Tag Archives: carbon emissions

Toilet-flushing gets POTUS’s attention?

I am trying to understand this one, but so far it escapes me.

Donald Trump, who says climate change is a “hoax” and who yanked the nation out of the Paris Climate Accord, now says people are flushing their toilets too many times. They’re wasting water. He wants the government to look into ways to make, um, more water-efficient toilets?

Well, I’ll be flushed.

The president told a gathering at the White House late this past week that people are flushing toilets “10 to 15 times.” Huh? Who does that?

To be sure, I don’t know the toilet-flushing habits of others, but I have trouble believing that flushing frequency presents the kind of existential threat to our water resources that Trump seems to portray it.

The consequence is the lack of water pressure, he said. “You can’t wash your hands practically, there’s so little water coming out of the faucet,” Trump said.

I guess I need to get out more, or perhaps understand better what at times flows through Donald Trump’s noggin. I just don’t get this one.

Of all the threats to our way of life — carbon emissions, deforestation, pollution, wasteful irrigation — Donald Trump has taken aim at the number of times many of us (he says) are flushing their toilets.

Go … figure.

Why are we ignoring deforestation in the climate change debate?

I am delighted to hear the Democratic Party presidential primary candidates debate among themselves about how they intend to attack the scourge of climate change/global warming.

They recognize the obvious, that it poses a grim and dire threat to our national security. They are challenging Donald Trump’s ridiculous assertion that climate change is a “hoax” cooked up by the Chinese, who are trying to “destroy our fossil fuel industry.”

There. That all said, I am wondering about what I believe is a missing element in the climate change debate.

While the candidates talk about carbon emissions and their impact on the atmospheric temperature and the changing climate, I hear next to no one mention deforestation as a key part of the crisis.

What’s going on in many regions of the world? Human beings are encroaching further and more deeply into habitat occupied exclusively by wildlife. To do that humans are wiping out millions of acres of forestland annually. Why is this important? How does it contribute to the changing climate worldwide?

Trees consume carbon dioxide and emit oxygen. CO2 warms the atmosphere, while oxygen cools it. With more CO2 being thrown into the air with less oxygen present to counteract its impact, well … what do you think happens? The atmosphere warms up. Those polar ice caps are exposed to warmer air. The ice melts. The oceans’ levels rise. You know how this goes.

And yet we hear precious little from these men and women running for president that speaks directly to ways to pressure other nations to curb their deforestation efforts. What’s more, the European Union is the leading importer of goods produced from the deforestation epidemic that continues full throttle throughout the world.

This plague is occurring throughout Latin America, in Africa, in Southeast and South Asia. Lush forests are disappearing daily.

Developing countries are looking for places to grow, to improve industrial capacity, to find places where their residents can live, rear their families and continue their search for success and happiness. I don’t begrudge them those desires.

However, the cost of all this hideous scarring of our planet is too great to ignore.

We’re going to elect a president in 2020. If we keep the current guy in power, climate change will continue to get short shrift from the White House. We need someone in power who at a bare minimum is going to refocus our effort to curbing this terrible trend.

We also need to apply a lot more of our focus on finding ways to stop obliterating Earth’s forest lands. Without those trees, we are doomed to suffocate in an ever-warming environment.

GOP has gone mad in the state of my birth

Oregon Republicans used to comprise a sane lot of politicians, folks who actually knew how to govern and they did it well.

The late Gov. Tom McCall, a Republican, is a legendary figure in Oregon. So is the late Sen. Mark Hatfield, another GOP stalwart. Oregon had a Republican secretary of state, Clay Myers, who was known to work well with Democrats.

These days the Republican Party in Oregon — the state where I was born and spent the first 34 years of my life — has gone bonkers.

They comprise 12 members of the Oregon Senate. The rest of the 30-member body comprises Democrats. The Oregon Senate needs 20 members present, a quorum, to do business.

The state’s Republican Senate caucus dislikes a cap-and-trade bill — an environmentally friendly bill that aims to cut carbon emissions — that they all have disappeared. They aren’t reporting for work. The Senate can’t do any business.

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, has dispatched the state police to look for the missing senators. She wants to round up enough of them to force the Senate to vote on the emissions bill.

Here is where it gets really weird, man. At least one GOP senator, Brian Boquist, is threatening to kill any trooper who seeks to take him into custody to bring him back to work.

As CNN reported on what Boquist told a Portland TV station: “Send bachelors and come heavily armed. I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon. It’s just that simple.” Yep. There’s an implied threat of violence there, right? Of course there is!

I began my journalism career in Oregon in 1976. I didn’t get to cover the Legislature in those days, although I certainly reported on the impact of legislation on the community I served as a reporter and later an editor. Nothing like this ever occurred.

Then again, that was a time when Republicans and Democrats actually worked together in state government and actually got things done for the benefit of those of us they served.

Wanting climate change to get a full hearing in 2020

Climate change is not the “hoax” that Donald Trump says it is.

Therefore, I want the issue to take center stage during the 2020 presidential election campaign. I keep seeing data that tell us about warming global temperatures, shrinking ice caps, rising sea levels, coastal communities facing an existential danger.

Yet the president does nothing about any of it. He says he wants to boost fossil fuel production, which means an increase in carbon emissions that scientists blame for the warming atmosphere.

Most of the Democrats running for president tell us they subscribe to the notion that climate change poses a legitimate national emergency and is a threat to our national security. I happen to believe them.

I also want there to be commitments — ironclad, cast in stone, signed in blood if need be — that the United States is going to resume its investment in alternative energy sources.

Indeed, one of the Democratic candidates — South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg — noted the other day that such investment could produce literally thousands if not millions of jobs for Americans. Thus, such an emphasis not only would save the planet from its self-destruction, but it also would Americans to work.

Hmm. How’s that for “putting America first”?

It works for me.

If you want to declare a national emergency, then let’s turn away from this nonsense about migrants seeking entry into this country. The national emergency exists in the changing climate that threatens the entire planet.

No regrets in supporting Hillary … none!

Americans are going to vote Tuesday for members of Congress and a whole host of statewide and local offices.

And, yes, Donald John Trump will be on the proverbial ballot, too. He has said so, telling voters at his campaign rallies to “vote for me.”

I don’t have the burden of voting for Trump again, or voting for whatever it is he stands for. I cast my 2016 ballot for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

I want to declare right here that I don’t regret that vote for an instant. Not one bit.

We lived in Randall County, Texas, when we voted in the 2016 presidential election. We were among the 15 percent of voters who cast their ballots for Hillary; Trump carried Randall County with 80.15 percent of the vote, which is no great shakes, given the county’s heavy GOP tilt.

Hillary Clinton would have been subjected to a level of questioning and interrogation that Trump is facing right now. Of that I have no doubt. The difference, I am certain, would be that she would keep her mouth shut. She wouldn’t be tweeting her fingers to the nub over every crazy turn the Republicans would take their investigation.

She would know and appreciate the meaning of “acting presidential.” She would conduct herself with dignity and with grace. She would have kept the United States involved in the Paris Climate Accord, which is intended to reduce carbon emissions worldwide; she would have kept the Iran nuclear deal in force; she would have refrained from offending our NATO allies; Hillary would have known better than to hurl baseless accusations against opponents.

I concede readily that she wasn’t the perfect candidate. Then again, I haven’t yet seen political perfection among any of the candidates who have received my voting support.

Her years as first lady, then as a U.S. senator and then as secretary of state prepared her amply for the job of president.

She just fluffed her chance in 2016. I do not want her to run again. She’s had her time in the arena. I trust she’ll stay on the sidelines and let someone else pick up the banner she carried to a near-victory two years ago.

I just felt compelled to stand foursquare behind a decision I made two years ago to vote for someone who I am convinced would be superior to the fellow who defeated her.

He’s got rocks in his noggin

Mo Brooks has emerged as one of Congress’s premier climate change deniers.

What did the Alabama Republican House member say to an environmentalist today during a congressional hearing on climate change?

Check it out, as reported by USA Today: “Every single year that we’re on Earth, you have huge tons of silt deposited by the Mississippi River, by the Amazon River, by the Nile, by every major river system — and for that matter, creek, all the way down to the smallest systems,” Brooks said. “And every time you have that soil or rock whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise. Because now you’ve got less space in those oceans because the bottom is moving up.”

There’s a bit more: Brooks pointed to the White Cliffs of Dover and to California “where you have the waves crashing against the shorelines” and “you have the cliffs crash into the sea.”

“All of that displaces the water which forces it to rise, does it not?” Brooks asked.

That’s it. Rocks are filling the ocean bottom, forcing the water to rise — worldwide! That’s the Mo Brooks doctrine.

Carbon pollution? Deforestation? Other causes that might come from human activity? That’s a non-starter among climate change deniers, such as Rep. Brooks.

Such so-called “thinking” tells me that those who deny the link between the changing climate and human behavior have rocks in their heads.

Trump wants more coal jobs … but at what cost?

The president of the United States must be unable to contain himself.

That’s what I believe is happening as Donald J. Trump seeks to undo some valuable environmental regulations designed to do those silly things … such as provide for cleaner air to breathe.

Trump continues to p*** me off. And a lot of other Americans, too.

As Reuters reported: “Flanked by coal miners, Trump enacted his ‘Energy Independence’ executive order at the Environmental Protection Agency. A coalition of 23 states and local governments vowed to fight the order in court.”

What does this mean? Here’s what I believe it does: It rolls back many of the regulations enacted during the Obama administration that are aimed to promote alternative energy production.

You know … things like wind, solar, hydropower. The clean stuff. The sources that regenerate immediately and are far more environmentally responsible than digging and drilling for fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

Trump will have none of that, by golly. He said he’s keeping a campaign promise to bring jobs back to the coal industry. He also pledged to make America totally “energy independent.”

Interesting. The United States already has become the world’s largest producer of fossil-fuel energy. Are we still importing some of the crude? Yes, but our imported-oil-to-domestic-production ratio has been declining steadily over the past decade or so.

I recall during the 2016 presidential campaign how Republicans and other foes of Hillary Rodham Clinton skewered her over remarks she made about supposedly “putting the coal industry out of business.” They never mentioned, of course, the rest of Clinton’s statements in that regard, which dealt with job-retraining for those former coal-mine workers.

Trump seized on Clinton’s statements and beat her senseless with the half-truths about what she had said.

Now he’s signed an executive order to bring all those coal jobs back. At what cost? Are we going to pollute our air with carbon emissions? Are we going to keep contributing — as scientists around the world have affirmed is occurring — to the gradual warming of Planet Earth?

Yes, human activity is contributing to that potential worldwide disaster.

One more point needs to be made.

We have done much to clean our air and water while at the same time producing more energy from more alternative sources than ever before.

The president is just flat wrong on this one.

Believe it: Texas can benefit from clean-air initiative

Let’s be sure to clear the air — pun intended — on President Obama’s latest call to cut carbon emissions.

One is that Texas politicians are sure to condemn the plan, given that this president is proposing it.

Second, the condemnation will come even as Texas stands to benefit greatly over the long term from what the president has put forth.

http://www.texastribune.org/2015/08/03/obama-unveils-climate-rules-texas-wide-implication/

Obama wants to cut carbon emissions by 32 percent by 2030.

As the Texas Tribune reports: “Now final, the unprecedented regulations could significantly affect Texas. As an industrial juggernaut, the Lone Star State generates more electricity and emits far more carbon than any other state. Texas also leads the nation in producing natural gas – a fuel that policymakers could lean on while trying to shift from dirtier coal-fired energy. The state also is already feeling the effects of climate change, including sea level rise, extreme heat and drought, and more frequent flooding, experts say.”

It’s the natural gas element that is going to go largely unnoticed by the chattering class in this state.

We pump a lot of natural gas out here in West Texas. Down yonder, in places such as the Golden Triangle and along the Coastal Bend, we also pump a lot of carbon into the air. The president wants to reduce those emissions — while opening the door for exploration and development of cleaner fuels.

Such as natural gas.

Obama said it plainly and correctly when announcing the new rules. We have “only one planet,” and said “there is no Plan B” for finding a new planet to settle.

So why not do what we can to take care of the planet we have?

Make no mistake, however. The critics out there aren’t going to let an ecological imperative get in the way of blasting a far-sighted initiative designed to help save Planet Earth.

Snowball stirs climate change debate

U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe’s snowball stunt has done something quite useful.

It has sparked another round of debate over whether Earth’s climate is changing.

The Oklahoma Republican sought to debunk the climate change theorists when he brought the snowball to the Senate floor this week. It’s really cold in Washington, D.C., the chairman said. So the snowball is a symbol of what he believes, which is that climate change is a load of crap.

http://time.com/3725994/inhofe-snowball-climate/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+time%2Fscienceandhealth+%28TIME%3A+Top+Science+Stories%29&utm_content=Google+UK

Actually, it’s not.

As the brief essay attached to this post notes, although the D.C. temperature was quite cold, that very day it was swelteringly hot in Opa Loca, Fla. — 87 degrees hot, as a matter of fact.

Does the temperature in Opa Loca on one day mean that Earth’s climate is changing? Not any more than the snowball in D.C. disproves it.

But the debate is a good one.

Science has produced mountains of evidence to suggest that the planet is getting warmer. Yet we keep hearing deniers suggest that the planet is getting colder. The polar ice caps are melting. No, wait! They’re getting larger.

The climate is changing because of human activity, scientists have concluded. Others say the climate change is part of an epochal cycle.

Here’s a notion worth considering. What if we actually did reduce carbon emissions significantly by requiring industrial plant managers to do a better job of controlling what they’re spewing into the atmosphere? How about if Third World governments cracked down on those who are obliterating forests and reducing the level of oxygen being pumped into the atmosphere to counteract the carbon dioxide that contributes to the carbon levels? What if we did all we could do to make the air cleaner with less carbon?

Wouldn’t that sustain the planet longer? Wouldn’t all that work slow the deterioration of our resources, if not reverse it?

Chairman Inhofe can deny the existence of climate change. But a cold day in D.C. doesn’t prove his point.

I am not going to buy into the notion that doing nothing about any of this is good for the only planet we have.