The Water Closet for October 16, 2015
[pullquote]”But whatever short term injury it might endure, the alternatives are far worse: devastating droughts, some causing massive refugee populations, which in turn could cause wars, catastrophic storms, wreaking billions of dollars in damages; floods, wildfires, mudslides, diseases, spread by new insect infestations, agricultural disaster and food and water shortages from all of the above; rising sea levels destroying infrastructure and housing.”[/pullquote]A strange candidate is running for president. A frequent sentence in his rambling speeches is, “They love me”. His most used words other than “I” may be “winners” and “losers.” He of course is a self-proclaimed “winner.” His sixteen or so opponents and most of the rest of us are “losers.” Mr. Trump hasn’t clearly stated his position on climate change. However, he hasn’t yet disagreed with his Republican opponents who seem to think concerns about climate change are much ado about nothing and clearly in the way of business. Many Democrats by their actions, if not their words, agree.
Here in the Water Closet we’ve long been worried about climate change and humans’ increasing role in its acceleration. The Working Waterfront, a monthly newspaper published by the Island Institute of Rockland, Maine, came out strongly and cynically on this subject in its September 2015 editorial. The Water Closet has received permission to reprint it here. In the following editorial the words “winners” and “losers” are also used. We of the Water Closet fear the big losers are animals, plants, algae, fungi, microorganisms and their habitats.
Don’t trust potential losers in climate change war (Sept. 2015 WW editorial)
Those whose profits are threatened are not honest brokers.CLIMATE CHANGE AND the infamous “Deflate-gate,” the scandal involving NFL quarterback Tom Brady, may seem to have little in common. But bear with us, here, as we make the case.It is not something so cutesy as air pressure that the two issues share. No it’s about winning and losing.
For those who don’t follow sports, Brady of the New England Patriots was accused of directing team staff to under inflate the footballs he would use in a play-off game. The weather was going to be cold and wet, and under-inflated balls would be easier for Brady and his receivers to grasp. Tampering with the balls came, the NFL concluded, so Brady and his team could get an edge.
It may seem a silly, inconsequential matter, but millions of dollars are at stake when football teams seek to advance.
With climate change, so much more is at stake – more money and more consequences to civilization. So it should come as no surprise that the players in this realm also might also seek to gain an edge, and even go so far as to cheat.
You’ll see the phrase “climate change debate” used in media coverage, but really there is no debate. Climate change is happening, and the evidence is conclusive that man-made pollution is the cause. Ninety-five percent of climatologists agree that carbon dioxide being pumped into the atmosphere is wreaking havoc with weather systems and driving up temperatures. (If your child was sick, and 95 percent out of a hundred doctors recommended the same cure, would you seek more opinions?)
Here in Maine, the winter of 2014-2015 was brutally cold, maybe colder than many had experienced in decades. Yet globally, 2014 was the warmest year on record.
So why do we keep talking about “climate debate”? Because polluters will lose if the U.S. and other nations adopt stricter limits on carbon emissions. “Team carbon” – fossil fuels extractors, petroleum refiners, oil and gas retailers, coal and oil-fired electrical producers want to gain an edge in their contest with those who want to cut down on air (and water) pollution.
And if the causes of climate change are still understood as unexplained, the “debate” will continue and action will be postponed.
Investigative reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein were urged to “follow the money” as they dug into the corruption in the Nixon administration. The same principle applies now. The American public should ask itself two simple questions about climate change and the proposed fixes: who loses, and what are they doing to change the contest’s outcome?
The Koch brothers, whose Koch Industries refine and transport gasoline, among other businesses, would be big losers if the U.S. cracked down on emissions. How much would it lose? Here’s a hint: the brothers have pledged to give nearly $1 billion to sympathetic Republican candidates in the 2016 elections.
President Obama recently proposed cutting carbon emissions from electric power plants by 32 percent by 2030, the equivalent of taking 166 million cars off the road. While he was in the White House, George W. Bush directed the Justice Department to drop action against the 70 worst coal fired-plants, not coincidentally; Bush and his party received more than a $100 million in campaign donations from the coal industry in the early 2000s. It is easy to follow that money.
There’s one more potential loser to talk about. As the world’s largest economy, the U.S. would be hurt if it agreed to serious carbon emission reductions. But whatever short term injury it might endure, the alternatives are far worse: devastating droughts, some causing massive refugee populations, which in turn could cause wars, catastrophic storms, wreaking billions of dollars in damages; floods, wildfires, mudslides, diseases, spread by new insect infestations, agricultural disaster and food and water shortages from all of the above; rising sea levels destroying infrastructure and housing.
It’s no wonder the Pentagon last year named climate change a top national security interest. So as we gear up for the 2016 election, climate change becomes a key issue, keep your eye on the ball. And remember that some of the players are looking for a way – any way – to win. They will employ another sports metaphor – stall and run out the clock before action can be taken. (from The Working Waterfront, September 2015.)
Middleton Stream Team note: We Stream Teamers will be accused of getting into politics on this climate change issue. But as President Obama said last week concerning gun control, “This is political.”! Those “deniers” who state humans do not cause climate change are not in agreement with The Working Waterfront and most scientists. In Water Closet essays over the last ten years we’ve just assumed from all we’ve read and heard that humans do affect the environment. So the deniers are on one side and environmentalists on the other. Aren’t such differences normal in a democracy? From many environmentalists’ points of view the Republicans seem the villains. However, many Democratic congressmen have also received money from fossil fuel lobbyists; many drive gas guzzlers and fly back and forth every weekend to their states far away. Regardless of our politics we are all in this together.
WATER RESOURCE AND CONSERVATION INFORMATION
FOR MIDDLETON, BOXFORD AND TOPSFIELD`
|Precipitation Data* for Month of:||July||Aug||Sept||Oct|
|30 Year Normal (1981 – 2010) Inches||3.89||3.37||3.77||4.40|
|2015 Central Watershed Actual||2.12||2.67||3.97||0.5 as of 10/13**|
Ipswich R. Flow Rate (S. Middleton USGS Gage) in Cubic Feet/ Second (CFS):
For Oct 13, 2015 Normal . . . 9.0 CFS Current Rate . . . 32 CFS
*Danvers Water Filtration Plant, Lake Street, Middleton is the source for actual precipitation data thru Sept..
**Middleton Stream Team is source of actual precipitation data for Oct.
Normals data is from the National Climatic Data Center.
THE WATER CLOSET is provided by the Middleton Stream Team: www.middletonstreamteam.org or <MSTMiddletonMA@gmail.com> or (978) 777-4584