System Change Not Climate Change: Monthly Climate Crisis Commentary

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By JAMES FORTIN

“Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science.” Really? Physicians for Social Responsibility is opposed to this new rule promoted by the Trump-trashed Environmental Protection Agency. It requires disclosure of personal information such as names and birthdates of parties whose data is used for scientific evaluation. Not surprisingly the rule disallows an analysis of about 35,000 medical records that provide evidence of significantly increased risk of acute asthma attacks in people living near fracking operations. A “direct censorship of science,”say thephysicians. Others say Orwellian doublespeak.

Arctic sabbaticals for airline executives? Aviation accounts for about 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. In addition to a host of other negative impacts, every round-trip trans-Atlantic flight emits enough carbon dioxide to melt 30 square feet of Arctic sea ice. However, biofuels, advanced wing designs, hydrogen-powered engines and electric motors for aircraft taxiing may become viable combinations to decarbonize air travel, some researchers say. To not disturb their profound thinking on the subject, perhaps each airline CEO should ponder that from their own 30 square-foot patch.

Money can’t buy you love. Nearly 70,000 Maine voters signed a petition to overturn by referendum a proposal disguised as “clean” energy by an electric power consortium. The petitioners would reverse governmental approvals for a transmission corridor that includes a clear cut the width of the New Jersey turnpike through an area of woodlands and lakes prized by hikers, sportspeople, and ecological groups. The consortium in turn is spending $19.5 million in slick ads to fight any rollback to their $1 billion project. Yet, 65% of those polled are still not singing their tune and just plain don’t love the idea.

More Signs of the Times. In a picture from a Seattle youth environmental event one placard read, “Stop Denying, Start Trying,” while another mused, “When Leaders Act Like Kids, The Kids Become Leaders.” But they were polite enough to not even name the current White House occupant.

Two kinds of climate change. Since the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil disaster of 2010 offshore oil drilling has become even more perilous. In that disaster 12 died, 3 million barrels of oil fouled wetlands and beaches, and hundreds of thousands of marine animals perished. Now Gulf of Mexico drilling is even deeper and riskier, oil production there is greater than in 2010, and government safety inspections of the industry are fewer. Sad to say but the climate for oil industry regulation in Congress has waned while both major parties ignore doing anything about the looming climate catastrophe as a whole. The only climate that should change is the climate for a system that does not work.

Not all “hoaxes” are the same. First, climate change was a “hoax.” Then the President deemed coronavirus to be one as well. Surely there must be differences. Well, columnist Thomas L. Friedman has publicly corrected the big boy on TV, “Because there is one huge difference between the coronavirus and climate change: Climate change doesn’t peak,” and it’s “forever. There is no herd immunity to climate change. There are only endless impacts on the herd.”

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