Year 3, Month 4, Day 9: Little Deuce Coupe

General Motors is now a certified left-wing tree-hugger (The Boise Weekly):

The Heartland Institute, a conservative think tank that promotes denial of climate change, lost funding from General Motors last week. The Los Angeles Times reports that a leak of confidential funding documents showed that the General Motors Foundation provided funds to the institute during the last two years.

“GM operates its business as if climate change is real,” said GM spokesman Greg Martin.

The move received immediate praise from environmental groups.

“We applaud GM’s decision and the message it sends—that it is no longer acceptable for corporations to promote the denial of climate change,” said Daniel Souweine, campaign director for Forecast the Facts, a group that urges meteorologists to talk more openly about climate change. “Support for an organization like Heartland is not in line with GM’s values.”

It’s about eleven meta-levels away from actual good news, but I’ll take what I can get. Sent April 2:

In pulling its funding from the anti-science Heartland Institute, General Motors is demonstrating readiness to engage with the factual realities of climate change. While nobody enjoys contemplating a civilizational threat of such magnitude, the evidence of impending drastic alterations of the Earth’s climate is now so irrefutable that denialist posturing is morally, environmentally and fiscally irresponsible.

Since Americans’ love affair with their cars shows no sign of ending, it’s imperative that the automobile industry recognize the urgency of the crisis and begin developing newer, less wasteful technologies — a move that General Motors seems to be making.

Heartland Institute, by contrast, is doubling down, rejecting unambiguous science in favor of ideologically convenient misinterpretations that support the profitability of their funders. GM’s decision to sever ties with this secretive right-wing think tank reflects a deeper understanding of a simple fact: a global climate catastrophe would be terrible for business.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 12, Day 4: Just Wait For The Balance-Transfer Offers!

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution runs an AP article on Rajendra Pachauri’s words about how expensive climate change is certain to be:

DURBAN, South Africa — The U.N.’s top climate scientist cautioned climate negotiators Wednesday that global warming is leading to human dangers and soaring financial costs, but containing carbon emissions will have a host of benefits.

Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Nobel-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, summarized a litany of potential disasters at a U.N. climate conference in the South African city of Durban. Although he gave no explicit deadlines, the implication was that time is running out for greenhouse gas emissions to level off and begin to decline.

If we won’t change our ways to save the planet’s biosphere, maybe we’ll do it to save money. Sent November 30:

Time is running out for the spurious fiscal arguments that have been deployed over and over again to justify inaction on climate change. As extreme weather becomes the norm, there will be huge impacts in every area of the economy. Public health, infrastructure, agriculture, transportation — all will be profoundly affected in ways neither public or private sectors have anticipated.

Such climate-related expenses are direct consequences of our century-long binge of fossil-fuel consumption. But now, the hidden costs of our energy economy are becoming obvious; oil and coal are suddenly very expensive once these factors have been included.

Financial responsibility now requires two things. First, paying off our debt to the environment; we’ve exceeded our credit limit and are now incurring significant penalties. And second, we must build an energy economy that ensures that all citizens of Earth live within their ecological means. Sustainability and fiscal responsibility must be synonymous.

Warren Senders