Conflict

Coaltopia – Coal Industry Revival Backfires On Climate

Writing for High County News, Ray Ring reports on unusual opposition, from Wyoming to India, that coal-export schemes have ignited:

The opponents want thorough evaluations that weigh all the impacts, with public hearings around the Northwest that would give time to speakers like Kimberly Larson, a staffer for Climate Solutions, a Washington group that advocates for wind and solar power.

“The coal companies need a new market for their drug,” she says, “just like we saw with tobacco companies,” which emphasized overseas sales when health warnings and taxes eroded their U.S. customer base.

Industry, however, prefers narrow evaluations — a local hearing that only weighs the construction of a new dock, for instance. And industry is optimistic: In the last few weeks, a couple of companies leased additional Powder River Basin deposits — with their eyes fixed on Asia.

Writing for the Daily Kos, Matt Wuerker falls for coal industry deception (much deception comes from a difference in perception) and encourage readers, at least in the Pacific Northwest, to think likewise. There are two grievous errors in the thinking he promotes.

While criticizing the coal industry for using a local focus, the Daily Kos article, “Our Happy Future as a Coal Corridor,” also emphasizes a local focus that lessens the focus on the total impact upon life on the planet as we know it. A quick view of current economics, and the average reader would see the need to export coal to Asia.

The second grievous error relates to the first. Wuerker wants the Daily Kos reader to see such harm in being a coal industry “corridor.” This provides coal industry representatives an opportunity to respond that this worry is wrong because the coal is going elsewhere for burning — some place other than the Great Pacific Northwest — some place in Asia, where electric power plants suffer less harassment by the government about producing CO2 emissions than the coal industry has to worry about in our country. (Sarcastically italicized.)

Meanwhile, the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will rise again next month as it has since reporting started. Not just in the atmosphere in the Pacific Northwest, or wherever you are as you read this. The concentration reported in a frame on the right hand of this weblog front page is a global average. While it is a possible problem to transport the product through where you live to make money, it is not the major problem. The major problem is encouraging greater use of a product that, in the future, is leading to the end of life on this planet as we know it. Yes, one planet — this Kos critical post is avoiding a focus on Big China, other than repeating the cartoon. Instead, it attempts to ask readers to think critically about life on our planet.

Scientists say united on global warming, at odds with public view

Image source: phys.org

(Reuters) – Ninety-seven percent of scientists say global warming is mainly man-made but a wide public belief that experts are divided is making it harder to gain support for policies to curb climate change, an international study showed on Thursday.

The report found an overwhelming view among scientists that human activity, led by the use of fossil fuels, was the main cause of rising temperatures in recent decades.

“There is a strong scientific agreement about the cause of climate change, despite public perceptions to the contrary,” said John Cook of the University of Queensland in Australia, who led the study in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

“There is a gaping chasm between the actual consensus and the public perception,” he said in a statement. “When people understand that scientists agree on global warming, they’re more likely to support policies that take action on it.”

Global average surface temperatures have risen by 0.8 degree Celsius (1.4F) since the Industrial Revolution.

Experts in Australia, the United States, Britain and Canada studied 4,000 summaries of peer-reviewed papers in journals giving a view about climate change since the early 1990s and found that 97 percent said it was mainly caused by humans.

They also asked authors for their views and found a 97 percent conviction from replies covering 2,000 papers. The data will be released at (www.skepticalscience.com).

The report said it was the biggest review so far of scientific opinion on climate change.

“If people disagree with what we’ve found we want to know,” said Mark Richardson of the University of Reading in England, one of the authors of the study that looked at English-language studies by authors in more than 90 nations.

Another co-author, Dana Nuccitelli of Skeptical Science, said she was encouraging scientists to stress the consensus “at every opportunity, particularly in media interviews”.

Opinion polls in some countries show widespread belief that scientists disagree about whether climate change is caused by human activities or is part of natural swings such as in the sun’s output.

A survey by the U.S. Pew Research Center published in October last year found 45 percent of Americans said “Yes” when asked: “Do scientists agree Earth is getting warmer because of human activity?” Forty-three percent said “No”.

Rising concentrations of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, hit 400 parts per million in the atmosphere last week, the highest in perhaps 3 million years.

Governments have agreed to work out, by the end of 2015, a deal to slow climate change that a U.N. panel of experts says will cause more floods, droughts and rising sea levels.

(Reporting By Alister Doyle; Editing by Janet Lawrence)