some reason, I don’t believe that 80+ year old Fidelista, Elio, actually wrote this post himself. Nonetheless, is it simply an investigation error or is this Elio’s anti-US politics showing when he inaccurately alleges that the US is the world’s worst polluter. The truth is China andIndia, which have seen unprecedented growth in the past decade, have the highest levels of carbon dioxide emission.

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