Year 4, Month 5, Day 4: Life Is Just A Bowl Of Cherries

The San Angelo Standard-Times runs a column by one Bonnie Erbe, purporting to offer good news:

SAN ANGELO, Texas — Finally, there’s some good news on reducing climate change, which is great news as far as I’m concerned.

I’m a climate skeptic. It’s not that I’m skeptical about the existence of climate change, but I’m extremely skeptical about mankind’s collective willingness to do anything about it in a timely manner.

Late last year, the Global Carbon Project issued a report showing global emissions of carbon dioxide rose to record levels in 2011 and were on track to rise even higher in 2012. Carbon dioxide is produced most often by the burning of coal, the largest global source of energy used to generate electricity.

Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes glaciers and ice sheets to melt and warming oceans to expand. But a new study by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, the Scripps Institution for Oceanography, and Climate Central shows that by limiting four other pollutants that might be easier to control, scientists can make significant progress toward stemming rising sea levels.

For a host of reasons, international policy makers have been unable to agree on how to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide or CO2, the main greenhouse gas created by human activity. The new study shows that by limiting emissions of four substances — methane, soot, refrigerants and gases that lead to the formation of ground-level ozone — progress could still be made, possibly even more quickly.

Ignoring the elephant in the room, as always. April 22:

As the planetary greenhouse effect accelerates, making catastrophic climate change all but inevitable, any good news is welcome. Certainly, regulating and reducing our emissions of four other pollutants can help slow our headlong rush to disaster, although this cannot be a substitute for the real work of eliminating fossil fuels from our energy economy — ultimately the only approach to a meaningful and lasting solution to the climate crisis.

But it’s disingenuous to assert that there is a “host of reasons” for the world community’s failure to make this happen. Ultimately, there is only one reason: money. Big oil and coal corporations reap huge profits from processing and selling the fossilized solar energy of the Carboniferous Era, but they can’t make similar margins from sunlight when it’s fresh. The sums involved are staggeringly huge; buying a few politicians or a few governments is cost-effective for these corporate malefactors, if it can delay a global shift to renewables for even a few more years.

Warren Senders

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