Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chamber of Commerce or Chamber of Pollution?

Though this is several days old now I did not want to let it pass. Cheerleading for pollution is nothing new for the Chamber of Commerce in North Dakota, but a couple of ND city Chamber executive directors, Steffanie Boeckel and Kristi Klein, demonstrated in a recent letter in the Herald that they are not averse to spewing garbage too.

The cards played are the usual - coal is super-great for the North Dakota economy, and cap-and-trade would crush the economy.

But they also go one step further, explicitly taking a stance than is generally only implied. Repeating what I have said before, cap-and-trade is a flexible market approach to addressing carbon emissions by setting a necessary limit and letting the market figure out the cheapest and most efficient way to achieve the ends. If you are the Chamber and oppose that, what are you going to favor? Certainly not command-and-control regulations laid down by the government. Basically you are going to favor no solution. And if you take off the table any solution, your only out is to deny there is a problem. And that is where the Boeckel and Klein go here.

Boeckel and Klein display their odious ignorance of (assuming not outright lies about) climate science. In little more than a dozen words they manage to pack a massive amount of misinformation. In talking about anthropogenic climate change they allude to "leaked e-mails last year (actually hacked/stolen is much more likely) that cast serious doubt (actually they do no such thing) on the scientists who have made these claims" (actually the few dozen people directly reference by the hacked materials are only a drop in the bucket of the virtual unanimity among actual climate scientists that human activities are altering the climate). As much as I despise it when climate change is simply ignored, seeing lies and misinformation repeated to try to deny it is even worse.

Another especially disgusting little throw-in at the end of the letter said, "It’s important that North Dakota has both reliable as well as renewable electricity sources." I am not surprised the Chamber sucks up to the fossil fuel industry as much as possible, but the smack to renewable energy by calling it unreliable is surprising. Why is renewable energy important if it is unreliable? Oh yeah - there is a chance to make a buck on it, but the addiction to fossil fuels makes them the only fully Chamber-approved. They criticize PSC candidate Brad Crabtree for "undying allegiance to cap and trade", but that pales in comparsion to the Chamber's worship of fossil fuel.

The Chamber apparently views the physical world as nothing more than something to be exploited in any way possible to make immediate profit. I just hope that view is, or at least very soon becomes, less common than the idea that we need to preserve the only place we and everyone who may come after us have to live. It hardly seems fair that we should have to devastate our home just because Boeckel, Klein, and their ilk think they can have a slightly cheaper energy bill or make an extra buck that way.

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