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Terri Lynn Land: Climate change denier, pt. 2

by: Eric B.

Thu May 15, 2014 at 12:37:09 PM EDT

Swiped this off Terri Lynn Land's Twitter feed this morning.

I'm not quite sure why Terri Lynn Land is all hot about the Keystone pipeline, except that it's become red meat for the GOP rightwing base. I'm not sure why they regard it as red meat, because I'm positive that very few of them actually understand what it is, how little direct impact it will actually have in Michigan or really anything except that the president is holding off on approving it, which means that it is ipso facto the greatest thing since the toaster oven.

This is one of those things that if we had media functioning as intended that someone would think to explain to people, especially considering that the latest climate-related news is about the National Climate Assessment laying out how serious the problem has become (Frank Beckmann refuses to take this seriously because he thinks the Union of Concerned Scientists is dumb), and the collapsing ice shelf of West Antarctica. There is a relationship there, folks. But it involves science and politicized science and Canada, so mostly no one is bothering.

If you've followed this issue even remotely closely, you know that it's been accompanied by inflated numbers of job creation (a couple of years ago, it was 100,000 jobs), nonsense about energy independence (it's a global market, folks) and environmental impact. The News a couple of weeks ago had a fact-free editorial, in fact, saying that there is no real environmental impact. Climate scientist Michael Mann begs to disagree on that point.

Burning fossil fuels for energy over the past two centuries has now warmed the planet about 1 degree Celsius (about 1.5F), with at least another 0.5C of warming likely as global temperatures continue to rise in response to cumulative historical emissions. That leaves little wiggle room (about 0.5C) if we are to avoid crossing the 2-degrees Celsius warming mark deemed "dangerous" by many scientists studying the impacts of human-caused climate change.


Even the very conservative estimate of my climate scientist colleague Andrew Weaver, which by some gentle critiques leaves out extra fossil fuel emissions resulting from tar sands extraction, is dire: extracting and burning all of the Keystone-targeted oil would likely result in approximately 0.4C of additional warming. Add that to the observed 1C warming and the additional 0.5C committed warming, and we've only got about 0.1 degrees Celsius to spare before we hit that dangerous limit.

Emph. mine. This is why James Hansen, who Fried Chicken Frank smeared last week as having faked one of the four global temperature records (does no one at the News care about borderline libel?), calls Keystone "game over" for climate. Not only would it raise global temperatures by almost half a degree Celsius, it also means making it that much harder to ween ourselves off hydrocarbon energy, which means that our odds of not crossing the 2.0 degree Celsisus line of no return is about as good as my chances of getting a Pulitzer for running this website.

The only way you can endorse a project like Keystone is that you frankly don't believe what you've been told about the long-term consequences of it. Terri Lynn Land's campaign thinks that something that stimulates $3.4 billion in economic activity is a big deal. Our GDP is north of $10 trillion, however, and that's annually, not over the lifespan of a single pipeline. So, it would have very little economic impact, while the costs associated with it -- externalized environmental costs -- are much higher.

The Lloyd’s report says a 20cm rise in sea level at the southern tip of Manhattan Island increased Sandy’s surge losses by 30% (up to $8bn) in New York alone.

John Nelson, chairman of Lloyd’s, told the Guardian newspaper in London: “The destruction Sandy brought to the eastern US seaboard was responsible for claims of up to $300m in lost fine art, a consequence of the many expensive US beachfront homes damaged.”

That is, costs related purely to the portion of one storm's surge thought attributable to climate change were twice as high as economic activity Terri Lynn Land says Keystone would generate. The losses alone in fine art claims are almost one-tenth of the economic activity Terri Lynn Land says Keystone would generate.

The other day I noted that Terri Lynn Land has adopted the adult climate denier's approach to the issue ... saying that it's worthy of debate. That was maybe true two decades ago when the data wasn't as complete as it is today, but the last decade that's been the calling card for the "paralysis by analysis" crowd. That is, they want action on climate change held up by endless study that never quite seems to convince them, while they promote policies and projects that make things worse. That's enough in this case to ignore her words and instead focus on what she is doing. And, by actions, Terri Lynn Land is every bit as much a climate denier as Michigan's official clumsy oaf, Fried Chicken Frank Beckmann.

Eric B. :: Terri Lynn Land: Climate change denier, pt. 2
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"I'm not sure why they regard it as red meat"
Because it upsets environmentalists and helps their biggest funders (Koch Brothers and others).  If that's all you care about, then hitting two birds with one stone is a good thing.

Greetings from Detroit, Ground Zero of the post-industrial future!

The pipeline has 65 percent support
That according to a WaPo-ABC News poll taken earlier this month.

I've been critical of Democrats for their poor debating skills, and I'm afraid they're going to fumble the pipeline issue, either by flip-flopping or taking a mealy-mouthed position that pleases nobody.

The one consolation is that the pipeline is fairly low on the average voter's list of priorities.  

A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always count on the support of Paul.

Yeah, that's why I don't understand running on supporting it
People are okay with it because it's so unimportant to them. It's just weird that a major candidate for the Senate is running on it.

It'd be great if the media took a cue from that and looked into Keystone, what it means, and how it fits into the big picture.

Among the Trees

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