Here are two recent hits from the Climate Letter Project, now in its fourth year of daily LTEs on the subject of climate change.
Every day I type "climate change news" into my searchbar, then rummage through the results until I find a news outlet that A: accepts letters to the editor and B: hasn't published anything from me recently.
And then I sit down and write them a letter. It's not much, but it's more than nothing. As the stay-at-home father of an 8-year-old girl, I can't go get arrested right now. So I write letters as a substitute for wringing my hands and frowning. Judging from the amount of frowning and wringing I do, it doesn't work that well...but just think how much wringing and frowning I'd be doing if I didn't write these letters!
Follow me below the Boehner-hued gastropodia for the goodies:
The Barnstable Patriot (Barnstable, MA) offers a column from one Richard Elrick, noted as "From the Left." Because the Right is always wrong:***********************
The fact is that unless we substantially reduce our use of fossil fuels by 50 to 80 percent by 2050, when compared to 2000 levels, we will pass a “tipping point,” and most likely not be able to avoid the most catastrophic effects of a warming world.It's good to know history. Sent Feb. 27:
The American discussion about climate change and cheap energy will be coming to a crucial crescendo soon when President Obama will have to make a decision about whether to allow the Keystone XL Pipeline to be built. If constructed, the pipeline would cross from Canada down to refineries in the Gulf of Mexico, carrying the dirtiest, most carbon-intensive oil from the tar sands and shale of Alberta.
There will be incredible pressure on the president to allow Keystone to proceed. We are addicted to cheap oil, and the perception exists for some that we “need” Keystone for the jobs and economy.
But the truth, as NASA scientist and climate change expert Dr. James Hansen so eloquently described recently to a Keystone Pipeline supporter, is that, “The climate science is crystal clear. We cannot go down the path of the dirty fuels without guaranteeing that the climate system passes tipping points, leaving our children and grandchildren a situation out of their control, a situation of our making.”
Mr. President, the choice is yours. You can start us down the road to a sustainable energy future, or you can give way to the short-term and short-sighted political forces that need their fossil fuel fix. Posterity’s future awaits your decision.
As global warming's effects get harder and harder to ignore, we can expect a gradual transformation in denialist rhetoric, from "it's not happening" to "it's too expensive to do anything." Statements of this sort are typical rationalizations of addictive behavior, and as Richard Elrick and countless others have pointed out, American civilization is addicted to fossil fuels. In refusing to address climate change, conservatives deny the grim facts of our national dependency. Similarly, attempts to promote fossil-fuel "alternatives" ostensibly less damaging to the planet's climate, such as "clean coal" or natural gas (extracted by the process of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking"), are nothing more than the desperate bargaining attempts of an addiction.Published.
Let's consider these claims in the light of history — in particular another national dependency of a little more than a century ago. In 1895, millions of Americans were hooked on morphine, which was freely available over the counter. It was an enormous social and medical crisis, finally solved with diacetylmorphine, a "non-addictive" substitute, marketed under the trade name of "Heroin." Let's remember how well that worked out before we put our hopes in natural gas and "clean coal."
If humanity is to survive and prosper in the coming centuries, we need to transform our energy economy profoundly and completely.
BREAKING: Idiot half-term governor's hand-picked replacement is also an idiot:***********************
Before being picked as John McCain’s running mate in 2008, Governor Sarah Palin seemed a true believer in climate change. In September 2007, responding to requests for urgent action, Palin established the Alaska Climate Change Sub-Cabinet to develop and implement a comprehensive Alaska Climate Change Strategy.The changer things get, the samer they stay. March 2:
But we’ve just learned that, after Palin resigned in summer 2009 and Sean Parnell (a former ConocoPhillips executive) replaced her as governor, the new governor essentially terminated the Climate Cabinet, without informing the Alaska public. Evidently, Gov. Parnell does not think the risk of climate change in Alaska serious enough to continue the Climate Cabinet, or perhaps he fears it may compromise his “drill-baby-drill” economic plan. Either way, this is spectacularly irresponsible.
In establishing the Climate Cabinet, Palin correctly stated that: “Climate change is not just an environmental issue. It is also a social, cultural, and economic issue important to all Alaskans. As a result of this warming, coastal erosion, thawing permafrost, retreating sea ice, record forest fires, and other changes are affecting, and will continue to affect, the lifestyles and livelihoods of Alaskans. Alaska needs a strategy to identify and mitigate potential impacts of climate change and to guide its efforts in evaluating and addressing known or suspected causes of climate change.”
The distance between "should" and "will" is vivdly evident in the cavalier dismissal of Alaska's climate change sub-cabinet by Governor Parnell. The readiness of self-styled "conservatives" to do anything but conserve would be astonishing if it weren't so predictable.Published.
Under climbing Arctic temperatures, huge swaths of land will become unrecognizable; ecosystems which developed to fit Alaska's unique conditions will struggle to adapt to an environment changing too fast for evolution to keep up. Climatologists' predictions of the impact of an increasingly hotter world have, if anything, underestimated the speed, severity, and complexity of the damage; to willfully ignore science because its findings are inconvenient or uncomfortable is to live in a dream world.
Conservative climate-change deniers in American politics need to visit the real world — a place where superstorms, droughts, heat waves and drastic ecological transformations are already underway. Governor Parnell needs to wake up and smell the permafrost.
Please note that the final sentence of this letter was stolen directly from the Freeway Blogger.
Okay, that's all for now. Go write some letters! Steal some of mine!