Green Watch

June 2012 Green Notes

Forget the Taliban, China, or a nuclear Iran. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a gathering of the Environmental Defense Fund in Washington, DC on May 2nd that he’s worried about – global warming. “The area of climate change has a dramatic impact on national security,” said Panetta. “Rising sea levels, severe droughts, the melting of the polar caps, the more frequent and devastating natural disasters all raise demand for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.” Good thing we don’t have any real national security threats out there, right?

Call off the flood warning: Researchers from the University of Washington at Seattle and Ohio State University have been studying Greenland’s glaciers for a decade, and have released a report with a startling conclusion – glacier runoff due to global warming may not be flooding the Earth after all. Earlier estimates had predicted that Greenland ice could increase sea levels by as much as 19 inches by 2100. But as University of Washington glaciologist Twila Moon put it, “we can say some of the worst numbers aren’t there at this point.” No kidding.

James Lovelock, the legendary environmentalist who formulated the influential “Gaia” theory that postulates that the Earth is a single bio-system, has come out and admitted that he was an “alarmist” on climate change. As recently as 2006, Lovelock wrote that “before this century is over billions of us will die and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.” But now at age 92, Lovelock tells MSNBC, “The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened.” Now you tell us.

Even the ultra-liberal editors at the Washington Post are admitting that Left-wing arguments against the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Alberta, Canada to refineries on the American Gulf Coast, are bogus: “The case for ultimately approving the Keystone XL pipeline — always strong — has grown stronger,” reads a May 1 Post editorial. “Even if environmentalists manage to stop one pipeline or another, given high world oil prices, the enthusiastic support of the Canadian government…it’s beyond quixotic to believe that enough of the affordable paths out [of Alberta] will be blocked. Environmentalists might succeed, however, in relocating some construction jobs outside the United States.” The Post concludes: “So President Obama’s refusal so far to authorize Keystone XL has little rational basis,” which will come as no surprise to Green Watch readers.

In a recent policy paper for the journal Science, several dozen scientists call for a worldwide government in order to stave off climate change. “Human societies must now change course and steer away from critical tipping points in the Earth system that might lead to rapid and irreversible change,” the scientists write. “This requires fundamental reorientation and restructuring of national and international institutions toward more effective Earth system governance and planetary stewardship.” Blogging for Scientific American, environmental writer Gary Stix agrees, but goes farther, writing: “To be effective, a new set of institutions would have to be imbued with heavy-handed, transnational enforcement powers. There would have to be consideration of some way of embracing head-in-the-cloud answers to social problems that are usually dismissed by policymakers as academic naiveté.” Scary. The greens are no longer even trying to hide their thirst for power.