Archive for Sunday, January 27, 2013

Letter: Call to action

January 27, 2013

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To the editor:

In Obama’s inaugural speech he gave what many have long been waiting for: a clear call to action on climate change. In what is arguably Obama’s most definitive statement on climate change, Obama pushed forward the climate change agenda and declared his commitment to tackling climate change “knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”

That, however, is not reason for complacency, but is rather a call for action, for Obama is faced with a stubborn Congress that can likely only be coaxed into action in the face of a groundswell of support. It is apt that Obama’s speech should coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day, for just as the civil rights movement had to work from the ground up to overcome the narrow interests of an obstinate elite, similarly the challenge of climate change calls for a groundswell of action and support to overcome the interests of a fossil fuel elite who are intent on locking us into a future detrimental to almost everything except for their short-term financial bottom line.

Together we can respond to Obama’s call, and, although as a climate activist and a scholar, I am aware that there is no silver bullet to solve climate change, one of the most elegant, simple, effective, just and economy-boosting solutions we can push for comes in the form of a carbon fee and dividend such as that proposed by groups like the Citizens Climate Lobby.

Comments

KayCee 2 years, 3 months ago

We have already done so much in fossel fuel techknowledge that this is just more a lot of political posturing to make some people feel they are "doing good". I ignore the 'call to action' of this president just as I have opposed his policies since he ran for senate. His ideas are a hindrence to this country, not a benefit.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 2 years, 3 months ago

What has happened over geological time isn't irrelevant, but it's of very little relevance to what's happening right here and right now. The data and science very strongly indicate that human use of fossil fuels is changing climate conditions considerably, in ways that make the status quo of human existence unsustainable. No amount of time spent in the geology department will change that.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 3 months ago

Yes, bitters, Why don't you take that walk over to the geology department, or better yet, pull up the American Geophysical Union statement on climate change and our role in the current changes: http://www.agu.org/sci_pol/positions/climate_change2008.shtml

Now that you really know what the most prestigious society posits on the subject (reflecting similar positions of the physicists at the American Physical Society, and the National Academy of Sciences, and the American Meteorological Society just for starters), this LTE does not seem so irresponsible, does it?

Your position that it is all part of the natural cycle of things with us having no significant part is the irresponsible position. Scientists cannot account for the data and trends of climate change without including the significant impacts humans are having on the planet, and since we have a good understanding of the physical impact of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it is your ignoring those facts that is the truly unscholarly thing to do.

geoismeo 2 years, 3 months ago

Don't argue with her, shes a "scholar".

George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

Beware of scientist (and Presidents) with calls to action. Climate change is real. How to address it requires more thought then so far expended by our elites.

A carbon tax as argued would be the most unjust initiative since we interned the Japanese at the beginning of WWII.

Our Westar (or KCP&L) would incur a big tax because they generate a lot of carbon. That tax would be passed on to us as the first big increase in our utility rates. None of the money raised would be used to actually address carbon generation. It might come back to some of us (heavily depleted) or it might go in part to research. It would certainly go to pay for the bureaucracy needed to administer the tax.

To actually address the carbon we are being penalized for generating we would have to have Westar transition to some other “green” form of power generation or get used to not having air conditioners. That would of course cause a second major rate increase (and many more) at a pace set by the elites using the carbon tax rate..

Now if we lived in Medford, OR, we would use hydroelectric power so our utility would not see a big carbon tax. We would not have to raise our rates to eliminate the carbon we are not generating. We might actually get back some of the tax levied on those dumb Kansans. Let’s throw a party!

Now exactly what did you do to deserve this punishment. The choice of coal to generate our power was made decades ago by those long dead. Demanding that we bear the full cost to meet a new unevenly applied federal mandate is just despicable.

Our carbon problem should be addressed as we addressed our transportation problem, - with a nationally funded trust fund. We would then share the costs of addressing this policy initiative (maybe 80/20) with all of our citizens (including those in Medford) contributing. Funds would be focused on the worst carbon generation entities. Such a process would be fair, measured and evenly applied.

The carbon tax as proposed is just another form of “triangulation” where a few people get punished and a lot get to feel good without contributing very much at all (if anything) toward the common goal. Great political theater for those unable to actually sell climate change to all of us!

Just like the proposal for control of gun violence. The elites feel good and little is accomplished while many innocents are punished. Do we see a pattern here?

Ken Lassman 2 years, 3 months ago

ho hum....I see you've double-posted here, too. I'll save time and just provide a link to my response to your concerns: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2013/jan/27/opinion-obama-wasting-time-climate-issues/#c2237437

JohnBrown 2 years, 3 months ago

With global warming being a highly technical topic that few of us lay people can adequately comprehend, we end up tending to believe those we know.

Enter the TYPE 1/TYPE 2 error situation. Generally, when faced with a problem, and in the face of no other knowledge other than we have to make a choice, we face making one of two kinds of errors: Type 1 or Type 2. A Type 1 error occurs when you decide to act only to find out later that there was no real problem; a Type 2 error occurs when you decide to not act only to find out there was a real problem.

Conservatives, and conservatives especially, should consider the consequences of making a Type 1 or Type 2 error with respect to global warming. Realize that making either decision requires making the decision before all the data can be correctly analyzed.

What are the consequences of making a Type 1 error with respect to global warming? Are you willing to have you, and your children, face those consequences?

Now consider what are the consequences of making a Type 2 error with respect to global warming? Are you willing to have you, and your children, face those consequences?

JohnBrown

George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

No - -doing nothing is a type 2 error. Adding a tax to fund a trust fund (or re-prioritizing the taxes we already collect) is a solution just as effective as creating some form of convoluted new tax schema. only simpler, cheaper and more effective

The type 2 error is assuming that only a carbon tax will work.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 3 months ago

Your statement was: "but we do not have to use a carbon tax" without giving an alternative, i.e. doing nothing--a type 2 error. Your next assertion that "only a carbon tax will work" is, however, NOT doing nothing, hence NOT a type 2 error.

Furthermore, contrary to your assumptions, I've never said that ONLY a carbon tax will work. In fact, a regulatory scheme that reduces emissions combined with eliminating fossil fuel subsidies will only turbocharge what the carbon fee and dividend begins--if there is the political will to do these things. This scenario is not a type 2 error either, by the way....

George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

Well, frustration after frustration. I have offered a solution since I started to dispute the carbon tax on here. As I wrote to Bozo I do not intend and frankly lack the time to repeat it with each post

No offering an alternative is not a type 2 error.

Armstrong 2 years, 3 months ago

I know it's popular to blame the US for literally every wrong in the world however we (America) are at the forefront of clean manufacturing and energy. I think before we tax and spend ourselves to death - again the better solution may be to make the other industrialized countries comply or at least make an effort to meet certain standards.

meggers 2 years, 3 months ago

The United States is the second largest producer of CO2 emissions, so I'd say we should probably get our own proverbial house in order before claiming any moral high ground.

Ken Lassman 2 years, 3 months ago

Agreed. Instead of complaining about other countries not playing the game, we should instead develop the technologies that we will gain the most from and then the world will beat a path to our door. It's called leadership.

George Lippencott 2 years, 3 months ago

Well I would gibe us some credit if only for the arguments we generate. Not everybody gets to play in other countries.

Armstrong 2 years, 3 months ago

You may want to check your facts. China, India,Mexico are well ahead of us

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