Tag Archives: Climate change

Does this pandemic have a positive impact on anything? Well, yes

One can run a terrible risk of shortchanging the tragedy that comes from crises while looking for any positive outcomes.

With that said, I want to offer this item, understanding that some might think I am seeking to minimize the sadness being played out all over the world.

The coronavirus pandemic could possibly result in the most dramatic reduction in carbon emissions since World War II.

Reuters News Service reports: “I wouldn’t be shocked to see a 5 percent or more drop in carbon dioxide emissions this year, something not seen since the end of World War II,”  (Rob) Jackson, a professor of Earth system science at Stanford University in California, told Reuters in an email.

The cause of such a decline isn’t hard to figure out. Motor vehicle traffic is way down. Everywhere on Earth. China, where the pandemic originated and where air pollution has become almost legendary, reports remarkably clean air over major urban centers. The same is being said in India and in major European cities.

I live in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and I am quite certain that carbon emissions here are registering historic lows as millions of us around here are obeying stay at home directives issued by Gov. Greg Abbott.

As Reuters points out: But the improvements are for all the wrong reasons, tied to a world-shaking global health emergency that has infected more than 950,000 people — while shuttering factories, grounding airlines and forcing hundreds of millions of people to stay at home to slow the contagion. 

Just a side note: The number of infected human beings has zoomed well past a million people since this article was published.

I am left now to wonder whether this result might persuade some notorious climate-change deniers to rethink their environmental idiocy. If we are seeing this singular positive result from this pandemic, it well might be a reduction in carbon emissions that — according to scientific research — contributes to the other existential threat to humanity: worldwide climate change.

Is there an option for states to take the lead on climate change?

If Congress and the president aren’t going to take a serious interest in climate change, isn’t there a place for states such as Texas to take the lead on what I and others believe is an existential threat to the nation?

I get that Texas’s Legislature isn’t exactly a haven for environmental activism, given its strong Republican majority in both legislative chambers. However, the state does possess the world’s 11th or 12th largest economy; its carbon footprint continues to be bigger than it should be.

Yes, some of the Democratic candidates for president keep talking about the need to tackle climate change head-on. They profess concern for the dire peril that Earth faces if we don’t do all that we can as human beings to curb the human impact on the changing climate.

The current president, of course, remains ignorant about that danger posed by deforestation, carbon emissions and the warming of our atmosphere. Given that he has no interest in science or any other fields of study dedicated to this condition, I cannot possibly expect Donald Trump to take the necessary lead as the nation’s president.

Texas, though, faces an existential threat all by itself. Our state’s coastline is receding every year a little at a time. The tides are rising as well, largely because of melting ocean ice at both of our poles.

Texas and other states — especially those states with political leadership that takes this threat seriously — can do what they can individually or perhaps in conjunction with each other to wrestle with this burgeoning environmental crisis.

It would take a miracle, I suppose, but I am going to hope that Texas legislators can appreciate the impact they could have on national policy if they were to take the lead on dealing head-on with this national emergency.

What? Trump now accepts climate change as a serious threat?

This story has gone largely unnoticed by damn near all of us.

Donald Trump, the fellow who has called climate change a “hoax” concocted by China, which wants to undermine the U.S. manufacturing sector and our fossil fuel industry, has changed his tune … allegedly.

This past Thursday, Trump announced an initiative to make it easier to build natural gas pipelines. A reporter asked him if he still thinks climate change is a hoax. His answer is potentially jaw-dropping.

The Week.com reported: Trump said, “No, no. Not at all. Nothing’s a hoax … It’s a very serious subject. The environment is important to me. I’m a big believer in that word, the environment … I want clean air. I want clean water. I also want jobs, though.”

Oh, I want to believe him on this. I would except for a couple of factors. One is that is speaks in those sophomoric platitudes. He’s a “believer in that word, the environment”? He says he wants clean air and water. B … F … D, Mr. President. How do you intend to achieve it?

His newfound acceptance of climate change’s existential threat to Earth sounds to me as sincere as the time he said that President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen. That sounded in the moment like a throwaway line. His acceptance of Obama’s U.S. citizenship was offered with far less vigor or outward sincerity than the “birther” lie he kept fomenting. Now the president says the “environment is important to me.”

The second reason that makes me skeptical is the president’s penchant for prevarication. He lies all the time. About all things. He and the truth have never met face to face.

I guess perhaps that explains why this story has been so grossly underreported. Whatever, my hope is that someone, somehow will be able to hold the president accountable for this alleged reversal.

Hoping for an issues debate in 2020 race for POTUS

You may choose to believe or disbelieve what I want to say next. That’s your call. I have no control over what you believe.

I want a serious issues discussion to unfold as we move into the guts of the 2020 campaign for the presidency of the United States. Sadly, and I say that with sincerity, I fear we’re going to devolve into a sort of 2016 Campaign 2.0.

Donald Trump will survive the Senate trial that will commence soon. He will run for re-election. Democrats will nominate someone from the field of contenders vying for the chance to run against Trump.

My serious fear is that Trump’s impeachment will dominate the campaign. What’s more, I also fear that the president will not want to veer away from it, given how I suspect he’ll spin the expected verdict from the Senate into an “exoneration.”

What should we discuss?

  • Climate change ranks near the top of my issues wish list. Trump has called it a hoax. Democrats say climate change poses the greatest existential threat to the nation’s security. Trump has rolled back environmental regulations. Democrats want to restore them.
  • Health care ranks up there, too. Trump wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act and replace it with an unknown plan. Democrats keep saying they want to tinker with the ACA, improve the parts of it that need work. Democrats want to protect the insurance coverage for millions of Americans. Trump isn’t making that commitment.
  • Federal spending? Yep, that’s a big one. Donald Trump has stood by while the budget deficit piles up to record levels. Democrats have become “deficit hawks,” trading places with Republicans who used to own that title.
  • Immigration reform is necessary. Trump keeps saying “Mexico will pay for The Wall.” Democrats don’t like building a wall along our southern border. They want to enact comprehensive immigration reform. Trump doesn’t have a plan.

All of this presumes naively, I’ll acknowledge, that Donald Trump is willing to discuss these issues in detail. He won’t go there. The president doesn’t read anything. He keeps telling us he is the smartest man in human history. He governs by “gut instinct.” Sigh.

I fear the president is going to concoct scandals where none exists with whomever he faces in the 2020 election.

There you have what I think will occur juxtaposed with what I hope happens. The idealistic side of me hopes for the best. The realist within me is preparing for the worst.

Melania takes cheap shot at Person of the Year

It’s understandable that someone would want to defend his or her spouse against criticism — even if the criticism is deserved.

However, for first lady Melania Trump to level a veiled shot against a teenager who was awarded Time magazine’s coveted “Person of the Year” seems to me to be in poor taste.

Donald Trump saw fit to fire off a Twitter message aimed at 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, a climate change activist. He told her to “chill,” that she needs to curb her anger. The president of the United States ought to commit to more constructive pursuits than to insult a girl who won an award that damn near everyone would love to win.

The pushback against Trump was understandable.

Then the first lady weighed in, saying that Greta is an “activist” who “makes speeches.” Therefore, she seems to imply, Greta is fair game.

Good grief, Melania. The point of her criticism of Greta was in response to critics of an impeachment witness who mentioned the Trumps’ 13-year-old son, Barron, during her testimony. Mrs. Trump said Barron “is not an activist who travels the globe” speaking out against climate change.

I suppose Greta Thunberg’s activism does expose her to criticism. But from the president of the United States? Really?

If only POTUS had kept his Twitter device under wraps.

Mr. POTUS, you are utterly disgusting

Mr. President, I just saw the above message on one of my social media networks.

I want to say that your ability to denigrate the office you occupy knows no bounds. You disgust me in the extreme.

Why in the name of human decency would you take time from your effort to “make America great again” to level this kind of cheap, gratuitous and disgraceful message at a 16-year-old girl who has been honored as Time magazine’s “Person of the Year”?

Greta Thunberg was honored for her efforts to call attention to the existential threat that climate change is posing to the entire planet. She should be saluted, not ridiculed.

And you, our head of state/government/commander in chief saw fit to denigrate this young woman’s high honor. Oh, but your base loves this kind of churlishness coming from the president of the United States.

Mr. President, you sicken me to my core.

U.S. is shamefully MIA at climate change conference

ORLANDO SIERRA/AFP/Getty Images

They’re convening an international conference on climate change.

As my dear late Mom would say, I’ll give you three guesses on which nation is missing from that conference … but the first two guesses don’t count.

That’s right. The United States of America ain’t there.

We should be. Why? Well, let’s see. We’re the most industrialized nation on Earth. We are the world leader in scientific research. Our factories pour out tons of carbon emissions into the air annually. We occupy the bulliest of pulpits of any nation the planet.

But we’re not there because the president of the United States, Donald John Trump, calls climate change a “hoax.” Trump yanked the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord, saying it would be too burdensome on U.S. businesses. The accord carries the names of virtually every country on the planet … except the U.S. of A.

This is how the president intends to “make America great again” or “keep America great.” He wants to isolate the nation from a world made “smaller” in a proverbial sense by modern technology.

The United States made great strides in weaning ourselves of dependence on foreign-produced fossil fuels largely through development of alternate energy resources and, yes, more production of oil and natural gas. Trump wants to develop more “clean coal” and wants to drill for even more petroleum-based products. How is that going to stem the warming of the planet and the changing of its climate? Short answer: It won’t.

We are shaming ourselves by failing to attend the conference that seeks to find remedies to what has become established as an existential threat to every nation on Earth.

As the world’s pre-eminent economic power, we need to be heard and we need to listen to what our Earthly neighbors are telling us.

Texas is becoming the ‘windy state’

We’re No. 1! It’s a common refrain heard on fields of athletic competition in Texas.

However, Texas has achieved a top-tier ranking in a most fascinating — and one might say unexpected — category. Texas has become the most wind-powered state in the Union. Texas is known more for its pump jacks that pull oil out of the ground. They’re still doing all over the state, but wind power is not to be denied.

I just posted a blog item lamenting the lack of discussion about climate in the upcoming presidential campaign. Here, though, is a reason to hope that Texas might become a leader in the discussion and promotion of wind energy.

The Electrical Reliability Council of Texas reports that wind has replaced coal as the leading provider of electricity in this state. Yes, natural gas remains a huge energy source. Texas, though, has seen a skyrocketing rise in wind energy over the past several years.

I am happy to report that my wife and I have sat at a ringside seat while Texas has become a major wind-power producer. We used to live just a bit east of the wind farm in Adrian pictured along with this blog post. We’ve since moved on to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, but the wind energy industry is continuing to grow significantly along the High Plains of Texas.

This is exciting news.

Wind power remains a costly endeavor. It is expensive to produce and store electricity generated by wind. Believe me, though, the Texas Panhandle has an infinite supply of wind, which to my mind is the cleanest possible energy source possible. Whereas petroleum, natural gas and coal are finite resources, the wind will always blow.

I usually am quite critical of former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, however, I want to give Gov. Perry — who is soon to depart as secretary of energy — a proverbial high five for presiding over much of Texas’s wind-power development during his lengthy stint as governor. And, no, it didn’t hurt a bit to say something good about the man the late columnist Molly Ivins dubbed “Governor Goodhair.” 

So, the wind will blow in Texas. The state’s growth will require more electrical use. The wind will continue to play a growing role in fulfilling those power needs … and our precious environment won’t suffer a bit.

Climate change needs candidates’ attention … all of it!

When in the name of environmental sanity are the candidates for president of the United States going to devote their attention to what I believe is the world’s greatest existential threat?

Climate change, man!

Accordingly, Donald Trump — one of those presidential candidates — has declared that he has made the greatest mistake of his presidency. He said via Twitter that he has begun the nation’s formal withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord. The United States was among more than 200 nations to sign the agreement to aggressively battle the effects of climate change and global warming.

So help me, this is the action of an incompetent fool. An imbecile. The president of the United States has turned this nation into effectively an “outlaw state” in the fight to stem the devastating impact of a changing global climate.

What in the world are any of the men and women who are seeking to defeat this goofball going to do about it?

I want to hear from all of them that they intend to sign an executive order the moment they sit down behind the big desk in the Oval Office that restores this nation’s commitment to fighting climate change.

I also want to hear specifics on how they intend to restore our nation’s commitment to alternative energy sources. I want them to tell us how they intend to replace fossil fuel-producing jobs with jobs related to the development of certifiably clean energy sources.

If we are able to get past this impeachment madness and if we ever could get Donald Trump focused on issues that actually matter and yanked away from the nonsense that pours routinely out of his mouth, then there might be a serious discussion and search for answers for what I believe is the issue that threatens every human being on Earth.

Let’s get busy!

Trump to California: Don’t count on me to help you out

Donald J. Trump appears to be laying down a clearly defined marker to residents of states that voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016 or are governed by politicians of the party other than Trump’s Republican Party.

It is this: Don’t count on the president of the United States to offer words of empathy or support in the event of monumental natural disasters, let alone statements of unqualified federal assistance to help you fight those disasters.

You see, Trump is in a war of Twitter words with California Gov. Gavin Newsom. The president is excoriating Newsom over the state’s forest management policy, which Trump says is the reason that wildfires have exploded across the state.

Trump and Newsom are political foes. They might even be called “enemies.” Newsom’s state happened, I should say, to vote for Clinton by a huge margin in her losing bid to Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

The rhetoric Trump is leveling at California’s elected leadership is not the kind of thing he says to those in, say, Texas or Louisiana or Mississippi, Alabama or Florida. Hurricanes have savaged those states since Trump took office. They all voted for Trump in 2016.

Trump, though, seems to get a bur under his saddle when tragedy strikes California.

I guess I should point out that Donald Trump has emerged as the Climate Change Denier in Chief, calling the issue a “hoax,” despite scientific evidence that suggests that climate change is responsible for the huge fires that are erupting with more frequency and ferocity than ever.

Yes, Trump did say in one of his weekend tweets that the firefighters are doing a “great” job. Then he tees it up against Newsom, saying he should insist on clearing forest floors more frequently and should make sure the state has plenty of water to pour on the fires.

I just find this back-and-forth between the president and the governor of one our states — whose residents are fleeing for their lives ahead of devastating fire — to be unbecoming in the extreme.

There once was a time when the federal government stepped up to lend a much-needed hand to American citizens in distress. Please tell me those days are not gone forever.