Thursday, April 11, 2013

What is missing in the public debate? It is Climate Change, Stupid!

There are many issues in the forefront in the public debate in America. There is gun control, which we all could agree needs some resolution. There is also immigration. Again, a matter that is important to the future of America. And, of course, there is the budget, which is soon to morph into the debt ceiling crisis. This too clearly is an important issues; however, I remember back last fall we all were discussing another important issue that would impact the United States, the World and future generations. No, I am not talking about that Gangham Style dance or whether or not Kate and Prince Andrew are going to have a baby. I am not even talking about the U.S. presidential election, which definitely was big. I am talking about Hurricane Sandy, which brought to the forefront the issue of climate change. However, like everything in this 24 hour news cycle, it faded away just like the storm itself. And we will not have a discussion about the climate change until the next cataclysmic event. It could be another long hot summer which creates the next dust bowl or another super storm to hit the east coast or the gulf coast. Who knows. But, it is truly unfortunate that we cannot address an issue in the United States until there is a crisis. I assume that is how we are conditioned. We have short attention spans and focus on the next shiny object or issue in this case With climate change, however, we cannot wait for another crisis because resolution to this issue requires short term and long term thinking and planning. It requires the world to develop a new strategy in how we operate in business and in our lives. It requires new thinking about technology for creating and preserving energy. We have the skill set, the desire, the resources and the intelligence to do so. It just requires a unified effort. We did it in the past. In the 60s, we sent a man to the moon and passed a civil rights act, which was a combination of scientific skill with a moral compass. We still have it and can do it. We just need the focus and direction. Let's get started now. Quite frankly, I do not want to have to see another Weather Channel anchorman standing out in the middle of the hurricane telling me that this is the storm of a century just a year after I just experienced the storm of the century. Sooner or later it is no longer called a one-time event and instead is called a pattern. That is a pattern that we have to deal with now, not just when there is a crisis.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Storm of a Century Every Year

I noticed that we keep on hearing the news say that this is "a storm of a century" or "a once in generation event" when it comes to natural disasters and the weather. The problem is that they seem to be saying that all too often. Perhaps, we should consider that these events are no longer a nominally, but rather a permanent change in the weather. Like 50 million other Americans on the East Coast, I got up close and personal with Hurricane Sandy, aka Franken Storm or the Super Storm. These names are effective for good headlines, but we should look at the facts here. Here in the northeast corridor of America, we had hurricane Irene last year and Sandy this year. We have become the Florida of north for Hurricanes without the nice warm weather or the early bird dinner specials. Prior to last year, we had a record breaking amount of snow and then last year we broke a record with the lowest amount of snow fall. We are getting hotter summers, longer Falls and shorter Springs. Half the country is going through a record breaking draught and the other side is deluged with an amount of rain that would have any rationally thinking person of building an ark. We all know what is happening here and, yet, we cannot talk about it. Heck, none of the presidential and vice president debates discussed the bogeyman, the white elephant in the room or the Lord Voldemort of the twenty first century. It is climate change. Let's drop the reference to global warming and just call it climate change. That is what it is here. And any person who denies it is, quite frankly, a moron. I am sorry to insult a half of the American population, including politicians running this country, but you are. I am amazed how the rest of the world acknowledges climate change, but a portion of America still remain in this "Denial of Climate Change Bubble". Of course, that same bubble is in black and white, has Leave it to Beaver and still thinks the Soviet Union is our biggest threat. Look, we have a major problem here. We can worry about the economy, birth control, the right to chose and same sex marriage. However, if we do not have a serious adult discussion about climate change here, there will be no economy to worry about, no birth control needed because human procreation will be irrelevant with the human species being wiped out and marriage will not be an issue because humans will just be trying to survive as opposed deciding to who the want to spend the rest of their lives with when they may not live to se the next day. I hate writing this "end of the world", "red alert", "Danger Will Robinson" blog entry, but I have no choice. We all should be doing the same. I spent 48 hours or more watching the Weather Channel about Hurricane Sandy. Perhaps, that is too much time. But, it worked. Tt scared me enough to get really prepared for this storm and thank goodness I did. If the news can successfully do that for a hurricane, why can't they do it for something bigger like climate change? Perhaps, I should start a blog about that. I just need to get some readers. It reminds me of that old chinese proverb: "If a man rights a blog and no one reads it, will he be heard." The answer is no, but at least I have company with the issue of climate change. I really should start building that ark.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Unlike the President, Climate Change Never Showed Up to the Debate

For the environmentalists out there, it was another disappointing debate. No, I am not talking about whether or not a certain candidate "won" the debate. One of the most important issues within this decade was not asked by the moderator or any of the attending audience of this town hall debate. That issue would be climate change. In fact, it was not asked in the previous presidential debater nor the one and only vice presidential debate. There was discussion about energy in this debate, but such discussion never broached the topic of climate change. Chris Hayes of MSNBC described it best by saying "To discuss energy without discussing climate changes is like discussing smoking without discussing cancer." Unfortunately, the last presidential debate is on foreign policy and most likely climate change will not be asked unless there is a question about how the change of the climate will impact our foreign policy with respect to protecting natural resources. It is a real shame here. Mitt Romney is part of the deniers of climate changes and President Obama has not done enough to bring this issue to the forefront. I would have loved if someone asked Governor Romney on why he does not believe in climate change and how he plans to combat it when this myth becomes a reality. If the person seeking one of the most important jobs is not asked in his "interview" about how he would deal with climate change, how can we really expect that he will do anything about it. This seems another issue that will be kicked down the road to be discussed at another time. Sooner or later we are going to have to deal with it. At least in the 2016 election there will be discussion about this issue because I believe by that time global warming will be having a significant impact on the US economy and the world. Unfortunately, any policy to address it will be reactionary as opposed to preventive. Let's just hope that the next president believes this is an important issue even if he media does not. Unfortunately, I believe only one of them believes it is an important issue. That same person also believes that in the science of climate change.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bill on Bill

I am watching Bill McKibben on Bill Maher. Here is some interesting facts: 1. The average temperature has been higher than recorded temperature from the last century for 330 consecutive months; 2. Only 25% of the Arctic Polar Cap remains; and 3. 60% of the US suffered a drought this past summer. Unfortunately, there is still one party in the US and a Presidential candidate that does not believe in climate change. The issue is how we get over this divide. There is a not a Republican Senator that believes in climate change. I guess we can push them out or wait until they come around. It seems to me that the environmentalists are too weak and timid on this issue. They need to learn from the counterparts and take more aggressive tactic to change peoples' minds. One way to convince them is to prove that green technological will also benefit the economy. There is a current belief by many in the business world that green technology is a money loser. In fact, Mitt Romney criticized the President in the Presidential debate this week of the money wasted by the government in green technology. Then again he worked for Bain Capital, which had as many failures as successes. Does anyone remember what happened to KB Toys? The point is that there needs to a be a new message from the environmentalists. Here are some suggestions: 1. The climate is changing and you can either believe in the supporting science or ignore the science and continue believing in unicorns and leprechauns; 2. Green technology will help the economy and America grow or we can let it die on the vine and watch China, Brazil and India become the new environmental superpowers; 3. Taking care of mother earth is not a democratic, republican or patriotic thing. It is just a human thing. 4. I told you so!!!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

republican party and global warning

I find it somewhat disheartening that Mitt Romney, potentially the next president of the United States,mock President Obama in his speach about his efforts to fight global warming. Is it not time to stop this and acknowledge that the climate change is and will be a serious issue. We have all heard the statistics about how rapid the planet is warming,yet we have people who may run our government ignore it. I heard the best solution from the actor Jason Alexander. Put all the naysayers on an iceberg and if in five years they and the iceberg are still there, then they are right and the rest of us will apologize. I recommend that the bring some life jackets. It is this myopic backward thinking that will hurl us into the dark ages. I am sharpening my broad sword and shining my chiainmail now.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Health Care Law, the Supreme Court and the Environment

Another politically charged week here in the US and as the weather heats up, so will the political rhetoric being that it is a presidential election year. The Affordable Health Care Act ("Obamacare") has survived via the Supreme Court ruling in a 5 to 4 decision upholding its constitutionality. What does this mean for America and why I am talking about this on an environmental blog? The law itself is not the issue here. The significance is the ruling. Many Americans, particularly, the liberal base have questioned the Supreme Court's activities because they have viewed it acting more of a rulemaking branch of the conservative party. Perhaps, the conservatives had said the same thing forty years ago. In fact, maybe they are saying that now. Nonetheless, in order for this democracy to function, there has to be faith in the three branches of government. Clearly, the American public's level of confidence with the other two branches, Congress and the President, is at an all time low, but to lose the faith in the Supreme Court could be cataclysmic. Perhaps, some people who are against the ruling have lost faith in the highest court of the land; however, it was Chief Justice John Roberts whose decision broke the tie brand more importantly, he wrote the decision upholding the constitutionality of the Act, specifically as it relates to mandatory coverage. Again, so what does this have to do with the environment? Well, in the near future the government will have to take action in regard to the environment that will impact many lives, which will result in many legal challenges by both the liberals and the conservatives. Therefore, it is important that Americans believe in the legal system. This means that they must accept the decision of the courts and follow the legal process as permitted under the law to challenge these decisions. However, once the highest court has made a decision or they exhausted all procedures for appealing or overturning the decision, they must abide by the decision. They do not have to agree with the decision, but they must abide by it. It is unfortunate that the people who we have elected to uphold the constitution and the laws of the land have somehow forgotten this principal at times. Again, you do not have to agree with the decision, but as a representative of the public, an elected official must uphold these principals. Without them, we do not have a democracy. Perhaps both political parties can take a look at what Chief Justice Robert did as an example. He made a decision on the law. He was doing what he swore in his oath as a supreme court justice and he did it. He did not let his personal views impact his decision. That is what Congress and the President must do. They must perform the services that they swore to when the accepted the position. Let's put all of that bipartisan personal emotional crap aside and get to work. We got a lot of issues that we need to work together to get done, especially with the changing global climate. Over the horizon I see a big storm coming and we are going to need each other to get through it. Seriously, I actually see a big storm coming from the West due to this heat wave in the East. I better turn off the computer, grab a flash light, a snickers bar and head to the basement. I just hope that my cell phone get reception in the basement because I think it might be a long night.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Insurance Industry: How strong is that safety net?

Among the fallout of natural disasters is the cost of rebuilding. Where does a lot of that financing come from? The government is one of the primary sources; however, the insurance industry is another source. Japan's earthquakes may cost insurance companies up to $34 billion. These insurance companies are also insured by reinsurer companies. They basically insure the insurance companies. This is a small group of companies and this coverage helps keep insurance companies' coverage lower.

It has been a tough 2 years for the insurance industry with disasters in Australia, Chile, New Zealand and now Japan. Fortunately, they are wellfunded; however, with a growing population, especially in areas known for natural disasters and the uncertainty with climate change, these well funded coffers may start shrinking. The result may be us paying more in insurance coverages. These expenses can grow significantly if any of the reinsurer companies go under, which at this time is not an issue. Also, the current expense for Japan may increase depending how the nuclear reactor situation plays out. Let's just all hope that we continue to remain in good hands.