Year 3, Month 1, Day 18: Life Is Hard, But….

The State Journal (“West Virginia’s Only Business Newspaper”) notes some relatively simple things we can do to help out:

While working through the expensive problem of reducing carbon dioxide emissions to slow climate change, why not go ahead and tackle emissions of methane and soot — two easier problems that will pay for themselves and then some?

The suggestion, from an international team of 13 researchers lead by a NASA scientist, comes this week in “Simultaneously Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change and Improving Human Health and Food Security” in the journal Science.

The researchers identified 14 measures they say could reduce warming by 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050. It’s a significant part of the 3.6 degrees’ warming that climate negotiators meeting in Copenhagen in 2009 targeted as a goal to stay below.

Measures to reduce carbon dioxide emissions seem mainly to be expensive and controversial up front and to yield climate benefits only in the very long run.

But the measures proposed by these researchers for reducing methane and soot cost little and yield a range of substantial benefits in a shorter time frame.

The problem? Aw, hell. You and I both know what the problem is. People with no brains can’t recognize “no-brainers,” can they? Sent January 13:

The menu of things that can be done easily to address the burgeoning climate crisis is actually pretty substantial. Reducing atmospheric methane and soot should be a no-brainer, since such an approach not only makes sense as a strategy for reducing global warming, but offers both economic and public health benefits to the country as a whole.

Unfortunately, as long as one half of our government is controlled by people who reject science when it conflicts with either their electoral prospects or their profit margins, even such a straightforward proposal will be hindered and hamstrung by unnecessary political posturing. What was once a rational voice for business interests in American government has now become an ideologically fixated bloc incapable of adopting even the most obviously sensible policy initiatives. When GOP climate-change denialists pander to extremist elements within their own constituencies, they wind up damaging the communities they purport to serve.

Warren Senders

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