Year 4, Month 9, Day 25: Then You Came And Caused A Spark

The Roanoke Times has a nice piece by Sarah Frost, debunking business-sector whining:

In her Aug. 11 commentary, “Climate-change zealotry will cost jobs,” Jane Van Ryan posits that by regulating carbon pollution, the Obama administration “could eliminate the ability of many American families to reach for the American dream.”

In fact, acting to slow and stop climate change will undoubtedly improve our health, safety, environment and economy. Failing to do so will leave future generations with diminished resources and opportunities.

The science on this issue is unambiguous: 97 percent of climate scientists agree that global warming is real and caused by human activity. We reached 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for the first time in human history this spring, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently confirmed that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the U.S.

The costs of inaction are already being felt around the commonwealth and beyond: nine out of 10 Virginians live in counties and independent cities affected by federally-declared weather-related disasters since 2007. Nationally, between 2011 and 2012, Superstorm Sandy and 24 other extreme weather events left $188 billion in damages and claimed more than 1,100 lives. Scientists agree that these types of events are likely to become more frequent and more severe in a warming world.

The United States’ largest source of carbon emissions is our power plants, though to date, there are no regulations on carbon emissions from power plants the way there are on arsenic, mercury, sulfur and soot. As part of his Climate Action Plan, President Obama has directed the Environmental Protection Agency, under the authority of the Clean Air Act, to issue limits on carbon pollution from new and existing power plants.

Americans submitted more than 3 million comments — including 130,000 from Virginia — in favor of this plan last year. And in a recent poll, nearly two-thirds of voters said they support “the President taking significant steps to address climate change now.”

The opponents of action ignore and deny the science that tells us it is time to act – and often times are quietly backed by corporate polluters.

When Van Ryan suggests that the president and his administration “place a higher value on big government and the environmental movement than on the financial well-being of the American people,” she is failing to recognize that the health benefits from the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 are estimated to exceed the costs of implementation by a factor of more than 30 to one.

Hit me baby, one more time. September 17:

It wasn’t that long ago that US auto manufacturers were up in arms about legislation requiring that all cars be equipped with seat belts. It would, apparently, cripple sales, alienate consumers, and deal a death blow to American manufacturing. And it wasn’t long after that that tobacco companies got into a swivet about mandatory warning labels, which apparently would wipe out all their profits forever. Last I looked, the roads were full of cars, and there’s no shortage of smokers either.

It’s the same now, as the notion of taxing carbon emissions begins to gain currency among citizens and politicians who can read the unambiguous warning signs of human-caused climate change. Once again, we get to hear wailing predictions of disaster if environmentally sensible approaches to climate change are enacted.

Those nay-sayers who claim that the economy will be damaged by environmental responsibility are perpetuating a mentality of victimization and entitlement in the business sector. America likes to call itself a “can-do” nation, but you would never know it from the whining of some of the world’s most profitable and productive industries.

Pathetic. Just pathetic.

Warren Senders


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