Year 3, Month 11, Day 18: Figures Don’t Lie, And Liars Can’t Figure

USA Today says that “Climate change worries have had a high profile in New York, post-Hurricane Sandy.” Gee, ya think?

Climate change is suddenly a hot topic again. The issue is resurfacing in talks about a once radical idea: a possible carbon tax.

On Tuesday, a conservative think tank held discussions about it while a more liberal think tank released a paper on it. And the Congressional Budget Office issued a 19-page report on the different ways to make a carbon tax less burdensome on lower income people.

A carbon tax works by making people pay more for using fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas that produce heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

A letter with actual numbers in it! Sent November 14:

Hurricane Sandy definitely brought climate change back into the national spotlight by making the consequences of a runaway greenhouse effect exponentially harder to ignore. But another recent storm should also help bring global warming back to the policy table. On November 6, Hurricane Arithmetic made landfall on the coast of Republican self-delusion, as nerds and statisticians predicted election results far more accurately than any conservative pundits had ever imagined. Not only was the President re-elected, but math was vindicated.

As Mr. Obama heads into his second term, he and his administration must call America’s attention to two numbers: 350 and 400. The first describes the level (in parts per million) of atmospheric CO2 consistent with the survival of our civilization. The second is the level of CO2 in our atmosphere today. While political posturing over the “fiscal cliff” may make for good headlines, the imminent “climate cliff” is far, far more permanent.

Warren Senders

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