Friday, December 14, 2007

Something about Climate Change that Mary Does Not Get

Will someone please tell Senator Mary Landrieu that she represents the state of Louisiana and not the oil and gas industries!

Landrieu was the lone Democrat to vote against ending a Republican filibuster against provisions in the energy bill which would have mandated that utilities get at least 15 percent of their power from renewable energy sources by 2020.

The bill, in its final form, does some good things, but it could have done much more if not for Landrieu's placing of the interests of oil and gas companies ahead of the interests of the people of the state she was elected to represent.

Why do I say Landrieu voted to defend the interests of a leading industry over the interests of the state? For starters, there is the matter of the accelerating rate of climate change, which is speeding the melting of the polar ice cap and the cap in Greenland.

Less ice, means more water in the oceans, which translates into rising sea levels. Louisiana's coast is very flat. Rising sea levels combined with sinking land is a bad combination for us.

How bad? Check out the images from the University of Arizona at the top of this post.

The image on the left is what Louisiana's relationship with the Gulf of Mexico was like earlier this year. The image on the right shows the impact of a one-meter rise (a little more than three feet) would have on our state. Look at it closely (you can find another set of the images here).

Orleans and Jefferson parishes are inundated. Terrebonne and LaFourche, too. Gulf waters reach up to I-10 in West Baton Rouge Parish. Most of Cameron and Vermilion parishes are under water.

Oh, well, you might say, "that won't happen for a century. We'll be gone and someone else will have figured out what to do."


The pace of the melting is increasing.

Well, then, it's hopeless you might say.

Wrong again!

McKinsey & Company (the business consultants) recently released a report (PDF) that substantial progress could be made in reducing greenhouse gas emissions over the next 23 years without disrupting the U.S. economy. It focuses on increased energy efficiency as a means of reducing the growth in the release of greenhouse gases.

But, McKinsey report states that the measures that need to be taken include the very kind of energy production shift that Landrieu wrong-headedly blocked by supporting the Republican filibuster against the energy bill:
5. Reducing the carbon intensity of electric power production — 800 megatons to 1,570 megatons. This potential derives from a shift toward renewable energy sources (primarily wind and solar), additional nuclear capacity, improved efficiency of power plants, and eventual use of carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies on coal-fired electricity generation.
This is McKinsey & Company writing! It's only radical if you're so deep in the back pocket of the energy industry that you think their farts are perfume.

Again, why is this important? Go to the images at the top again.

Louisiana, due to our geology, topography and geography, is going to be among the areas most dramatically affected by rising sea levels (not the only one, to be sure!).

It would be nice if any of our elected officials would give even the slightest indication that they understand what is at stake here.

The senior Senator from Louisiana has gone all 'flat earth' on climate change at a time when we need her to be rational. Maybe her polling numbers have unnerved her?

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