HD-43: Catherine Thomasson

By Catherine Thomasson of Portland, Oregon. Catherine is a physician and organizer for health, the environment and global warming action. She is a past national president of Physicians for Social Responsibility.


I view global warming as both the gravest threat to human health and also the greatest opportunity to change our energy basis and improve our economy and our health. The state government is in the best position to utilize this opportunity to stimulate our economy with more innovative strategies and economic opportunities.

Many Democrats understand the threat of peak oil and the health threats of fossil fuel use and climate change. However, it is tempting in this current recession to focus only on the immediate problems of unemployment and social needs. The Democrats in the legislature must continue their work to solve current and future problems by creating a clean energy economy in Oregon.

Physician for Health Reform: I have had the good fortune to work half time as a physician allowing me to devote time on some of the most important policy issues we face today. I understand the grave need for health care reform. I applaud the recent Democratic HB 2009 victory and am eager to work towards even further reforms.

As my child recently graduated from Portland Public Schools and as a citizen in the north/northeast district hard hit by the economic recession, I am concerned that the tax bills recently passed will be overturned on the ballot. This is unacceptable and I will be working hard to engage my district in understanding the need for these tax measures to support the essential social services and our schools.

Please let me know your views on District 43.

  • joe23 (unverified)

    view global warming as both the gravest threat to human health Shouldn't you be sure that man is the cause first?

    That little detail has never been proven. And the foundations of the claim have been shown fraudulent. AL Gore's rapidly rising temperature chart was a fraud. Contrary to Al's claim, the Antarctic ice cores show CO2 responding to temperature, not leading it.

    So, where is the proof?

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)

    Joe, I'm not speaking for Catherine here, but her post wasn't talking about how global warming came to be (she never said it was manmade) just that we could and should be trying to do something positive to affect it.

    Catherine, not in your district, but it was nice to meet you last night and wished I'd had more time to visit with you.

  • (Show?)

    Ignore the trolls that show whenever the word "global warming" appears in a post.

  • Rick (unverified)

    I'm not sure that it is a troll issue, Kari. For many of us, calling it a threat is akin to saying we need a tinfoil helmet to protect us from the bran scans of Martians. Not a problem, so why spend so much time and effort to talk about how to solve it.

    On Blue Oregon, the comment is always something like "hey, why not discuss it" or, as Ms Harmon says "we could and should be trying to do something positive to affect it".

    What if "it" doesn't exist?

    Do something then, but don't use my tax dollars. Why ask for my money for your quest to tilt at windmills?

    If the Blues quit forcing their belief in global warming/climate change on the rest of us, then no one would have any problem with them discussing it. Or spending their own money on it. Just like churches don't ask for tax dollars to support their outreach efforts, AGW people shouldn't either.

    When you try to enact laws to cost me money or use my taxes for the same, I will always speak up. It's the way of democracy, isn't it?

  • Lord Beaverbrook (unverified)

    We are so spoilt for choice in HD 43! Every candidate that has "spoken" here has been stellar.

    Posted by: joe23 | Oct 9, 2009 1:47:12 PM

    view global warming as both the gravest threat to human health Shouldn't you be sure that man is the cause first?

    In a word, "no". I guess it takes a physician to realize that you don't ignore a serious threat, because you can't describe the mechanism to the satisfaction of all. Ever heard of a syndrome? A syndrome is a cluster of symptoms, without stating the causal relationship. Would you have all syndromes go untreated, until the research gets to a certain explanatory level?

    When you have a headache, do you take something because you know the rx will relive the condition, without knowing the cause of the headache? Are you extending your emotional wishes about data to the point that you're denying that the proposed remedy would have an effect? The logic that says you can't get an effect without understanding the cause is patently absurd. Show me a proof why water has to boil at 212F. Can't? Better stop accepting that fact. It's a purely empirical observation, based on induction, not deduction. It is less science than the proposition that CO2 and CH4 cause an increase in temperature. Stop cherry picking.

    I wish climate change deniers would at least be honest. Come out and say, "I'm too stupid to question Rush", or "I want to see nature destroyed", or "That will cost me more than I can afford", or "I don't like people I disagree with controlling my life". Quit dragging the scientific method down for whichever of those sentiments is your real motivation. It's like religion. It's about people WANTING to believe something. Come clean for once. Why do you want to believe that climate change science is bogus, so badly? What need does it serve in you?

  • Jerry Lee Mayeux (unverified)

    Consider the Connection to: Going in a NEGATIVE (-) or POSITIVE (+) Direction (-)R(+) Direction? The choice is ours. Our health, economy, & planet R N D balance!!! Great article, Catherine Thomasson Google search 4 me: CTC123GREEN

  • (Show?)

    How It All Ends "We only get to run this experiment once."

    The gamble is huge, and no matter what we do or don't do, all of us are all in.

  • judy (unverified)

    "I guess it takes a physician to realize that you don't ignore a serious threat. . . Ever heard of a syndrome?"

    Ever hear of FIRST DO NO HARM?

    Every proposed solution to this non-problem will harm millions of people.

  • judy (unverified)

    Catherine, please learn some facts before rushing off to action. People who believe in peak oil know neither economics, chemistry or history:

    economics (supply goes up with price) That is why we have recently had a series of dramatic announcements of new discoveries - the recent high oil prices have brought much new exploration which has found more supplies. (Just like we all learned in Econ 101 - You did pay attention, didn’t you?)

    chemistry (you can make the stuff) The Fischer–Tropsch (see fischer-tropsch.org) process and the Bergius process, both used from the 1930s on, make liquid fuels form coal. Methane instead of coal can also be used a starting point. Sasol has been producing commercial quantities of oil from both processes for years.

    Here is the progression from methane to liquid fuel as one adds CH2 groups to methane:
        CH4   -   Methane (gas)
        C2H6 -   Ethanne  (gas)
        C3H8 -   Propane  (gas)
        C4H10-  Butane   (gas)
        C5H12- Pentane   (liquid below 36C)
        C6H14- Hexane   (liquid below 69C)
        C7H16- Heptane  (liquid)
        C8H18- Octane    (liquid)

    History (Hitler ran a war on man-made oil).. The Role of Synthetic Fuel In World War II Germany Said this: “The percentage of synthetic fuels compared to the yield from all sources grew from 22 percent to more than 50 percent by 1943"

  • (Show?)

    Catherine, welcome to the race. The following five questions are on the issues I care the most about. I previously asked Steve, Karol and Lew these questions online. Steve and Karol answered them, Lew did not. Answer what you want. And, good luck.

    FYI: I do not live in your district. I am well represented by Jules Bailey. But I do care about the following issues.

    1. Would you support statewide measures to get more students fluent in Mandarin? Do you have thoughts on whether more of the students in your district should study Mandarin? Why is there not a Mandarin immersion program in your district?

    2. Would you support legislation, costing no additional state or local dollar, to send high school students to study abroad?

    3. What is your position on the Columbia River Crossing proposal?

    4. For transportation, we are too dependent on foreign oil. Would you support a substantial, revenue-neutral, phased-in gas tax? If not, what would you support? A carbon tax? A cap-and-trade system?

    5. Do you have thoughts on what should happen to the Boardman coal-fired power plant? Should it be closed down? Or upgraded to clean out carbon and other pollutant emissions?


  • Lord Beaverbrook (unverified)

    Every proposed solution to this non-problem will harm millions of people.

    No it won't. Impeding grubbing after every buck and forcing fat bastards to get off their asses isn't harm.

    So, you're beyond denying science, you're insentient! Deniers flatly reject accepted science. You're saying that there IS no problem. Even if it were a Silurian style extinction, where 90% go away from completely natural causes...humans still have a problem!!! So, you're saying the environment is healthy? And then have the gall to say who knows no history, chemistry or science?

    And I suppose it's just a big whopping conspiracy theory, that the parties that fund the pseudo-scientific interpretations- which you didn't "learn", you're parroting- are the exact same corporations and individuals that squirreled away the German research, after the war? Where is it? Israel says crap, and Germany says, "how brown?" Why haven't they thrown a major piece of their research shekels into synthetic fuel? Who's in a position to challenge them, save but for the precious value put on oil? Thousands of military and technical advances we got from the Nazis- shaped charges, paramilitary ops, psychological warfare, jet engines, rocket technology, etc.- but we just overlooked synthetic fuel technology. Right. Oh yeah. We didn't care about field propulsion either. Probably don't have any such project.

    I WOULD like to also know what happened to the 50,000,000 Reich marks spent on researching a vegetarian dog food. I'll concede that one might have been overlooked. Might have.

  • Rick (unverified)

    Lord B,

    Well, to say that those who question AGW are "science denying" is just wrong. Why? Because the science isn't conclusive. And just demanding it is, louder and more insistently, doesn't change that. There are thousands of scientists who claim it is a problem, and thousands who don't. "Science" isn't on either side.

    However, to take the science that says it IS a problem, and then force all of us to spend billions or trillions of dollars to "fix" it is not reasonable at this point. Of course, the common response is something akin to "we don't have time to talk about it!!!!", but we really don't have time not to.

    It does no one any good to claim loudly that those that disagree with you are insentient or stupid. They aren't. Look at the list of those who disagree and then tell me how they aren't as intelligent or learned as those who agree.

    You said "Quit dragging the scientific method down for whichever of those sentiments is your real motivation. It's like religion. It's about people WANTING to believe something. Come clean for once. Why do you want to believe that climate change science is bogus, so badly? What need does it serve in you?"

    Within this discussion, just as valid a question is "why do you want to believe that climate change is a problem so badly? What need does it serve in you?".

    And if we follow the money, as many claim, which side has financial motivation? Will the "deniers" make money if their beliefs are legislated? I don't know how. But the advocates of AGW will stand to make loads of money in consulting, enforcement, taxes, changes and more. Trillions. That is worth considering, unless money motivation is only possible for those on the other side.

    Try hard not to label the opposition and instead, talk about the facts and disagreements, the costs and benefits, the real issues.

  • Klamath Angler (unverified)

    Well, to say that those who question AGW are "science denying" is just wrong. Why? Because the science isn't conclusive.

    Some would say the same thing about the science on vaccinations, or evolution. That doesn't mean we ignore the 99% of physicians and medical researchers and blithely poo poo the dangers of global flu pandemics.

    The difference is the flu doesn't have enormous special interest groups who make money off of people catching it. But if they did, and they gave money to right wing causes and publications, I'd bet we'd have swine flu deniers making the same arguments against vaccinations that you are making against wind power, or fuel economy standards, or reducing coal use (which has the nice side benefits of reducing mountaintop removal mining, acid rain, and mercury emissions).

    I mean, common. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is now taking global warming seriously. How wacky do you have to be when you make Lindsey Graham look like the voice of reason?

  • Rick (unverified)

    Hello Klamath,

    The implication that 99% of scientists agree on AGW is hard to understand. What evidence do you have of that? Or is it just a straw man argument? It's fine if it is, but it seems like I'm supposed to believe that the scientists who disagree about AGW are a tiny fringe group.

    Interestingly, I had to read your post more than once to understand that we weren't on the same side. Your last sentence says it all, doesn't it? When the wacky agree with you, what does that mean?

    Here is a partial list of some of that wacky fringe. The point is that the whole question is still VERY undecided, and to be unwilling to consider that fact is the real denial.

    Claude Allègre is a member of the U.S. Academy of Sciences, and the French Academy of Science. He’s a French geophysicist.

    And Robert C. Balling, Jr. is director of the Office of Climatology, associate professor of geography, Arizona State University. “It is very likely that the recent upward trend in global surface temperature is very real, and that the upward signal is greater than any noise introduced from uncertainties in the record. However, the general error is most likely to be in the warming direction, with a maximum possible (though unlikely) value of 0.3 °C.

    Chris de Freitas, Associate Professor, School of Geography, Geology and Environmental Science, University of Auckland: "There is evidence of global warming. ... But warming does not confirm that carbon dioxide is causing it. Climate is always warming or cooling. There are natural variability theories of warming. To support the argument that carbon dioxide is causing it, the evidence would have to distinguish between human-caused and natural warming. This has not been done."

    David Deming, geology professor at the University of Oklahoma: "The amount of climatic warming that has taken place in the past 150 years is poorly constrained, and its cause--human or natural--is unknown. There is no sound scientific basis for predicting future climate change with any degree of certainty. If the climate does warm, it is likely to be beneficial to humanity rather than harmful. In my opinion, it would be foolish to establish national energy policy on the basis of misinformation and irrational hysteria." (Testimony before the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, December 6, 2006)

    Richard Lindzen, professor of meteorology and member of the National Academy of Sciences, professor at MIT, is considered one of the great experts in the world on weather, Richard Lindzen, MIT, National Academy of Sciences.

    Roy Spencer, principal research scientist, University of Alabama in Huntsville: "We need to find out how much of the warming we are seeing could be due to mankind, because I still maintain we have no idea how much you can attribute to mankind." (George C. Marshall Institute Washington Roundtable on Science and Public Policy, April 17, 2006 )

    Scientists who conclude that natural causes are more likely to blame than human activities for observed rising temperatures from next include:

    Khabibullo Ismailovich Abdusamatov, Russian Academy of Sciences, supervisor of the Astrometria project of the Russian section of the International Space Station: "Global warming results not from the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, but from an unusually high level of solar radiation and a lengthy - almost throughout the last century - growth in its intensity."

    Sallie Baliunas, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: "The recent warming trend in the surface temperature record cannot be caused by the increase of human-made greenhouse gases in the air."

    Robert M. Carter, researcher at the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University in Australia. “Climate changes naturally all the time.”

    George V. Chilingar, Professor of Civil and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Southern California.

    Ian Clark, professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Ottawa.

    Tim Patterson , paleoclimatologist and Professor of Geology at Carleton University in Canada.

    Frederick Seitz, former solid-state physicist, former president of the National Academy of Sciences: "So we see that the scientific facts indicate that all the temperature changes observed in the last 100 years were largely natural changes and were not caused by carbon dioxide produced in human activities."

    Nir Shaviv, astrophysicist at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “…natural causes probably being more important over the past century.”

    Fred Singer, Professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia: "The greenhouse effect is real. However, the effect is minute, insignificant, and very difficult to detect."

    Willie Soon, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics: "[T]here's increasingly strong evidence that previous research conclusions, including those of the United Nations and the United States government concerning 20th century warming, may have been biased by underestimation of natural climate variations.”

    Philip Stott, professor emeritus of biogeography at the University of London: "...the myth is starting to implode. ... Serious new research at The Max Planck Institute has indicated that the sun is a far more significant factor..."

guest column

connect with blueoregon