published Friday, October 26th, 2012

David Cook: The deadliest silence

Tennessee's Secretary of State Tré Hargett has a patriotic idea. Before casting your November ballot, log onto a website — govoteTN.com/honor — and enter the name of a veteran, and then go vote in his or her honor.

Sorry, but I think this idea is an insult. Condescending to the challenges our military faces.

Want to honor veterans? Really honor and care for the military? Then stop waging war.

Want to stop waging war? Then start dealing with global climate change.

"Climate change and energy are two key issues that will play a significant role in shaping the future security environment," states the 2010 Department of Defense Quadrennial Report.

As the climate continues to unhinge, our military will be called into action to defend and acquire natural resources we've for decades been gorging on like Halloween candy.

But to listen to the presidential debates, you'd think climate change didn't exist. Big Bird? Bayonets? The importance of coal? Yep. Talked about those.

But climate change? The candidates were more silent than mimes.

"Of the roughly 50,000 words spoken in this month's three presidential debates, none were 'climate change,' 'global warming' or 'greenhouse gas,'" The Associated Press reported.

It was the first time since 1988 that climate change was not mentioned by candidates nor a moderator in presidential or vice presidential debates -- despite two recent polls that find nearly 70 percent of Americans recognize global warming as real and believe it should be a priority for Washington.

We continue to break weather records -- high temperature, extreme events, droughts, floods -- with each season appearing more unstable than the last.

Bill McKibben, who is becoming the environmental movement's Martin Luther King Jr., estimates that if global carbon emissions continue at the current rate, in 16 years, we'll have set the thermostat to a doomsday course, "which would create a planet straight out of science fiction," he wrote in the July 19 issue of "Rolling Stone."

Sometimes, part of the solution is simple: It's been estimated that between 20 and 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from meat production, specifically highly intensive cattle ranches (don't picture bucolic farms in Dunlap).

The Amazon rain forest is being deforested at an alarming rate, paving down the Earth's lungs for cattle, which are then turned into leather and burgers. The end of the world, with extra cheese and a side order of fries.

"Climate change is for real. What we've been doing as humans has been affecting our climate and I will work diligently to make sure all our regulations address climate change," said Martin Pleasant, the Tennessee Green Party's candidate for U.S. Senate.

Pleasant, a 43-year-old environmental engineer in Knox County with about $3,000 in his campaign budget, wants to establish a new regulatory banking act, develop a comprehensive set of incentives for businesses and homeowners to incorporate energy efficiency, and overhaul our energy system through a New Green Deal. He speaks more knowledgeably about climate change than any local politician I've heard.

"This is a foreign policy [issue] also," he said. "Climate is not confined to our geographic boundaries or political borders."

There is hope. Carbon emissions in the U.S. were at the lowest level since 1992, according to the U.S. Energy Department. And no other country on Earth has cut carbon emissions more than we have in the last six years, said the International Energy Agency.

That's the way we honor veterans, and everyone else.

about David Cook...

David Cook is the award-winning city columnist for the Times Free Press, working in the same building where he began his post-college career as a sportswriter for the Chattanooga Free Press. Cook, who graduated from Red Bank High, holds a master's degree in Peace and Justice Studies from Prescott College and an English degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. For 12 years, he was a teacher at the middle, high school and university ...

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bjennings55 said...

Are you serious? Global climate change has happened since the beginning of time. It's been colder/warmer than what we've seen. There's been more CO2 before (back when volcanoes were more active). What separates man from other animals is his ability to adapt. There's no evidence man can influence the weather, one way or another. Deal with it. Move to Realville already!

October 26, 2012 at 9:15 a.m.
justobserving said...

I don't think I'll address the global warming, climate change, or what ever you uber libs are calling it these days. I put you squarely in the same category as these folks on that subject. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=roFB7bGCAgc

Now, as far as your other argument, which is essentially to stop fighting wars over energy. I don't buy into that very simplistic minded nonsense but, I'll give you the benefit of indulging your fantasy for a moment as I make this point. Let's take a look at exactly what that means. It means that we are going to war over the price of a gallon of gasoline, pure and simple. We aren't talking about any other forms of energy here because approximately 97% of all power generation in this country is produced by domestic energy sources. The other 3% is generated primarily as back-up/peak energy usage by oil fired or diesel units. So, now we are down to gasoline and heating oil. Heating oil is used by choice, not by necessity. There are plenty of other forms of domestic energy that can be used in its place (i.e. natural gas, LP gas, or even wood fired furnaces to name just a few). So, now we are back to the price of a gallon of gasoline. So, if you really believe we are fighting wars over energy, then get off your high horse and accept the fact that you are just as guilty as anyone else if you use it to drive your car every day.

October 26, 2012 at 10:01 a.m.
ordinaryguy said...

The scariest part is this man is teaching our young people and by the way what is a major in peace and justice studies...

October 26, 2012 at 10:15 a.m.
conservative said...

I'll bite. This has to be some sort of Halloween trick and Mr. Cook must be masquerading as chicken little.

I sure got a lot of laughs on my first reading.

I think I will bait the usual loons and kooks on the loontoonist page to join in the fun.

October 26, 2012 at 10:31 a.m.
DotP said...

Yeah, I laughed too. I laughed because all these commenters are sure they know more about environmental science, and the effects future generations will be dealing with , than 97% of scientists. Here's the thing: science doesn't care if you believe. It's true even if you don't accept it.

Keep laughing.

October 26, 2012 at 10:38 a.m.
conservative said...

"Want to honor veterans? Really honor and care for the military? Then stop waging war."

Yea, surrender is always the best way to stop war!

October 26, 2012 at 11 a.m.
conservative said...

"I laughed because all these commenters are sure they know more about environmental science, and the effects future generations will be dealing with , than 97% of scientists."

Wouldn't 99.9% be more scarier? After all it is Halloween.

October 26, 2012 at 11:06 a.m.
Rickaroo said...

Let me make sure I have this right: Ninety seven (97)% of climate scientists world-wide, most of whom have been studying climate change for years and even decades, are in complete agreement that climate change is real and is caused by human activity, but you commenters and other pig-headed dunces just like you choose to ignore and even scoff at their research? And your definitive findings come from where exactly? Been holed up in your basements conducting your own research, have you?

Many of the deniers like to cite a petition that was signed several years ago by approximately 30,000 people who supposedly had credentials in the field of science. Not long after it came out, it was proven to be entirely bogus. The vast majority of signers didn't even have science degrees and more importantly hadn't studied climate science at all. Most were just expressing an opinion on it. It turned out that less than one percent of all the signers were actually climate scientists.

What is happening regarding climate change is almost identical to what took place several years ago when scientists first reported that there was a link between cigarette smoking and cancer. The tobacco companies hired their own "scientists" to refute the findings of the actual scientists and they spent billions of dollars spreading their propaganda so that they could keep selling their poison sticks. Of course, the smokers and pro-tobacco folks chose to believe the pseudo-science and deny the real science. Eventually real science won out and most people with an actual brain and not mush for brains know that cigarette smoking will flat-out kill you. Big oil and the related industries have likewise spent billions spreading their propaganda to refute the real science and unfortunately too many people are falling in line and swallowing their BS.

It's probably too late to even make a dent in preventing the gloomy fate that awaits us, because in order to turn things around, it would take a massive, collective effort among the governments of all nations to work together. And that is not going to happen. Too many Americans think the words "collective" and "government" are themselves dirty words. Evil socialism and all that.

Instead of working consructively to create a cleaner and more environmenatally friendly world, and thus becoming energy self-sufficient, we waste precious time having to argue with bassackward cretins over things like whether the earth was created in six days or not, whether rape is "legitimate" or not, and whether spewing more than a century's worth of toxic emissions into the atmoshphere might just possibly have a cumulative detrimental effect, severe enough to cause climate change.

Climate change should not be a political, liberal/conservative issue. There was a time when science was respected. Unfortunately a dark cloud of stupidity seems to have swept in and it hangs over this nation worse even than the cloud of our toxic emissions.

October 26, 2012 at 12:38 p.m.
conservative said...

Man doesn't make it rain, man doesn't make it snow, man doesn't make the sun shine, man doesn't make the clouds or the wind that moves them, man doesn't make the cold and man doesn't make the heat!

October 26, 2012 at 12:42 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

JR, whether my argument is a good one or a bad one is not really the point. I would like to think that I can maybe make a convincing case, but regardless, the science of the matter is there. You can either ridicule it and listen to the charlatans and propaganda pushers or you can accept the truth. It really is a shame that you have to see the entire issue as one "fomented by the left." I don't know about you, but whenever I want to get at the truth of something I just look at the facts, weigh the evidence presented, and don't concern myself with what is politically expedient for my particular ideology. It's not really that difficult to see where the faux science is coming from. I seriously doubt that most true scientists are concerned with a political agenda. The only true scientists, as far as this issue is concerned, are the ones who have devoted so much of their time and energy in the study of climate change; and there is an overwhelming consensus among them that is REAL and that it is caused and exacerbated by human activity.

October 26, 2012 at 1:23 p.m.
conservative said...

"As the climate continues to unhinge" A strawman, the climate does not continue to "unhinge." Besides as I noted at 12:42 man has no control over nature.

October 26, 2012 at 1:28 p.m.
justobserving said...

You're right Rickaroo. Gloom and doom for us all due to global climate change. After all, 97% of climate scientist agree on this, right? Are these the same climate scientists that were predicting a new ice age that was being taught in our schools in the 70's?

October 26, 2012 at 1:31 p.m.
DotP said...

Wow. Lots of comments from people who have no real knowledge past "man doesn't make it rain." Sometimes things ARE more complicated. And just because you don't understand how the pollution released into the atmosphere by factories and cars affects global temperature, melting icecaps, rising sea levels, etc doesn't mean it isn't happening. It's happening. We have proof. We have mountains of proof. And it will keep happening without your belief or approval. But go ahead and keep saying you know more than scientists. You are making a fool of yourself.

October 26, 2012 at 1:41 p.m.
conservative said...

Man can't stop the rain, man can't stop the snow, man can't stop a storm, man can't stop the wind, man can't stop the tides, man can't stop the sun from shining, man can't stop clouds from forming, man can't stop the cold and man can't stop the heat!

October 26, 2012 at 1:48 p.m.
justobserving said...

You misunderstand DotP. The issue isn't whether or not there are changes happening to our climate. The issue is whether this is a man-made phenomenon or a natural cycle. The evidence that it is man made is a far cry from being conclusive.

October 26, 2012 at 1:52 p.m.
DotP said...

To justobserving- see, here's the thing about science. When new evidence presents itself, new weather patterns emerge, and we create better tools for observations and calculations, then the data changes. An intelligent person changes their opinion as new information is learned. A simpleminded person will refuse to do so.

October 26, 2012 at 1:57 p.m.
Leaf said...

Here's the irony. Liberals like equality. So we teach our kids that they all have equal worth, and "you are special like everyone else." And so everyone has pretty high self-esteem, even those who really shouldn't. The ironic part is that people who don't believe in science somehow believe that their opinion carries the same weight as that of an educated expert. Crowdsourced opinion has replaced expert research and science. It's the wikification of America.

October 26, 2012 at 1:59 p.m.
DotP said...

I think there is some pretty conclusive evidence that man is exacerbating the progression of drastic climate change. But even if YOU don't believe there is conclusive evidence, which is smarter? To continue on polluting and spewing toxins into the atmosphere? Or curbing the tide? Which is smarter?

October 26, 2012 at 2:04 p.m.
DotP said...

Leaf, if Liberals are to blame, why do you never see them denying climate change? Why does this seem to be restricted to a conservative's belief system? If what you are saying is true, then the percentage of those denying science would be a little more evenly spread out amongst the groups, no?

October 26, 2012 at 2:11 p.m.
Leaf said...

DotP, I didn't state it well. The irony comes from the unwritten assumption that while liberal ideals enable equality of voices in a debate, the beneficiaries of this artificial equality are the kind of people who think Jesus rode a dinosaur.

JonRoss, I'm not liberal enough to tell you that I take your opinion seriously. But you are special, just like everyone else.

October 26, 2012 at 2:33 p.m.
DotP said...

Not sure when raising your kids as "special snowflakes" and mediocrity became Liberal values. Barring any empirical evidence you have to prove your point, I think that's easily disproven by taking a look around our scenic city. What's ironic is that if you have two groups.... one who raises their children to scoff at science and conservation, and one who teaches their children to learn science, and accept science...... I can with great certainty predict which group will not suffer from mediocrity. I can tell you which group will go on to make actual differences in this world.

October 26, 2012 at 2:35 p.m.
DotP said...

Now that I understand Leaf's point, I find it to be an excellent one. Bravo.

October 26, 2012 at 2:39 p.m.
conservative said...

Just a side observation and then back to the Halloween fun.

Mr. Cook, like others who believe that man is causing global warming, never directly states in his article that he believes that man is causing global warming. They instead write as though it is fact and refer to others who believe or want others to believe that man is causing global warming.

Now, why is that?

The caption has the words "The deadliest silence", so why the silence Liberals? Man up.

October 26, 2012 at 2:50 p.m.
azbrown said...

"For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible. "

October 26, 2012 at 3:08 p.m.
davidcook said...

One thing I kept out of the column: reports that 90 percent of oil and gas industry contributions go to Republicans.

October 26, 2012 at 3:14 p.m.
conservative said...

" our military will be called into action to defend and acquire natural resources"

Well, I certainly hope and pray so! This is how it has always been done throughout history!

October 26, 2012 at 3:14 p.m.
justobserving said...

Oh DotP, you are entertaining. I suppose I could use your logic and say that 50 years from now, when science has better equipment and all, they will probably conclude there was never any danger of man made climate change. Then you can change your mind again based on new information. In the meantime, if some of your lib friends have their way, we can all just hug trees, give up our cars, destroy our industries, and hope that we haven't offended mother nature.

The thing that most libs don't get is that even conservatives (me included) believe in a cleaner planet. Heck, I even recycle. I would love to see more adoption of renewable energy sources. The difference is that I'm not willing to regulate our industries to the point that we can't compete economically, or create hardships on people by demanding they use green this or renewable that based on an "educated" guess that can change based on newer equipment or better technology.

October 26, 2012 at 3:15 p.m.
conservative said...

justobserving...

The issue is really not global warming. The issue is taxation. Liberals need ever increasing taxes to fund more Socialists programs.

The carbon tax is a way to get these revenues. The sheep who fall for the hoax of man made global warming will thus be less likely to complain of their every increasing electrical bill if they can be convinced of the necessity of saving the planet.

Obamination stated - "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket"

October 26, 2012 at 3:45 p.m.
DotP said...

My logic is superior to those who ignore the best information we have available to us. And the best information we have available to us is this: Human behavior contributes to climate change. The climate is changing at an accelerated rate, and will cause some major catastrophes. Changing our behaviors, and the lessening our impact will buy us more time and possibly reverse some of the effects.

If you don't think we know more now than we did 30 years ago, you are delusional. And if you don't think the most intelligent, logical thing for us as humans to do is err on the side of the planet, then you are stupid. Because if I am wrong, then there would have been an unnecessary lag in the economy. If you are wrong, then the planet goes down in flames.

October 26, 2012 at 3:47 p.m.
conservative said...

"our military will be called into action to defend and acquire natural resources we've for decades been gorging on like Halloween candy."

The natural resources that we have been "gorging" on "for decades" has given Americans the highest standard of living in the world!

Praise God for cars, planes, trains, and buses that run on oil!

Praise God for electrical heat and cooling supplied by nuclear, coal, oil and gas!

Praise God for the economy and labor saving devices that nuclear, coal, oil and gas has brought about!

October 26, 2012 at 4:05 p.m.
DotP said...

Yes, Praise god for these things that have made us fat and lazy and comfortable and which will eventually bring about our demise.

Praise god.

October 26, 2012 at 4:19 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

"The issue is really not global warming. The issue is taxation. Liberals need ever increasing taxes to fund more Socialists programs." - conservative

"In the meantime, if some of your lib friends have their way, we can all just hug trees, give up our cars, destroy our industries, and hope that we haven't offended mother nature." - justobserving

When I hear mindless rhetoric and ridiculously shallow statements like that I just shake my head and wonder why even bother to try to speak logic with someone who thinks that way. If it were just a few loose nuts we might still stand a chance of overcoming the odds, but the problem is the entire right wing base is giving into such stupidity and unreason. We've become a nation of babbling idiots who worship at the altar of myth and make-believe and spit in the face of reason and common sense. Whatever greatness we once had or might have aspired to, it has long since been lost. I think this ship of fools is goin' down fast and we'll have nobody and nothing to blame for it but our own stupidity.

October 26, 2012 at 4:38 p.m.
Leaf said...

The chief use for money and economics is to simplify decisions. If you can monetize a thing, then you can just trust the spreadsheet to make your decisions for you based solely on comparing two numbers. I have an argument for accountants.

Fossil fuels will run out. That is an indisputable fact. In our childrens' lifetime burning oil will seem as outdated as steam engines do to us. We can invest in a dying market by continuing to subsidise oil companies. Or we can prepare for the future by investing in green technology.

October 26, 2012 at 4:43 p.m.
justobserving said...

DotP, your "logic" is what is delusional. You aren't asking anyone to err on the side of the planet. You are asking to destroy our industries for your delusional cause, not just create a "lag on our economy". Why are gas prices more than double what they were 4 years ago? It's not the price of oil. Oil is only up $2 a barrel when adjusted for inflation over the past 4 years. It's also not because big oil companies are making more in profit margin either (they average about 8%). Here's a hint: It's because of the lib policies and regulations that have been placed on the industry (i.e. your "economic lag"). You've done a great job for us there. Now you want to take this same approach to all the other industries in this country. All the while, China and India continue to belch out obnoxious amounts of carbon while our industries are dying because they can't compete with all the over regulation. But hey, you can feel good about yourself even though you haven't changed a thing when it comes to saving the planet.

October 26, 2012 at 4:52 p.m.
justobserving said...

Before you libs continue to blast away at us conservatives for our stupid, delusional, and illogical thoughts, let me leave you with this.

I'm all for a cleaner environment. I want my children to be able to live in a better environment than I have. I also want to see investment, and I mean real investment, in new renewable sources of energy. Think Manhattan Project or man on the moon type project for energy. However, I don't believe we should be doing that at the expense and destruction of what we have now. Invest, yes. Innovate, yes. Destroy and demonize, no.

October 26, 2012 at 5:04 p.m.
conservative said...

""Of the roughly 50,000 words spoken in this month's three presidential debates, none were 'climate change,' 'global warming' or 'greenhouse gas,'" The Associated Press reported."

Well now, who's fault was that? Moderators Candy Crowley, Jim Lehrer, and Bob Schieffer all profess belief in man made global warming. These Liberals could have asked the questions and given Obamination opportunities to scare Americans with gloom and doom. These flaming Liberals have run numerous stories ( an appropriate word here) on their TV programs insinuating, implying or stating that man is causing global warming with no fact checking or rebuttal.

In other words they had a controlled message, a message that could not be mocked, ridiculed, faulted, or exposed on national TV to viewers.

Just think of the damage to Obamination if Romney had used Obamination's own words against him such as "Under my plan of a cap and trade system, electricity rates would necessarily skyrocket."

How convenient of Mr. Cook to not note the failure of his mess media Liberal cohorts to address the lie of man made global warming at the debates.

October 26, 2012 at 6:07 p.m.
DotP said...

Again, what is boils down to is this..... If 97% of the world's scientists tell you that climate change is real, and it is important, and it will end badly, then it's probably something we should pay attention to. Calling it a lie doesn't make it a lie. And professing that thousands of people who are more learned than you on the subject are stupid, makes you a fool. An arrogant, ignorant fool.

You don't profess to know more about surgery than your doctor. You don't profess to know more about plumbing than your plumber, even. So why would you think you know more about climate change than a scientist? Just because you can't wrap your mind around it doesn't mean it's not real. Pure arrogance. And harmful to all.

October 26, 2012 at 7:42 p.m.
conservative said...

Then Mr. Cook introduces us to super kook and loon Bill McKibben who makes money writing scarier stories than The Headless Horseman on man's future if we don't stop man made global warming. Mr. Cook doesn't point us to McKibben's website but to a quote of his in Rolling Stone magazine. Rolling Stone magazine! What? Is Rolling Stone magazine now the scientific journal of the loony left?

October 27, 2012 at 8:02 a.m.
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