WATER FOR OIL
By Michael Haran
In December I went to a Regional Climate Protection Authority presentation at the Healdsburg City Council chambers. The RCPA was created in 2009 to improve coordination on climate change issues and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as was mandated by the ten county government’s partnership with the Climate Protection Campaign in 2005.
I was expecting a sit-down presentation on RCPA’s progress but instead there were only charts ringing the room and index cards for suggestions. When I asked one of the RCPA staff members why there wasn’t a formal presentation she said that they decided to forgo one because of the disruptions they had encountered at the Windsor presentation.
It seems that there is a group of climate deniers in the county who attend these meeting as concerned citizens. They pretend not to know each other and then disrupt and dispute anything the RCPA’s staff has to say. I was told that these people are not polite and their sole purpose is to take over the meeting for their own agenda.
Regardless of the fact that the deniers tend to be rather obnoxious and since none of us have done the science ourselves who’s really right about climate change, the deniers or the believers?
On the deniers side the earth warms and cools about every ten thousand years. Eventually we will once again have glaciers in the middle of North America. In pre-historic times we had forest fires that burned from the Pacific coast to the Rocky Mountains and at one time the earth was covered in volcanos spewing tons of magma gases into the atmosphere. Humans have only been spewing for about a hundred years and affecting the climate for even less than that.
Research published in the journal “Science” on September 8, 2013 stated “Abrupt climate change has been a systemic feature of Earth’s climate for hundreds of thousands of years and may play an active role in longer term climate variability through its influence on ice age terminations.”
On the believers’ side, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950’s, many of the climate changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased. In the Northern Hemisphere, 1983–2012 was likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years.
During those “hundreds of thousands of years” climate anthropologists have been able to identify six major species die-offs most likely caused by CO2. This is probably what killed off the dinosaurs some 60 million years ago and let’s hope that we’re not the next with the amount of CO2 humans are currently releasing into the atmosphere.
No matter whether climate warming is real or not, oil is a foul, dirty energy source that pollutes our streets, water-ways and air so we should just ban it as soon as we can. Most products that are petroleum based can be made with synthetic alternatives and that $5 billion a year we give to the oil industry, for whatever reason, would go a long way in feeding the children of the working poor.
So once we get rid of oil what should we do with all the oil and coal slurry pipelines crisscrossing the country? I say fill them with water. Now I don’t know the feasibility or the cost of such an undertaking but with the Great Lakes being the world’s largest deposit of fresh water it stirs the imagination. Drought in the Midwest? No problem. Drought in the West? No problem. Water for oil – pump, baby, pump!