Year 4, Month 2, Day 19: Can’t Do Nothin’ Without The Man.

The Boston Herald reports that Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick is arguing in favor of buried power lines. Given that the power lines currently have about 200 kg of ice on them, that’s not such a bad idea:

SCITUATE – Gov. Deval Patrick this morning called for a sweeping review of the cost to bury power lines underground as the weekend’s storm left 100,000 Bay Staters still without electricity and more than 1,000 still in shelters.

“I am personally very interested in seeing a real analysis done on the cost to bury utilities underground. I know it’s expensive, but I have to believe that with the cost of recovery, the disruption to personal and work lives over time and given the increased frequency of storms of this severity,” it’s worth a review, Patrick said.

Early Monday, an estimated 100,000 Bay Staters were still without power and approximately 1,500 storm-displaced people were still in shelters.

With fiercer weather events predicted, and the state’s history of long-lasting power outages, the governor said, “We need to start thinking long term about how we adjust. Meteorologists are telling us that we’re going to see more storms like this, and so we are going to have to start thinking, long term, about how we address this,” Patrick said from this hard-hit town’s high school, where more than 100 residents rode out Superstorm Nemo.

But since climate change isn’t real, this is going to cost too much. Sent February 11:

When Governor Patrick, arguing for underground power lines in the Commonwealth, says that “meteorologists are telling us that we’re going to see more storms like this,” what he’s really talking about, of course, is climate change. Rising sea levels and increased atmospheric humidity are going to make the next generation of hurricanes and snowstorms into massive events. The prospect of a Nemo-sized storm once or twice every winter is an excellent argument for putting as many electrical lines underground as possible — as fast as possible.

States on the frontline of the transforming climate will have to work rapidly to avert catastrophic consequences over the coming decades. But there is another strategy which has outlived its usefulness: the attempt by conservative politicians and media to deny the obvious facts of a rapidly transforming climate. Climate-change denialists are on the wrong side of science, and the wrong side of history.

Warren Senders


Month 9, Day 1: These People CANNOT be Allowed to Have Political Power!

The Boston Globe notes the ignorance and folly of Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill, the two conservative candidates for Governor.

In opposing the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, Charlie Baker and Tim Cahill demonstrate once again the anti-science stance of the Republican party on state and national levels. The scientific consensus on human causes of climate change is overwhelming (over ninety-seven percent of climatologists are firmly in agreement). Let’s put it this way: if the evidence for Iraqi WMD’s was as strong as the evidence for anthropogenic global warming, we could’ve bought loose nukes in the bazaars of Baghdad. Expanding and improving the RGGI will strengthen the Commonwealth’s leadership position on environmental issues. Baker and Cahill’s approach, by contrast, would make a mockery of Massachusetts. Home to M.I.T., Harvard and countless other major universities and research centers, our state cannot afford a governor whose readiness to learn anything about the science of climate change never moves beyond standard Republican talking points.

Warren Senders

Month 8, Day 17: Pronounced Wuh-stuh!

I didn’t feel very passionate today.

Our candidates for Governor had a debate. The Worcester Telegram had an article about it.

That the gubernatorial debate included questions on global warming is a positive reflection on the quality of electoral politics in Massachusetts. Too many politicians at both state and national levels are unable to take a clear position on a matter where public opinion polls reflect a distressing ignorance of unequivocal scientific evidence. Conversely, Cahill and Baker’s unwillingness to agree that humans are to blame for global climate change is a negative reflection on the Republican party, which has made climate denialism a central plank of its policy structure. But the facts are in: human activities are responsible for the changing climate, and our generation must begin paying the bill for the past century’s profligate waste of the planet’s fossil fuel resources. Massachusetts needs more mass transit; it needs more renewable energy; it needs more attention paid to conservation — and it needs politicians who are ready to recognize scientific reality.

Warren Senders

Month 7, Day 15: Keep The Oil Out Of Our Water, Keep Our Water Out Of The Oil

The people at Corporate Accountability International have a great action: the Think Outside The Bottle campaign. CAI is asking people to write their governors, requesting them to institute a change in state policy regarding the purchase of bottled water. Good idea. I took their form letter and made it my own.

Dear Governor Patrick —

I write to urge you to change Massachusetts state policy on the purchase of bottled water.

Since Massachusetts has an excellent public water system, it would be no hardship to implement a policy whereby state government offices and events are required to use tap water. Not only will this save money (San Francisco alone spent about $500,000 a year on bottled water until Mayor Gavin Newsom ordered the shift to tap water), but it will help restore confidence in our water supply (especially important after the May 1st water-main break in Weston).

There are many reasons for this, but the most important is simply that the manufacture of millions and millions of water bottles (each of which is used only once before being recycled) requires millions of gallons of oil. If we as a nation are to wean ourselves from our addiction to oil, we have to do more than just cut down on unnecessary trips to the 7-11 — we have to eliminate products that consume oil.

The steady drumbeat of bad news about climate change lends grave urgency to this requirement. We must move away from any reliance on fossil fuels, and getting the Commonwealth of Massachusetts permanently off bottled water will be a significant contribution. Please make a public commitment to ending state contracts with bottled water suppliers, promoting public water systems across the state, and advocating for a renewed national commitment to water infrastructure funding.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders