About 97% of climate scientists have endorsed or substantiated that concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere have increased at an accelerating rate over the last few decades or more along with a rising temperatures. The research on which these findings are based comes from evidence that has been systematically gathered and analyzed by numerous independent teams of researchers from countries around the world.

Academies of science from many nations identify and give legitimacy to studies that meet the most rigorous criteria. And there are international scientific organizations that scrutinize thousands of peer-reviewed studies and choose for examples of the best science only the studies that meet the high standards of scientific method and analysis. Wikipedia, the online free encyclopedia provides a comprehensive overview of national and international organizations and the positions that have taken in its pages on “Scientific Opinion on Climate Change.

The evidence is compelling that disruptive climate change is occurring and speeding up as time passes. David Leonhardt, journalist for the New York Times, refers to a few examples of the evidence in an article titled “It’s Not Easy Being Green” ( Feb 9, 2013). Leonhardt writes: “The continental United States endured its hottest year on record in 2012, and the planet’s 13 hottest years have all occurred since 1998. Major storms and wildfires are increasing in many regions. The air in much of China resembles soup. The seas are rising faster than forecast only a few years ago, and the costs of extreme weather are rising, too.”

Investigative journalist Dan Huber of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, writes, “In the Arctic, sea ice shrank to a new record low, 18 percent below the previous record set in 2007.” This is another ominous development that reinforces the acceleration global warming.

We cannot withdraw the greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere or in the oceans or that are being continuously emitted from fossil fuel uses around the world. But there is a multifaceted energy path for the U.S. that, if followed, could slow or mitigate the problem of disruptive climate change over the next few decades and set an example for the world to follow. Knowing there are feasible, if not yet politically viable, directions for curtailing climate change keeps our hope for the future from being extinguished.

· Phase out all coal production, while massively increasing support for wind and solar energy and other genuine sources of green energy power.

· Have the president require energy efficiency and renewable energy measures for all appropriate federal government buildings, cars and trucks, military facilities, naval ships, and so forth.

· Support the development of mass transit systems, high-speed rail, and higher fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.

· Require that an increasing number of products in the economy are recyclable and/or reusable.

· Expand insulation projects for low-income housing.

· Encourage the design and development of housing and communities with energy efficiency as a key consideration.

· Support community- and regionally-based agriculture, reduce the need for petroleum derived fertilizers and insecticides, at the same time reduce the many thousands of miles presently required to transport food from one distant place to another.

· Provide retraining and jobs for those who are displaced by any of these initiatives.

Insofar as the federal government is involved, new or expanded programs can be paid for by reducing the “defense” budget. This can be accomplished through the identification and elimination of waste through independent audits, the elimination of unnecessary weapon systems, closing military bases in Europe and other places, and the demilitarization of foreign policy. Additional revenues can be raised through a small transaction tax on trades made on the stock exchanges and on derivative trades over-the-counter. One result of such a tax would be to limit the kind of speculative investments that were partly responsible for the economic chaos that erupted in 2007 and that still affects millions of American households. Lastly, revenues can also be raised by instituting a carbon tax to discourage fossil fuel use, with a rebate system benefiting those households and business enterprises that use relatively less fossil-fueled based energy than others.

Our overall goal should be the replacement of economies like ours that are based on short-term profits, rising wealth for a few, overconsumption, waste, resource depletion, pollution, oligopoly, too-big-to-fail giant corporations, all aided and abetted by government austerity policies dished out for the majority. Such economies, like ours should be replaced by economic arrangements that are able to operate sustainably within the resource limits of the earth’s ecosystems. There are many articles and books that discuss such a “new economy” or “steady-state” economy. One good place to start is to read the book by Rob Dietz and Dan O’Neill, Enough is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources.