The Thinker: Rich Galen


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Mullings by Rich Galen ®
An American Cyber-Column By Rich Galen
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Climate Change

Rich Galen

Monday June 5, 2017

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  • During one of my two more-or-less benign appearances with Bill Maher, he asked me whether I thought climate change, or global warming, or whatever it was being called then was man-made.

  • The live audience - a bunch of college-age young men and women looking for a fight - held their collective breath expecting me to say that it was (to borrow from a Trump Tweet) "a hoax."

  • The kids were terribly disappointed when I said (approximately):
    Man-made or not man-made is the wrong argument. The right argument is: Is it better to put more junk into the atmosphere or less junk into the atmosphere.

  • Assuming you believe that less is better - as almost everyone does, save for a few people in Mingo County, West Virginia - then the more difficult question is: How do we pay for it?

  • We have a history of paying more for things we believe to be healthy. Organic foods come to mine even though there is almost zero evidence that organically grown foods and organically raised animals have any - any - health benefits.

  • A reporter from NPR - yes, that NPR - in 2012 wrote about a study that had been released in The Annals of Internal Medicine:
    "When the researchers looked at the body of evidence, they found no clear benefits" [from eating organically grown foods].

  • In fact, one of the researcher made it even clearer: "There's a definite lack of evidence" to support the advantages of organic food.

    Dear Mr. Mullings:

    What about being poisoned by the pesticides in conventional food? What about that?

    The National Association of People Who Demand Everyone Agree with Them

    Glad you asked. That same article stated that the investigators:

    "found that the vast majority of conventionally grown food did not exceed allowable limits of pesticide residue set by federal regulations."

  • I am not a climate denier. If gigantic sections of Antarctica are breaking off and floating away, I think that deserves some attention and concern. What I don't understand is why the issues of whether the climate is changing and if it is, whether it is man-made, have taken on such a religious fervor.

  • You don't think climate change is real? Fine. Smoke cigars in your house while the kids are playing on the floor in front of you.

  • You think climate change is the biggest existential threat since the asteroid that killed off the dinosaurs? Fine. Drive an electric car and only recharge it at a place that gets its electricity from wind or solar farms. And, by the way, don't take a federal subsidy to offset the cost of the vehicle.

  • President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Paris Accords did not make me look for a high window out of which to jump.

  • I don't agree with his decision, but it was but one of many in the first 136 days of his Presidency.

  • The long list of CEOs who also disagree with him on this decision can voluntarily abide by whatever rules the Obama Administration imposed while we were party to the Accords.

  • Easy Peasy.

  • There is some level of hypocrisy that attends to the outrage expressed by some of them. Tim Cook, the chairman of Apple (whose phones and tablets I swear by) wrote a letter to Apple employees after the President's decision:
    "Climate change is real and we all share a responsibility to fight it. I want to reassure you that today's developments will have no impact on Apple's efforts to protect the environment. We power nearly all of our operations with renewable energy, which we believe is an example of something that's good for our planet and makes good business sense as well."

  • All well and good but most, if not all, of Apple's products are assembled in China and now India.

  • The biggest polluter on the planet? China. Coming in at number four? India. (the U.S. and the EU are two and three).

  • Elon Musk made a big deal about quitting some panels he was on. The raw materials for Tesla batteries come from many places including the aforementioned China (graphite), Congo (cobalt), and the golden triangle of democracy and good governments Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia (lithium).

  • Maybe they should stop supporting polluters and dictatorships along with their legitimate concern for the global climate.

  • On the Secret Decoder Ring page today: Links to the NPR piece on organic foods, to an article on where Apple assembles its products, and to where Tesla sources its raw materials.

    The Mullfoto is a screen grab of the Marietta College (45750) men's varsity crew coming in 5th in the nation at the rowing championships over the weekend.

-- END --

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