Tuesday, November 28, 2017

An Actual Price of Carbon

We've been talking about the cost of carbon on society for a long time.  Turns out it's $36 a ton, according to scientists and economists.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration has already hinted at ignoring that number.  It would be disastrous.  It's vital that the cost is realized.

By the way -- how many tons do humans pump into the air every year?  Forty billion tons.  That's billion with a B.

How much are healthy oceans and ecosystems worth? Priceless.

Don't take my word of it.  A recent op-ed by Michael Greenstone and Cass Susstein talks about the importance of keeping that number in the regulations and solutions to climate change. 


New scientific and economic evidence suggests that climate change probably poses an even greater risk than the $36 figure reflects. 

For example, the West Antarctica ice sheet appears to be retreating faster than we thought, raising the specter of multimeter sea level rise in the next century. 

Recent research also found that climate change will lead to shorter and sicker lives, primarily because of the harmful effect of more extremely hot days on health. Extreme heat is also projected to reduce worker productivity and increase energy consumption, while changes in temperature and precipitation globally are expected to increase food prices and violence. Thus, there is a strong case that if anything, the government’s estimate of the social cost of carbon should be higher than it is.

To be sure, the exact number is uncertain, and the Trump administration will make its own judgment. But a credible assessment must be based on the best science and economics, not politics. And there is no justification for a chilling investigation of civil servants who are just doing their jobs.

Ultimately, the social cost of carbon provides a necessary guidepost in decisions about how to balance costs to our economy today with the coming climate damages. Wishing that we did not face this trade-off will not make it go away.

Read the whole piece here.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

No Surrender Despite the Times

Dear Editor,

What a disappointing article “What Would You Do?” by Tatiana Schlossberg in the New York Times

The takeaway adds to people's sense of helplessness and encourages inaction -- that climate change is so big and "complicated" that even if you choose the most earth-friendly answers, "the climate will keep changing no matter what" and that “there is no way to stop climate change.”

You read that and you may as well wave the newspaper over your head like a white flag of surrender.

I say no surrender despite the times. There is hope. There are many things everyone can and should do to stop climate change.


Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bonaire Swim

In Bonaire, Netherlands Antilles 

Today I entered the easy shore break on the leeward side of a windswept island in the southern Caribbean sea.  Mask and snorkel is all I needed.

I saw a smallish Hawksbill sea turtle swimming just below.  It swam ever so slowly through the clear water.  It was as if time underwater really moves as different as it feels.

Followed it for quite awhile.  An unusual treat for undersea wildlife, often just a fleeting glimpse.  I admired the colorful shell made of greens and red-browns in an Aztec-like pattern.

As the turtle passed over the undersea cliff edge, his shell and whole body was vibrant against the black-blue of the drop off into the darker depths.

But the flounder, the simple flat fish, I saw on my way back to the beach really stole my imagination.  So delighted to watch it flutter like paper in the wind, a beige white fabric on the beige sand.

When it stopped moving and bits of sand settled back around it, I could barely discern the creature from the Earth.  For a moment, it was one with its surroundings, easily something we've all tried to be at least once in our terrestrial lives.

At the end of a day buzzing with beauty, I've figured it out -- the tremendous draw here of Bonaire.

Everyday, the bright warm sun, the turquoise water, fantastic sights in the meditative, soundless underwater world -- it's like living on the edge of a wonderful dream that you can easily step into and out of.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How to be Heard

 Remember this line? 

"I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all." 

This is a good read.  It's a very practical and nonpartisan "how to" guide written by former staff of members of congress.  It will tell you how to make sure your member of congress knows where you stand on issues/votes, Republican or Democrat.

If you don't have time to read it, the summary is:

Calling the offices of your two Senators and congressperson is the most effective way to be heard -- aside from visiting their offices and telling them in person.  And yes, you can actually call them, you'll probably get a staffer but he/she will take your message/statement.

Try to call them when there is some way they can take action or are about to take action -- "I want you to vote yes on xxx"

Members of Congress are not really interested in your opinion of the policies or your logic for why you feel this way -- they just want to know where you stand.

And believe it or not, they care what you think -- Republican or Democrat -- because you are one of their constituents.  You're a voter.  And members of congress are always, consistently, to the "point of obsession", focused on re election.

The telephone numbers of your members of congress are easily found online. 

The Indivisible Guide is here: https://www.indivisibleguide.com/

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sing for the Unsung Hero

The world needs more people like Joe Browder.  He was instrumental in saving acres of the Everglades.  Here he is taking a stroll in his cathedral.  Rest in peace.

A quote from his experience:

“Look at it this way, Louise,” she recalled Mr. Browder telling her. “Would you rather have some influence over deciding where the airport will be located, or would you rather decide where to plant the trees and grass around the parking lots?”

He loved nature no doubt.  Read his obit here.