A New Childish Tactic to Combat Global Warming Preventive Actions

I commend President Obama for addressing the issue of global warming and the need to act. He has helped already with the higher miles per gallon standards on cars and perpetuating tax credits to invest in alternative energy which have been paying dividends. However, we do not have an orchestrated eco-energy plan to do what is needed to more aggressively combat this problem. We are already at least ten years behind on this and our failure to do more would be viewed as one of greatest tragedies by our children and grandchildren. Yet, two articles that appeared in the Wall Street Journal last weekend and one editorial by a national columnist in my paper today have interested me for both their begrudging acknowledgement of the climate change problem as well as a very childish theme in response.

This morning Charles Krauthammer, a conservative national columnist, wrote an editorial called “President Obama’s Global Warming Folly” which picks up on themes of the two articles in last weekend’s WSJ. The first was by Rusty Todd on “Why the Grass Should Not Always Be Greener” and the second by Holman Jenkins, Jr. “The Climate Change Speech Obama Didn’t Give.”  In Todd’s article, it was noted we should be less concerned by the significant use of water to frack with as we waste more water in the US watering our lawns. In Krauthammer and Jenkins’ articles, it was noted that we should be less worried about addressing climate change as the Chinese will be using far greater coal and it won’t do any good. To me, that is like a child asking why should I behave because Johnny and Susie are doing worse things than me?

Two comments. First, water is a dear resource and we should be concerned about the use of water in many more calculations of Return on Investment, including its use in lawn irrigation and fracking. To this latter point, frackers and farmers are fighting over water in places like Kansas and California. This is before we get to the other environmental concerns of the toxic air and water pollution which are occurring. I would encourage people to read Steven Solomon’s excellent book “Water: The Epic Struggle for Wealth, Power and Civilization” whose historical context lends credence to his concerns over our use of such a dear resource.

You may ask what does this have to do with global warming? Water is becoming a dear resource with or without global warming. The scientific models say global warming will make the drought areas worse and more prone to forest fires, while dumping excessive amounts of water in other areas through stalled weather systems causing flooding. This is already happening. Yet, as we look at ways to countervent this problem, we must factor in the use of water in our equations. Burning natural gas is cleaner than burning coal, but it is not perfect. Yet, if we must drain our water supply to get natural gas, not to mention all the other toxic chemicals that find their way into the air and water, then we are creating other major problems that global warming will exacerbate.

Second, the climate change comments are equally irksome, as we are beyond the tipping point on doing something about this obvious problem. Not that it matters, but I left the GOP in 2006 because of its stance on global warming. It was very apparent then, that the fossil fuel industry’s unhealthy influence over the GOP is causing smart people to ignore what NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)  and 97% of scientists are saying. Please check out the “The Global Warming Reader” complied by Bill McKibben, a world-renowned climate scientist. He notes the significance of Congress failing to approve an acknowledgement of climate change along party lines in April, 2011. He said that date may go down in history as a point when we could have acted, but did not. Due to their failure, the President is now picking up the reins and driving ahead.

If we are going to get others to act more responsibly on climate change, we need to do better ourselves. We need to more aggressively move toward alternative energy sources and build on what is already happening in our country on a confederated basis with solar, wind and biomass energy. By itself, California is the producer of the 7th most solar energy in the world (if measured as a country) and wind energy is in 39 states. My own state of North Carolina is the 5th most prolific solar energy producing state in the US and is home to Semprius, a company that produces the most efficient solar photovoltaic panel in the world, improving by 40% the effectiveness over the previous best model. And, these industries are producing local jobs, so it truly is not an either/ or proposition. I have learned recently that Strata Solar, a North Carolina based company that installs solar systems for businesses and individuals, has more orders than they can handle.

Let me close with a survey that USA Today did after the President’s speech. It noted that 65% of Americans are concerned or greatly concerned with climate change as problem, with 33% being unconcerned. The lowness of the 65% disturbs me as it shows how effective the fossil fuel industry efforts to create doubt have been. According to McKibben’s book, this effort to confuse the issue dates back to 1992. His book actually takes the time to show dissenting views, which I found very generous and even-handed.  Yet, when you read the three articles and editorials above, you do see a begrudging acknowledgement of the problem after previous naysaying by the authors. At least that should be viewed as a success. Now, let’s go do something more about it and stop throwing childish tantrums.

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17 thoughts on “A New Childish Tactic to Combat Global Warming Preventive Actions

  1. The last time our country engaged in a forward-thinking, organized, and clearly defined energy policy was during Jimmie Carter’s brief and doomed administration. That in itself says a lot for the power of the fossil fuel industry.
    Thanks for presenting a clear, logical discussion of the things we all need to work on.

    • Many thanks. Carter gets a lot of inappropriate grief on other issues, but he did articulate a pretty good eco-energy policy. I was sad to see his successor take down the solar panels off the roof of the White House. Both the set-up and take down of those panels are metaphors. Take care, BTG

    • Thanks for your comments and sharing the link. Gasland II airs tomorrow which will show more of a spotlight on fracking dangers. On climate change, we must and insist other countries move away from coal and dirty energy sources. The train wreck in Quebec yesterday took out much of a town.

      • Z, It was overshadowed by the plane crash in SFO, but a train carrying crude oil derailed and caught fire within town limits and caused much of the town to burn. Death toll is unknown. They have to wait until the fire is out to investigate. Think good thoughts. BTG

      • I did not open the plane-crash prompts, as they seemed too voyeuristic. ditto for the firefighters’ deaths. seeing the headlines was enough for me. the train wreck must have been horrific.

      • Thank goodness all but two survived. There are about 50 or so in the hospital with burns, bruises, etc. But, the flight attendants safely guided about 300 people to safety. It appears the pilots were coming in too low and tried to reengage the engines to lift back up and the tail hit and spun the plane. Whew.

      • oooh.. i just had a flashback: my former husband was a pilot, and that is not someone you should sit beside on a commercial flight. i remember once we were coming in for a landing, and my husband said, ‘he’s too low.. he’s too low…’

        your comment (above) sent my creative mind back to an earlier date, and i could visualize what might have happened. so glad that there were so few casualties. thanks for the report!

      • That appears to be the culprit. Seems like they turned the reins over to someone who was gaining experience with this jet. Yes, it is amazing only two passed away. Let’s hope none of those in the hospital lose theirs. I don’t think I could get back on a jet to fly back to China right now, although some did.

  2. I’m right in the middle of an apparently stalled weather pattern right now. My town is floating away and I could stock my basement with trout. Meanwhile, my mom in CO says they are suffering from severe drought and wildfires.

    • This appears to be the new normal. I just got back from taking my daughter to a camp in the NC mountains and it is supposed to rain all week. Sorry about your flooding.

      • Well, we had a very beautiful day today, till about 7, when the sky opened up again. It was nice to see the sun. It lifted my spirits after so much dreary weather. It’s really sad for the farmers, whose crops have washed away. I’m about to go to the beach for the first time in years. Looks like rain all weekend there too. Oh, well. I have a lot of good books to catch up on. Hope your daughter has a good time:)

      • Have fun at the beach. Some of our best vacations at the beach occurred when it rained. Catch some movies, read up. I saw Gasland II last night. Whew. Take care, BTG

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