Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Pomeroy of No

Previously I suggested Rep. Earl Pomeroy may be doing nothing more than paying lip service to wanting to avoid disruptive climate change. Well, after seeing his latest commercial (those must be okay, though this is too early to debate), maybe he does not even actually get the concept of anthropogenic climate change at all. That may seem bad, but it would still be better than another possibility I will not rule out - perhaps Pomeroy is deliberating muddying the issue for short-sighted and political reasons. Actually, I cannot even say Pomeroy is not just plugging his ears, closing his eyes, and pretending climate change does not even exist.

Here is a link to the commercial called on his reelection website "No". Who says Republicans are "the party of no"? But then part of the theme is these new commericials is that 'it is not about party'.

Here is Pomeroy "on the issues" when it comes to "homegrown energy". The commercial sort of distills that down to a 30-second monologue. There are plenty of bones that could be picked in all that (does a "near-limitless supply of coal" mean near-limitless environmental damage?). What I want to focus on is false comparison in the commercial between "cap-and-trade" and "meeting our energy needs".

Pomeroy apparently favors the denialist/rejectionist caricature that "cap-and-trade" means nothing but higher energy costs and lost jobs. I find it hard to believe Pomeroy is doing anything but playing political games and figure that he actually does understand that "cap-and-trade" is only a facet of the overarching energy & climate policies being considered and that it basically means setting an overall limit (in this case on carbon emissions) and letting those in the relevant market(s) figure out how to most efficiently not exceed those limits.

To at least paraphrase Joe Romm, fossil fuel use and the resulting carbon emissions have a cost, and we must now give it a price.

Sticking our heads in the sand (Alberta tar sands?) and ignoring that cost is no longer an option. Uncontrolled dumping of waste into lakes, rivers, and oceans is not acceptable, throwing all trash and waste wherever outside for the wind and rain will get rid of it is not acceptable, and unlimited pumping of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is not acceptable either. Trying to excuse any of those by saying not being allowed to do it would hurt local business and industry is short-sighted and selfish.

It seems Pomeroy lacks imagination about what is "right for North Dakota". What if some legislator from Florida decided flood protection that benefits North Dakota was not "right for Florida", that such worrying about flooding in the Midwest was a waste that distracts from Florida tourism? To Pomeroy apparently in the name of pandering to fossil fuel interests it is fine, for example, to allow Florida and other coastal states to lose their beaches as one of the effects of climate change, rising sea level, continues to accelerate.

Is "North Dakota common sense" chasing the quick buck no matter the consequences? That is something to which I would like to see Earl Pomeroy say 'no' by demonstrating concern for climate, enough to work to maintain it in a state as close as possible to that in which people have thrived.

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