Wednesday, February 19, 2014

What, Exactly, Is The Debate?

Sometimes it helps to have things explained to us as if we were ten years old. That's why it made such good sense to me that science educator and television personality Bill Nye was brought on to NBC's "Meet The Press" to describe the effects of global warming to congressperson Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee. Ms. Blackburn was interested in discussing the "cost/benefit analysis" of what has been happening to our planet over the past century. The Science Guy wanted to get The Politician Lady to consider that something needs to be done. Representative Blackburn suggested that the change from three hundred and twenty to four hundred parts per million was "very slight." Is there doubt about climate change? Or is there doubt about what we need to do about it?
Pacific Gas and Electric, the combined natural gas and electric utility provider for northern and central California has accepted its "responsibility to both manage its emissions and work constructively to advance policies that put our state and the country on a cost-effective path toward a low-carbon economy." Those words "cost-effective" and "economy" show up a lot in discussions about greenhouse gasses and carbon footprints. What will it cost to keep our planet inhabitable for generations to come?
It's not a surprise, really, that the House Committee for which Ms. Blackburn is vice-co-chair is called "Energy and Commerce." Those two ideas have been running hand in hand with each other since the birth of our nation. It is a law of physics that you can't get something for nothing, just as it is in economics. There is a cost to everything. I learned this when I was just a kid, reading Bill Peet's "Wump World." When the Pollutants showed up and turned the Wump's green and pleasant home into a paved-over ball of muck, I started to understand what was happening. That was when I was eight, and since then I have participated in an economy that sells opportunities to wreck and save the planet disproportionately. Recycled toilet paper costs more than brand new. I find that horrifyingly ironic, and I'm neither a scientist nor an economist.
Maybe that's because I'm a Wump.

1 comment:

Krs10 said...

Energy & Commerce is a GOP platform, plain and simple. (Look at the tweets page.) And EVIL! What is the cost of burning all of our oil reserves? What is the cost of superstorms? What is the cost of mass species extinction? What is the cost of ignorance? So very few benefit.