Year 4, Month 6, Day 14: Whistling Past The Graveyard

Even some Republicans are starting to pay attention. The Weirton Daily Times (WV) reports:

FAIRMONT – A Republican congressman sought common ground in the climate change debate Thursday but found the same clash of science and ideology that paralyzes Washington had followed him to West Virginia, a state long built on fossil fuel production.

For more than three hours, U.S. Rep. David McKinley, R-Wheeling, quizzed a panel of national experts – only about half of them scientists – about the causes of global warming and what to do about it. McKinley has long questioned the science behind global warming. He now acknowledges climate change is occurring but is not convinced human activity is to blame.


…professor John Christy, director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, called affordable energy “the basis of our standard of living today.”

While reducing CO2 emissions may or may not affect climate change, Christy said he’s certain it would raise energy costs.

“I’ve lived in Africa, and I can assure you that without energy, life is brutal and short,” Christy said. “…We are not bad people because we produce carbon dioxide.”

Well, I’m sure glad to hear that. May 31:

In arguing against the regulation of greenhouse emissions, Professor John Christy’s asserts that our current standard of living is built around affordable energy, and that emissions reductions would likely raise the costs of power around the world, an assumption which crumbles upon examination.

Oil and coal are “affordable” energy sources — first, because both receive massive federal subsidies, and second, because fossil energy’s “externalities,” such as safety enforcement, disaster cleanup, quality control, public health impacts, leak repair, and climatic effects (not to mention a host of rather expensive wars) are also absorbed by the government. That is, citizens twice pay the government to keep fuel prices low (and if that makes no sense to you, you’re not alone).

Christy goes on to say “…We are not bad people because we produce carbon dioxide.” That was true enough when we didn’t have the facts about the greenhouse effect and its likely consequences for our civilization. But those days are past. The facts are in, and now we know: continuing to accelerate our CO2 emissions is to ensure that as they struggle for existence on a planet heated into climate chaos, our descendants will think of us in less generous terms.

Warren Senders

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