Tag Archives: climate change

Global Warming: Reality vs Republican Theology – An Analysis (27 January 2015)

by Lawrence Davidson, To the Point Analyses

Part I – Reality

On 17 January 2015 the New York Times reported on a scientific study that showed 2014 to be “the hottest on earth since record-keeping began in 1880.” The report went on to explain that “records were set across large areas of every inhabited continent.” Particularly hard hit in 2014 was the western portion of the United States: Alaska, Arizona, California and Nevada all experienced “extreme warmth.” Temperatures in parts of California “sometimes [ran] 10 to 15 degrees above normal for the season.”

The vast majority of climatologists believe that this warming will go on for a very long time and that it presents “profound long-term risks to civilization and nature.” Also, most scientists agree, global warming is caused by human activity such as the burning of fossil fuels. According to Michael E. Mann, a climatologist at Penn State University, “it is exceptionally unlikely that we would be witnessing a record year of warmth, during a record-warm decade, during a several decades-long period of warmth that appears to be unrivaled for more than a thousand years, were it not for the rising levels of planet-warming gases produced by the burning of fossil fuels.” This consensus has led the scientific community to the conclusion that “climate change is perhaps the major challenge of our generation.”

Part II – Republican Theology

Well, that is the judgement of scientists who investigate matters of fact in the most objective way they know. Unfortunately, only a small number of them become convincing public spokespeople for their positions, and fewer still leave their day jobs to become politicians. Meanwhile, when it comes to global warming, the investigative talents of the latest crop of Republican congressional leaders is anything but objective. Of course, that does not stop many of them from loudly voicing their opinions – opinions now coupled to the wielding of power. Consider the following short list….

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People’s Climate March 9/21/14

Download text with 6 photos here: Peoples Climate March Couldn't afford politician

More than 300,000 (organizers say 400,000) people of all ages and races, faiths and ideologies, converged on New York City for the People’s Climate March on September 21. Under overcast skies, in warm humid weather, they filled the route from 86th Street to 34th Street, south along the west side of the park, poured down the canyon of 6th Avenue, then back west past the bright lights on the edge of Times Square and finally south on 11th Avenue.

Our bus arrived at 86th Street, several blocks west of Central Park, before 9:30 a.m. My “buddy group” of four headed off to a section of the march advertised as being for “scientists”, allocated one block in which to assemble towards the back of the march. Then it was three long hours of hurry up and wait; the back sections of the march did not start moving until two hours after the official start of the march. Like many others, we gave up and started wending our way southwards, eventually re-joining the march where it seemed to be moving at last.

Hundreds of organizations were represented, from the national and international (Greenpeace, Code Pink) to the local (Haydensville Congregational Church, New York City cohousing), from small groups of friends or families to school groups in matching T-shirts to two full blocks of bicyclists whose bicycle-powered floats included a 25-foot dinosaur skeleton. They enunciated themes ranging from “no more war” to campaign finance reform (!), through signs mounted on posts and backpacks and floats.

And the noise level waxed and waned, from drums and chants to spontaneous swells of cheering to an impressive two minutes of absolute silence shortly before 1 p.m., when everyone stopped, dropped their banners and raised their hands. This was followed by as much noise as the marchers could make to “raise the alarm”. Was anybody listening?

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People’s Climate March: There’s no going back now

Sierra Club, Sept. 22, 2014

We just made history!

Yesterday, hundreds of thousands of people came together at the People’s Climate March in New York City. It was beyond massive and it was almost beyond belief. Standing in the middle of the march route along Central Park, I could see people in every direction, with signs, banners, flags, musical instruments, children in strollers — and incredible optimism and energy. There were so many people that the march lineup was over four miles long.

Take action now
to send that energy to the White House — tell President Obama and the EPA that you want climate action and climate justice!

It took four hours for the march to make its way through New York, past Times Square, the Radio City Music Hall, and even the headquarters of Fox News.

And even before it ended, I knew that no one could deny that the conversation had changed. Never before had so many people joined together to demand a just transition to a world free of the dirty, dangerous fossil fuels that have been wrecking our planet for too long — a demand for a clean and safe world powered by clean and safe energy.

That’s why the EPA’s new Clean Power Plan is such a big deal. It’s a new climate safeguard that will make coal and gas power plants reduce their climate pollution. By cracking down on dangerous carbon emissions, it’s signaling that the era of unlimited climate pollution is coming to an end. It’s something that our country can do right now to begin realizing the vision of the People’s Climate March.

Make sure President Obama and the EPA can’t ignore this call for clean energy and climate justice. Speak out for a strong and just Clean Power Plan.

The People’s Climate March showcased the energy and determination of the climate movement. It was a turning point in our national conversation, and there’s no going back now. Keep up the momentum by taking action now!

Thank you for all you do,

Michael Brune
Sierra Club Executive Director

P.S. Six messages are more powerful than one! After you take action, forward this message to five of your friends and family or share it on Facebook and Twitter.

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Thinking Infrastructure on Earth Day

[Note: SW PA, SE PA, same deal: our country and state are falling behind in infrastructure, and it costs us in energy, time and environmental degradation. It’s not just how we as a people move around the map; it’s also what happens in our own homes, as the chart below shows. Global Climate Disruption works in unexpected ways in our own daily lives.]

“City council shows support for Earth Day action to strengthen Pittsburgh’s infrastructure” by Khari Mosley, Regional Programs Manager for the BlueGreen Alliance in Pennsylvania.

The Negley Avenue Bridge in Pittsburgh that spans the East Busway and railroad tracks connecting Shadyside with Centre Avenue was built long before many of us were around—89 years ago—and unfortunately the structure is showing its age. When it was built, the Negley Avenue Bridge was built to last 100 years and beyond, but years of neglect and delayed repairs and investment have made it unsafe for use today. It’s just one of many bridges here in Pittsburgh and around the state that demand our attention, and this Earth Day we’re doing something about it.

Councilman Dan Gilman joined labor and environmental leaders today to call for swift passage of a resolution he introduced in support of efforts to repair Pittsburgh’s crumbling infrastructure systems. These systems include water, wastewater, transit, energy, and natural gas distribution systems.

Why Earth Day? Today we take action to educate ourselves about the effect we’re having on the environment around us. It’s time to look for new solutions to address climate change. Extreme temperature swings related to climate change are causing more pot-holes on roads, higher than average rainfall is testing the limits of dams and levees and stronger and stronger winds are leaving our electric grid vulnerable to more power outages than I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. In fact, the number of weather-related blackouts has doubled since 2003.

More often than not, we hardly notice even notice infrastructure until it breaks on us. When we can’t get to work or school on time, dial the phone to speak with friends and relatives and more, it becomes a problem. From stronger storms to flooding to other dangers, these changes put us all in harms way unless we make the structures that are supposed to protect us stronger.

The Repair America resolution introduced on Earth Day, is an effort to recognize that these investments would impact job creation, and better protect communities from the impacts of climate change.

Inefficient infrastructure creates more waste and carbon pollution driving climate change. For example, there are an estimated 240,000 water main breaks a year. Replacing that leaked water requires energy to pump even more water, resulting in not just water waste, but energy waste as well. A Chicago State University study showed that by reducing the amount of water leaked annually in the U.S. by only 5 percent would result in saving enough energy to power 31,000 homes for a year and cut 225,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

We’re faced with both a challenge and an opportunity to prepare infrastructure systems for the increasingly severe and more frequent storms and droughts that we are experiencing. Investing now will put people to work rebuilding pipes, roads, bridges, transit, and energy transmission systems. And, it will make our infrastructure systems more efficient, reducing energy and water waste, as well as carbon pollution that drives climate change.

With the introduction of today’s resolution, Pittsburgh joins many other communities across the country calling for investments to fix the basic systems people rely on every day—for power, water, to communicate with each other, and to get people and goods from place to place—which will create family-sustaining jobs, help address climate change, and ensure our communities are safer and healthier.

chart from “Weather-Related Blackouts Doubled Since 2003: Report” at Climate Central, 4/10/14:


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