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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Krauthammer: Climate Denier Apologist

Category: Environment
Posted: 02/25/14 18:08

by Dave Mindeman

Charles Krauthammer is an intelligent conservative columnist. He writes fantastic columns and he articulates his positions well. But his latest column on the subject of climate change is a bit desperate in trying to explain climate denier mentality.

It's not a sin to question the 'facts' of climate change

He is right....it is NOT a sin - but to be blunt, it IS stupid.

Krauthammer tries to use the essence of scientific method (questioning and reaffirming facts) as an explanation of what the climate deniers are doing.

Well, sorry, scientific method is not being used.

You can't deny the facts of climate change by simply postulating opposition theories. You need data to do that. Climate deniers look for flaws, inconsistencies, and coincidence to question climate science. They offer no pure evidence that supports their criticism.

And it is not like actual climate scientists don't make adjustments to what they find. When the data requires a change in thinking they do it. But the overarching ideas of climate change are globally accepted.

Just because business and conservatives do not want to accept the changes needed to slow this process, doesn't mean you can simply pronounce it all wrong and make it go away.

We owe it to future generations to fix this - to save the plant for their use. We are only borrowing this planet from them and we are expected to be good stewards of that loan.

Climate deniers may not be sinning, but they are actually doing much worse.....obstructing needed change.
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Polymet: Can't We Focus on Prevention Rather Than The Aftemath?

Category: Environment
Posted: 02/09/14 22:49, Edited: 02/09/14 22:50

by Dave Mindeman

The controversy over the Polymet study seems to center on clean up costs that would be needed after it closes. Some have focused on the length of time and some have focused on whether or not Polymet can meet the obligations needed.

Copper-nickel mining poses environmental challenges because the nonferrous metals are chemically bound up in sulfide minerals that can produce acids and other pollutants when exposed to the elements. The latest environmental review lists several measures designed to make sure the project meets water quality standards, but it also says long-term treatment of water flowing from the project will be necessary.

We are talking about an area close to the Boundary Waters. A pristine natural resource. Yet, here we are talking about pollution from the mining. And we are not talking about preventing the pollution...not stopping the pollution. All we are going to talk about is how to contain it. To pay for what IS GOING TO HAPPEN.

If sulfide mining cannot be done in a pollution free way, then how can we consider the risks as "acceptable"?

In addition, the pollution involved is toxic and will do irreparable damage. Still we keep talking as though there are acceptable risks involved and that monetary remedies are all we need to be considering.

We do not get to go back in time and have a do over. We need to get this right..... and Polymet needs to find a way for more acceptable pollution prevention.

If costs are acceptable for monetary damages, then it would seem we can channel that money into a safer way to do the mining in the first place.

Paying for clean-up still means damage has occurred.

Why can't we concentrate on preventing it in the first place?
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Yes, Virginia, There Is Climate Change

Category: Environment
Posted: 01/08/14 00:27, Edited: 01/08/14 00:28

by Dave Mindeman

The deep freeze that we have been experiencing has been used by the climate skeptics as a kind of laugh line about global warming.

Warming - deep freeze? Ha, ha.

But Scientific American offers a more detailed context....

The polar vortex is a prevailing wind pattern that circles the Arctic, flowing from west to east all the way around the Earth. It normally keeps extremely cold air bottled up toward the North Pole. Occasionally, though, the vortex weakens, allowing the cold air to pour down across Canada into the U.S., or down into other regions such Eastern Europe.....More and more Arctic sea ice is melting during summer months. The more ice that melts, the more the Arctic Ocean warms. The ocean radiates much of that excess heat back to the atmosphere in winter, which disrupts the polar vortex. Data taken over the past decade indicate that when a lot of Arctic sea ice disappears in the summer, the vortex has a tendency to weaken over the subsequent winter, if related atmospheric conditions prevail over the northern Atlantic Ocean.

As I have mentioned before, the Arctic ice is disappearing rapidly and that could spell trouble in regards to keeping that cold air vortex contained to our north....

Although the extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic varies year to year, overall it has been disappearing to a notable degree since 2007 and it is forecast to continue to vanish even further. That could mean more trouble for the polar vortex, and more frigid outbreaks.

Global warming isn't about hot and cold in isolated instances. It really is better defined as climate change. The extremes we have seen in recent years keep the Weather Channel awash in superlatives....."coldest in decades", "record month for hot temps", "worst storm in a century"...and on and on.

Laughing at temperatures that can kill may be fodder for conservative talk, but it is also an opportunity to look at cause and effect. This particular cold wave may or may not be an actual event caused by climate change.....but the number of events that need explanation are growing.
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