Thursday, May 14, 2009

John Boehner and King Coal's factories of death

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John Boehner thinks global warming is a laughing matter. CO2? Ha, ha, says ol' John. No problem. Why we emit all kinds of CO2 into the atmosphere just by breathing in and out.

My God, the man's an intellectual giant! Why haven't all the world's scientists figured that out before. We can save the planet just by killing off all the world's heavy know, people like Boehner and Steele and Limbaargh.

The Age of Coal and global warming

From Sierra Magazine, May/June 2009:

"The age of coal isn't over yet. More than 8,000 plants in the United States still pump billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, and they aren't going away any time soon. King Coal has taken a legal licking [thanks to environmentalists like the Sierra Club], but his armies of attorneys are still working overtime."

There is a ray of hope, however.

"In the last days of the Bush administration, his EPA administrator, Stephen Johnson, tried an end run around the appeals board, issuing a 'midnight memo' ruling out CO2 controls on new power plants ..."

That ruling was challenged as soon as Obama took office (the Sierra Club was involved).

"In February, newly appointed EPA administrator Lisa Jackson announced that the agency would reconsider Johnson's order, effectively killing it. Jackson also signaled that--finally--the EPA planned to use the Clean Air Act to regulate carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases."

In fact, shortly after Obama took office, the EPA "officially" found that global warming is a danger to the public. That was a first!

James Hansen, climatologist, has been sounding off about global warming for years. Hansen should know something about it, as he heads up NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies which "monitors temperatures at thousands of sites around the world and has documented an average increase of more than one degree since 1970."

Facts like that, of course, do not interfere with the thinking of such scientific brainiacs as John Boehner, Sean Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and others. The Bush administration was so threatened by Hansen they told him to shut up.

Bush, thank God, is gone. So, in December, Hansen and his wife, Anniek, appealed to President Obama to work toward a worldwide moratorium on burning coal. Sierra magazine printed the following adaptation of the Hansen's letter:

"There are a long list of things people can do to mitigate climate change. But the sine qua non for solving the problem is to stop burning coal. Coal is responsible for as much atmospheric carbon dioxide as all other fossil fuels combined, and is even more of a long-term threat given the earth's enormous coal reserves. (Oil, the second-greatest contributor to atmospheric carbon dioxide, is already substantially depleted.) The safe upper limit for atmospheric CO2 is 350 parts per million. We are currently at 385 ppm. Continued reliance on coal-fired plants will raise atmospheric carbon dioxide to nearly 500 ppm. At that level, a conservative estimate for the number of species that would be exterminated is one million. Coal plants are factories of death.

"The world must end coal emissions rapidly, through a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants and a phaseout of those that do not capture and store carbon dioxide (no commercial plants do at present). This is a great challenge but one with enormous side benefits, including reduced local pollution and a sharp decrease in the toxic mercury (a byproduct of coal-fired power plants) that is now accumulating in fish stocks throughout the oceans. If coal emissions are promptly phased out, other actions--for example, improved agricultural and forestry practices--could bring the level of atmospheric carbon dioxide out of the dangerous range and save the planet we know--the planet of stable climate in which civilizations developed."

Who could possible be against saving the plant other than coal-plant owners and operators? The Republican Party, of course!

And the religious right. Jesus is coming back soon, so who the hell cares?

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