Time to Lead on Climate

Evan Manvel

Floods in Rio de Janeiro have killed more than 700 people. Australia’s floods are the size of France and Germany combined. Flooding in Sri Lanka has affected more than a million people. Many parts of the United States have seen record snowfalls this year. 2010 was the wettest year on record, and tied for the hottest year. Just this weekend, here in Oregon, Lolo Pass Road “looks like an earthquake has hit,” stranding families. In Newport, families face 100-foot deep holes from rain-caused landslides.

While no single weather event is conclusively tied to the changing climate, most climatologists agree the climate crisis is leading to more frequent and dramatic extreme weather events, with costly and deadly results.

It’s far past time for the Oregon Legislature to lead on the climate crisis. Legislators face a huge budget challenge, but that doesn’t preclude living up to our moral duty to address the health of our climate. What about the economy? The London School of Economics projects climate change, left unabated, will cost us 5 to 20% of our GDP. As KC Golden recently wrote in The Seattle Times, "We can build a stronger, more sustainable economy that produces far more and better jobs than the coal and oil industries offer."

In 2009, Mark Nelson and his posse lobbied against the legislature taking action, claiming Congress would act and Oregon shouldn’t lead. Not surprisingly, Congress failed to pass a bill. While the EPA may create regulations, they’ll be constrained by Congress’ hold of their purse strings, court fights, and more. Meanwhile, binding international climate agreements are fading, and overall efforts altogether insufficient. The Economist recently wrote Bolivia, which has been hard hit by climate change and protested the weak new agreement at the Cancun meeting, “may have been an irritant and an obstruction but the other negotiators knew it was right.”

Instead of waiting for every political subdivision to agree, we need to take our responsibility to future generations seriously, and demonstrate the power of bold leadership.

There’s no shortage of ideas. For example:

• There are tons of easy ways improve the efficiency of homes, vehicles, commercial buildings, and public buildings including schools. Nine countries produce more than twice as much GDP per unit of energy as the United States (by some rankings, we’re 64th in the world in GDP produced per BTU used). Oregon should strive to be America’s – and the world’s – most efficient economy.

• We can strengthen House Bill 2186, passed in 2009, thereby cutting pollution from fuel, products, and trucking.

• We can stop the selling of low-efficiency replacement car tires, a proposal killed by Les Schwab lobbyists (among others) in 2009.

• We can require pollution cuts from utilities and largest industries, bringing their emissions to levels science demands.

• We can invest in low-polluting transportation options, such as walking, biking, and telecommuting, as 37% of Oregon’s climate pollution is from transportation. The 1 to 2% of our state's transportation funding that we spend on healthy transportation choices is completely insufficient.

• We can provide consumers information about building energy efficiency when they are buying or renting spaces. Washington, California, Austin and Washington, DC have implemented small-scale programs. Oregon should lead with America's most comprehensive program.

Most of these actions would generate jobs, save consumers and businesses money, and cut pollution. These aren’t Republican or Democratic issues, they’re issues for everyone who calls this planet home. As we look at the images from Rio de Janiero, Queensland, and Lolo Pass, the message could not be clearer: it’s time to take care of our home.

Comments

  • (Show?)

    Oregon could join California's cap-and-trade market. California's done all the hard work setting it up. We can simply plug into it.

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    I think a statewide leadership need, be it from the legislature or elsewhere, is to bring together all of the facts and even opportunities of climate change and steps to curb it into one place and focus on building a statewide consensus of the threat and best responses. There may not be much cash in the cookie jar for implementation presently but the hardest part, consensus, is also the cheapest. The most exciting thought though is that tackling a threat like this on a state level in the new age of the Interwebs will most likely lead to great new tools and methods of democratic dialog.

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    Mark Nelson claimed Congress would act.

    His confidence is endearingly cute, if sadly misplaced.

    Kind of like my toddler's belief in Santa Claus.

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    Cap-and-trade has not been shown to be an effective approach towards significant reduction in GHG. See Europe's experience thusfar.

    What needs to be done is as-quick-as-possible phaseout of coal-fired electricity generation, along with ending the pursuance of non-standard sources of manufactured petroleum (tar sands, oil shale).

    In other words, our only real hope is to convince the governments and industries involved that most of the rest of the coal and tar sands and oil shale must be left in the ground. I'm not optimistic that this can be accomplished, but that is the only effective approach.

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    I'm working with Sen. Chip Shields on a bill, SB 525 to move us to an opt-in system for phonebooks. Sounds like a small change, but most actually go into landfills. Factor in what it takes to cut down the trees, make the paper, print the books, distribute the books, and then cart them to landfills... and you've got a lot of savings. just today saw this: http://bit.ly/lsttime a funny video which talks about "your last time" - ie, when was the last time you used a phone book...

    Anyway, SB 525, feel free to support it. and here's a humorous little video I made about it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOC6PX6uSTQ

    Bigger moves? Let's keep more of Oregon State Forest trees standing.

    Let's teach our young people more on sex ed, make contraception easily accessible, and talk about population growth as a factor in climate change

    local food: local orchards: local efforts to learn how to grow our own food

    encourage farmers to stop growing grass seed and christmas trees and grow things that are actually useful - food, trees.

    Thanks for getting the discussion going.

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    Leadership, not on your life. The U.S. has been led in tiny steps but we're certainly not leading. With our level of ignorance a good share of the American people look outside to see what the weather is like to decide if there is global warming. As I understand the politics and the science, it's pretty much already too late to do much to impact significantly what is coming. Probably the best that can happen is the marketing of affordable electric cars

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    You've got a bit of a problem, here, Evan, with this entire premise that Co2 is causing climate change from the standpoint that modeling that claimed this is a complete failure: waysandmeans.house.gov/media/pdf/111/ctest.pdf

    AND that global ocean heat content is falling, not rising as claimed by "climate modelers":

    Recent Energy Balance of Earth, Robert S. Knox, David H. Douglass, International Journal of Geosciences , DOI: 10.4236/ijg.2010.13013,

    http://www.scirp.org/Journal/PaperDownload.aspx?FileName=IJG20100300001_98861471.pdf&paperID=3446

    Ooops! Another crack in the floor to all of this nonsense as the foundation for it all is rapidly falling apart.

    Oh, I know. I can hear it now. They all work for "big oil". LOL

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    You're crazy, Wiese. Ocean heat content is falling? The reason the oceans are becoming more acidified is because they can retain more CO-2 as their temperatures rise.

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    Pull your head out, Stephen Michael Amy because you don't know what you're talking about. The solubility of CO2 in sea water is an inverse function of temperature, meaning as the temperature DECREASES, there is INCREASED absorption of CO2 from the atmosphere. It is a function of the vapor pressure of water. Here is some reading for a beginner about the subject from Wikipedia:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solubility_pump

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    Wiese, dude, you can't even read!

    This is from the link you provided:

    "The solubility of carbon dioxide is a strong inverse function of seawater temperature (i.e., solubility is greater in cooler water)."

    Therefore, as ocean temperatures have risen, we have greater insoluoble CO-2 in the ocean water; hence, more acidified oceans are the result of warmer ocean temperature.

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      Stephen Michael Amy: You can't even think or understand science. Here are the chemical reactions:

      http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/chemweek/pdf/CarbonDioxide.pdf

      The third reaction is what establishes an equilbrium between CO2 and H2CO3. It should be clear that with greater solubility ( which occurs at LOWER ocean temperatures ) that more CO2 is dissolved from the atmosphere into the ocean and the number of H2CO3 molecules would increase to maintain an increased CO2 uptake equilibrium. It is the carbonic acid molecule that lowers the ph of sea water, but still does not make it anywhere close to being "acidic", AND it is the dissolving of the CO2 molecule into sea water that GENERATES the carbonic acid molecule, not the lessened CO2 absorption. The increased partial pressure of CO2 in the ATMOSPHERE is what is causing increased absorption of CO2 into the water, not the warmer ocean temperatures (that are now cooling). If the oceans cool, CO2 uptake will INCREASE, not decrease, and so will the number of carbonic acid molecules in the ocaen FROM the dissolved CO2.

      You're screwed up and have the whole process backwards.Go study more.

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        Wiese- your explanation makes sense, I'll give you credit for that. But the oceans aren't cooling and they are becoming more acidic at the same time. These are the observable facts of the situation. Whatever explanation is arrived at must be in sync with the observable facts.

        "Thus carbon dioxide poses a double threat to our oceans, by increasing both their temperature and their acidity."

        http://climateprogress.org/2010/08/30/ocean-acidification-denial/

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          And here's a link from the NOAA that says the years 2010 and 2009 had record-setting or near record-setting high ocean temperatures:

          http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100121_globalstats.html

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            Here is the link to the "unadjusted" Hansen proof temperature data from NCDC for the lower 48 USA:

            http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/01/14/according-to-ncdcs-own-data-2010-was-not-the-warmest-year-in-the-usa-nor-even-a-tie/#more-31629

            It's an interesting read because 2010 wasn't the warmest year in the thermometer record at all. It ranked 94th warmest in 116 years of records compared to 1998 being the 116th warmest or number 1 ranking. The satellite record which only goes back to 1979 has a near tie with 1998, varying by only .01DegC cooler, and we know why that was. The ocean temperatures were up from 2010 being ab El Ninio year, and that made up the difference in the land records. But now the oceans have cooled rapidly again and as of December 2010, were back to only +.18 degC of the 1979 mean. See:

            http://www.drroyspencer.com/

            There has been no statistically significant warming of the earth in OVER 10 years now, and with land temperatures in decline, the ten year global trends will soon reverse sign as the thermal inertia of the oceans will have been used up by 2014 if the sun continues it's lapse towrds a Dalton or Maunder minimum, and all indications are that it is doing just that as projected by the physicists Landscheidt and Abdussamatov from Russia.

            At a time when it is clear that CO2 does not drive climate ( you can deduce this from rising CO2 and stagnating temperatures as well as failed modeling ) the United States should be developing real alternative sources of energy that will be able to meet demands. This goal is a far cry from the assinine and hopelesss cause of attempting the subsidy of green energy or taxing and regulating carbon. This is the path that a fool goes down who will be caught with his pants down in the midst of a colder world and the cost of energy based upon this idiocy will be unaffordable to many.

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          The data that you present is not impressive. How could you think it was? It shows a ph shift of .027 over 22 years, and the data stops before 1990. A better question is, what was the ocean ph during the last significant cold period on earth? I'll bet it was LOWER than todays values, as more ocean uptake of CO2 would be the new equilibrium.

          You are making a huge case out of human contribution of atmospheric CO2 when it is only 1% of the global total per year, and there is a 15% sink at present from the global total into the oceans. That would tell you that there is a huge emission source out there of 15% that is largely unnaccounted for, but that is in nature and would be the real factor in controling ocean uptake and changing the sign of atmospheric CO2 changes.

          These claims about ocean "acidification" are nonsense and more alarmist tripe to sell the soap of needing to "control" human emissions in the name of "saving the planet". I wish you knew how stupid this all sounds to scientific literacy. There is no way humans can control total atmospheric CO2 based upon observations and I'll guarantee you there is no Ph.D. chemist that would write a letter or publicly state the attempts to reduce atmospheric CO2 concentration would be measurable to ANY degree based upon the uncontrollability of the larger sources of emission not related to humans.

          These claims are fraudulent, unproven and on the very face of them, making it obvious that government or citizen action would accomplish NOTHING! CO2 in the atmosphere will continue to rise until global ocean temperataures begin to cool, which is beginning now. There is absolutely ZERO reason to be concerned about this and the notion that anyone should change their lifestyle because of it is the calculus of a fool.

          That sentiment by me excludes conservation to save when you can or choosing to ride a bike for the benefit of exercise or personal enjoyment.Those are diffrent issues entirely and should absolutely not be tied to doing them by assinine government mandates.

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    Whether or not you accept the scientific consensus, there is a long list of actions that will benefit Oregonians regardless of their effect on climate - better health, saved money, energy security, and a boost in jobs.

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      Then perhaps you could promote those actions to benefit Oregonians, and if there's a benefit to climate, that could be an extra?

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      Evan: The path government wants to go down, lying about CO2 causing climate change will not benefit anyone. It is simply going to jack up energy costs, cause brown outs and make the use of fossil fuels unnaffordable to many at a time in which they will need them most.

      There are no benefits to any of this nonsense except planting the idea of efficiency and conservation, which are good things but need no government mandates to do. If we inprove efficiency, the cost of energy consumption should go down, not up, like the green nonsense with taxation.

      Until green technology can develop on its own and without a government subsidy, it is a really stupid idea to make it a substitute to anything. This does nothing but drive costs up and leave the public short of supply. Surely, the calculus of fools.

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        This isn't "the government" making claims about climate.

        It's government citing the accepted consensus of the scientific community.

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          Evan: No, it's not even that. There is no consensus of scientific opinion on climate. That is a trumped up lie deliberately put out by media and special interests ( which includes politicians who want to tax energy from it ) to make it appear that "the science is settled". Here are over 700 scientists who disagree with the concept of AGW:

          epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=83947f5d-d84a-4a84-ad5d-6e2d71db52d9

          There is NO CONSENSUS! Lawrence Solomon, an independant journalist looked into to this and found out that the claimed "consensus" of opinion is but another fake front and lie promulgated and asserted by special interest groups that support the concept of AGW for financial gain. That would be Wall Street, academia, green energy and libeal politicians. Read about what Solomon discovered:

          http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/12/30/lawrence-solomon-75-climate-scientists-think-humans-contribute-to-global-warming

          Only 75 scientists truly support and agree completely about AGW out of the 2500 claimed number.

          But that doesn't mean much because that's not how science works. Any claims must be proven, and it only takes one person to do that. Einstein turned physics on its ear with his theories of relativity. That concept bucked "consensus" until the theory was validated.

          The claims of CO2 causing climate change have never been validated or were any part of a continuance of radiation physics of the earth. They wre ideas supplanted with computer models that were actually at odds with the founding work in radiation after Einstein quantasized it, that the actual measurements to date are showing are wrong and the founding work remains correct.

          You should know these things if you are writing about climate or claiming that there is a "consensus" about the subject when in fact, there is no such thing.

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    I love it when the flat-earth crowd shows up.

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      So do I. You just did. I always see there are people on this site who would never consider facts in determining anything.

      Oh,and of course, in your world,if the message doesn't support your religous belief about "human caused, CO2 induced" warming that anyone who does not who dare says anything otherwise is a heretic.

      Oh, and don't let me forget,I must work for "big oil" and so must my data sources. Did I forget anything else of the usual excuses and tripe?

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        And Kari: It might actually be useful if you just showed your readers where the data I presented or things I say are wrong.

        You never do this. Everything you say is merely a denial without offering any proof, and usually followed by some sort of a shallow insult, like calling someone a flat earther.

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          For those interested in the scientific consensus, here's a start:

          http://www.ucsusa.org/ssi/climate-change/scientific-consensus-on.html

          I have no more time to waste on this.

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            The reference offers no names other than the chief contributers to the last IPCC report. This was debunked in the data that Solomon already reported, where the "consensus" survey was shortened and the maenings changed when the survey team found out they weren't getting the answers they needed from the respondants.

            There is no consensus on climate from scientists as a whole that agrees with you,Evan.

  • (Show?)

    Wiese, dude, the pre-industrial level of atmospheric CO-2 was 280 PPM. It's now at above 390 PPM. That's a 40% increase in about 200 years, and the increase is due to human activity.

    But, don't worry, Wiese, I'm doing the utmost as regards my lifestyle in attempt to save you and your family from a terrible future.

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      Some of it and a lot of it isn't. But it doesn't matter because CO2 did not cause the terminated warming trend ten years ago. It was solar magnetic that was responsible for most if not all of it.

      I won't be able to help you because I have no clue as to how to overpower nature and make the sun repeat the 700 year maximum we just ended in 2000, and keep us out if an approaching Dalton minimum that will last 40 years and cause considerable global cooling, that hasn't repeated for the last 213 years. Based upon the history of these events, you're going to have a hard time riding that bike through much deeper yearly snow totals in winter, and you're going to spend a lot of whatever you earn on energy consumption to keep warm if this foolishness drives the public into using green energy at its present state of under development.

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    Wiese, dude, what goes on with the sun is a mere fraction of what goes on with atmospheric CO-2 as regards effect on climate. I get that info. from Dr. James Hansen's book.

    In other words, I believe you have no idea what you're talking about, Wiese!

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      If James Hansen claims that in his book he is a bald faced liar and fraud and is as irresponsible with this frivolity as he is with manipulating climate records.

      And I personally wouldn't give a penny for any of his frivolous advice. It is sheer lunacy to claim that far end infrared has more radiating power than the wavelengths of energy generated by the sun, or that CO2 has a greater effect on the earth's temperature.

      Really, Stephen Michael Amy, dude, get yourself into some science classes, particularly a physics one that covers light and optics, because you either don't understand basic concepts at all, or if Hansen really did state this gibberish in his book, he is a fraud for making such an outrageous claim.

      If Co2 had such an effect on climate, you would be able to measure it. It is really funny how all of his claims and those of this nonsensical religion can never demonstrtate with observation or measurement that CO2 is having ANY effect on climate AS MODELED.

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    I should clarify that to say that variations in solar radiation in recorded history have a fraction of the effect as does the variation of atmospheric CO-2. Of course, billions of years from now, the sun's radiation will be dramatically changed, by then.

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      Total tripe and nonsense. Just like the "frozen iceball" analogy that somehow the earth at a time was a frozen iceball in its past and some scant CO2 molecules provided the "greenhouse effect" and got the earth to warm up and melt all the ice. So I guess the vapor pressure of ice is zero until it becomes a liquid?

      This stuff is embarrassingly stupid and I feel ashamed that so many in a country that is supposed to be "technologically superior" to the rest of the world would fall for it. But not completely surprising. Scientific illiteracy is on the rise in this country and we are behind many others now in science and math compared to the past. That is fact.

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    Well, Wiese, dude, we're going to have to agree to disagree. Goodbye, dude.

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