Year 3, Month 11, Day 19: Roll Your Own?

The Durango Herald (CO) runs an AP piece discussing the benefits of a tax on carbon:

Experts on all sides of the issue have watched climate proposals fail in the past. Congress is still split, and many in the Republican party deny the existence of human-made climate change, despite what scientists say. Congress also on Tuesday blocked the European Union from imposing a tax on American airliners flying to the continent as part of an effort to reduce greenhouse gases.

Energy industry lobbyist Scott Segal said many utilities will fight a carbon tax.

“The conditions are far from ripe for a carbon tax, if for no other reason than a carbon tax is a tax on economic growth,” he said.

But environmental advocates are seizing the moment, determined not to let the interest in climate change subside with the floodwaters.

On Wednesday, former Vice President Al Gore launched a 24-hour online talkfest about global warming and disasters. Another group,, headed by environmental advocate and author Bill McKibben, is amid a 21-city bus tour.

Gore compared the link between extreme weather and “dirty energy” from coal, oil and natural gas to the links between cigarette smoking and lung cancer or the use of steroids and home runs in baseball.

They have a 350-word limit, which is way on the high side. Interesting how that affects the processes of composition. Sent November 15:

America’s fossil-fuel consumption is one of the most significant drivers of global climate change, and it’s revealing to follow up on former Vice-President Gore’s analogy with tobacco. Our entire economy is built around the ready availability and artificial cheapness of oil and coal, and the result has been a national addiction to these substances and the convenience they facilitate. Like heavy smokers, we recognize our dependency while pretending to be immune from the cold equations; like heavy smokers, we promise to quit but never seem to get around to it.

Of course, once the biopsy comes back positive, it’s too late for quitting to do much good, which is the position our civilization is in right now with fossil fuels. The diagnosis is very clear: Earth’s health is in dire jeopardy, with a planetary greenhouse effect on the brink of a catastrophic “tipping point” beyond which recovery will be impossible.

And the voices most loudly raised in denial? Unsurprisingly, their paychecks come from the very fossil fuel industry reaping huge profits from our addiction. Equally unsurprisingly, many of the same “experts” currently asserting that climate change is unrelated to fossil fuel consumption were testifying a few decades ago that tobacco didn’t have anything to do with lung cancer. They were lying then, and they’re lying now.

It’s time for America, and the world, to kick the fossil fuel habit once and for all. Oil, gas and coal need to come with warning labels, and we must stop subsidizing an industry that is destroying our home.

Warren Senders

It’s time

Year 3, Month 9, Day 23: Show Us Your Lark Pack!

The Tri-City News (Vancouver, BC) has an excellent editorial highlighting the venal and mendacious nature of the denial industry:

There were times this summer when I thought I didn’t need science to tell me global warming is real: sweating in my seat at Theatre Under the Stars, watching the frightening heat waves in the east and avoiding golf because it was too hot.

But luckily, most of us base our conclusions about global warming not on anecdotes about extreme summer weather but on scientific research and consensus.

But not my colleague, who, thanks partly to Exxon Mobil, is one of a group of environmental deniers not swayed by the overwhelming scientific consensus about climate change.

Deniers don’t believe the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; the internationally mandated IPCC, which has, over the last 10 years, compiled four scientific reports based on the work of 2,500 scientists from 130 countries. Each IPCC report warns of the dangers of global warming caused by man-made greenhouse gases.

And deniers don’t believe the body of literature in scientific journals, which, over the past decade, contained 928 articles on global warming, none of which included a scientific denial that man is hastening global warming.

Climate change-denying groups are convinced that global warming is a scientific hoax, a scare tactic dreamed up by environmentalists to frighten us into supporting anti-business laws and regulations.

I agree that there is a conspiracy to misrepresent the facts about climate change but 2,500 environmental scientists from 130 countries aren’t in on it. Exxon Mobil is.

Since 1998, Exxon has doled out $22,123,456 to climate change-denying groups. The Heritage Foundation ($730,000), Frontiers of Freedom, ($1.2 million) and 40 other groups received money from Exxon to help deny climate change. Even B.C.’s Fraser Institute has bagged $120,000 from Exxon since 1998.

Tareyton is Better. Charcoal Is Why.

Sent September 16:

The climate-change denial industry has worked hard for the past couple of decades, spreading confusion and misinformation about the reality, causes, and consequences of a runaway greenhouse effect. These people — the same characters who reassured us for years that nicotine wasn’t addictive and the link between smoking and lung cancer was inconclusive — are skillful, well-funded, and unencumbered by any responsibility to the truth.

But tobacco addiction’s public health consequences were limited to the smokers and their neighbors, with no multi-generational impacts. Climate change is an entirely different story, with effects that will still be felt a hundred, a thousand, or ten thousand years from now. It is as if cigarette smoking brought cancer, heart disease, and emphysema not just to the smokers but to a hundred generations of their descendants. In an odious bargain, the denialists are sacrificing the future of human civilization for short-term personal gain.

Warren Senders