Climate Crisis Commentary for June 2020
By JAMES FORTIN
Science is science. Academics at Yale and George Mason University released joint polling that shows 73 percent of Americans believe climate change is occurring with a majority believing it to be a “clear and present threat to the health of people in their community.” In their study it was found that the government’s bungled response to the COVID-19 pandemic may have solidified support for climate science because the public thinks “science matters.” On the other hand, only 10 percent of Americans now believe that global warming is not happening – about near the number that thinks the Earth is flat.
Renewable energy is divine. Volunteers carting solar energy equipment trekked for 10 days up 13,000 feet to the Himalayan area of Ladakh in remote northern India. Installing a 250-watt solar panel, 20 bulbs and a streetlight, their efforts illuminated the hillside monastery as well as the village lanes below it. One of the trekkers noted that the locals offered “whoops and cheers knowing that eight hours of light every day was now assured.” As for the monks, it is “now easier to pray and chant.” Prayers answered.
Can’t get charged up about electric cars. Current and potential electric car owners in dense urban areas bemoan the scarcity of electric charging stations in their neighborhoods, particularly the fast-charging units. The quickest DC-charging station costs a whopping $100,000 to $150,000. Permits, siting and construction in New York City can drive up the cost to $1 million. Makes public transportation, cycling or walking look better to urbanites every day, you would think. And you don’t have to search for a place to park.
Half-truths. The Trump EPA, at it again. Another new rule imposed by the EPA prohibits regulators from considering the cost of human health hazards when analyzing mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants. The EPA formula: Do not consider mercury poisoning, asthma, and heart attacks ($80 billion). Only consider the half-truth of the matter – clean-up costs ($18 billion). Then disallow the mitigation as being too costly. Easy! But then again, saying those who would jeopardize our health in favor of profits are greedy businessmen is only a half truth. The other half of the truth is that they are sociopaths and criminals as well.
Feeling climate heat in the boardroom. JPMorgan Chase is the world’s number one financer of fossil fuels. So, it is at least interesting to witness the removal of former ExxonMobil CEO Lee Raymond from his leadership role on the JPMorgan Board of Directors. According to climate activist Bill McKibben, this “is the man who, more than any other, exemplifies the fossil fuel industry’s decades of climate denial…he’s retreating under pressure from the climate movement.” Whether or not this will have a sobering impact on JPMorgan Chase’s role in fostering climate Armageddon, we can at least join McKibben in a celebratory toast to his win in this hard-fought battle.