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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

There Are More Houstons To Come

Category: Environment
Posted: 08/28/17 13:05

by Dave Mindeman

Houston is the 4th largest city in the US. It is built on the coast. It is built over marshland.

In a country run by climate deniers, Houston is not just a disaster but it is also a symptom. A symptom we need to react to and plan for.

The global temperature is warming...faster than predicted. And ignoring the effects is not only a state of denial, it is a tragic mistake. Our coastline cities are vulnerable to events like Houston is experiencing. And we still have not properly protected New Orleans from another Katrina like event.

Are we going to band aid these disaster as they come up with massive investments in emergency services? or are we going to make the harder decision of investments in prevention.

We seem to be in love with ocean front housing. We move farther out and on shakier foundations. We build houses on stilts as if that is smart thinking. We reclaim land from the sea only to give it back quickly and at devastating costs.

The ocean is going to reclaim more land. And storms are going to get worse and with more devastating consequences. Our coastlines need better management and better planning. It is flat out wrong to subsidize this foolishness. And it is unfair to the rest of American taxpayers to pay for rebuilding on unsafe ground.

We have past the point of stopping global warming. Let's face facts. We can only hope to contain it some and that would require a political philosophy shift. One that again has been delayed by an election gone wrong.

Instead of making Al Gore the focus of ridicule, how about we listen to his message. He has been right about climate change. And all the denials and made up facts from the other side have been proved wrong or undergone yet another talking point revision.

Houston is a symptom of a broader coming catastrophe. The ongoing debate about those effects is a foolish waste of time. Time we may have less of than before. Time we may regret with our inaction.

The simple truth is that we must have a drastic political change. We need climate to come to the forefront of current debate. We need to get rid of fossil fuel industry doctored facts and advertising tripe.

There are more Houstons waiting in the wings. We need to address that emergency - but we need to look ahead and get realistic about coastal development and protection.
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We Are Heating The Planet - And Doing Little To Stop It

Category: Environment
Posted: 08/02/17 01:07

by Dave Mindeman

It is getting very discouraging. Climate scientists are almost beyond the point of warnings - now they are trying to let us know what we should expect and try to prepare for it. New studies are out.

From environmentalist, Bill McKibben, familiar with 2 new studies:

"These studies are part of the emerging scientific understanding that we're in even hotter water than we'd thought. We're a long ways down the path to disastrous global warming, and the policy response -- especially in the United States -- has been pathetically underwhelming."

Underwhelming is probably an understatement. The US, under Trump, is actively undermining the little progress we have made.

"The 2 degree mark -- that's 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit -- was set by the 2016 Paris Agreement....If we surpass that mark, it has been estimated by scientists that life on our planet will change as we know it. Rising seas, mass extinctions, super droughts, increased wildfires, intense hurricanes, decreased crops and fresh water and the melting of the Arctic are expected. The impact on human health would be profound. Rising temperatures and shifts in weather would lead to reduced air quality, food and water contamination, more infections carried by mosquitoes and ticks.

One of the studies concludes that even if we could cut off emissions in the next 15 years (assuming that we act with intensity world wide), we still will reach 3 degrees Celsius by 2100.

We keep thinking that we just have to do something...off somewhere in the future. But these studies indicate that the baseline we are establishing now is not something we can really reverse. We can only put the damage to the climate on hold...and only if we seriously act.

We are once again beyond climate "change" - we are heating up the planet.
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About Paris

Category: Environment
Posted: 06/03/17 11:53

by Dave Mindeman

When Donald Trump opted out of the Paris Agreement, most people believe that he followed the lead of Steve Bannon. The former Breitbart exec is not so much a climate denier (although he espouses that sentiment) as he is an anti-globalist. He thinks of any international cooperation as a threat to our own national sovereignty. If you think that is delusional, you are right; but a large majority of Trump's base think in those terms.

If the climate "facts" that Trump sited are any indication, Bannon filled Trump's head (and remember it does not hold much) with debunked studies and selective information on other studies. It was a typical piece of Breitbart information.

That is no way to make a major decision.

There is a positive in what Trump did here. It united the world and a large portion of this country into a more united front on climate. The attention has brought out more informative facts. The alarm bells were raised with more people listening. Trump took us out of an agreement which was largely voluntary, but it gave us guidelines to follow. Those guidelines can still be done with or without Trump's help.

The world will be looking less to the US for leadership because of this. And as long as Trump is President that may be a good thing. In a way, the rest of the globe will have to examine their own contribution to climate change in a more realistic way - and not wait for the US to weigh in.

Don't get me wrong - Trump pulling out of Paris is a big deal. And the policies that may result could be very harmful. But their is a strong resistance. Trump can only control so much - it is up to us to make things work.

It always has been.
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