published Wednesday, July 10th, 2013

Climate debate needs to shift to innovation

Water pours over the spillway at Chickamauga Dam after recent rains have caused flooding, swelling the Tennessee River.
Water pours over the spillway at Chickamauga Dam after recent rains have caused flooding, swelling the Tennessee River.
Photo by Dan Henry.

How much record rainfall, heat, storms and atmospheric carbon readings do we need to know we should not accept status-quo climate policies and solutions?

Frankly, the continual and tiring debate about what came first, cyclical climate change or the industrial revolution's impact on it, doesn't matter. What does matter is how we react to changes happening in our here and now. Better yet, we should focus on the opportunities those changes present.

The western United States are burning up. Wildfires this year have scorched nearly 2 million acres and taken the lives of 19 firefighters. Coastal states in the East are still picking up the pieces and rebuilding more than year after Hurricane Sandy wreaked billions in damages. Atlanta on a daily basis needs 500 million gallons more water than it has.

In the meantime, it's July — the month when the Southeast in recent years has become accustomed to worrying about drought.

Not this year. Today if you floated a boat in the raging Tennessee River beneath the Market Street Bridge, you'd be floating 15 feet higher than normal. Since Jan. 1, Chattanooga alone has received at least a dozen inches more rainfall than normal.

Focusing on opportunities and solutions was what Franklin Delano Roosevelt did in the 1930s when he convinced Congress to create the Tennessee Valley Authority to deal with floods that swamped the Southeast, leaving a population with no power and plenty of mosquitoes.

If the Tennessee River and its tributaries could be tamed, Roosevelt and smart congressmen reasoned, opportunities for industry and jobs would explode. They were right. Look at where the region is today. We're the new mecca of living and working.

So consider the opportunities for a smart and sustainable future, with or without climate change as a manmade or cyclical event.

If we devise ways to use less power, we need to generate less power. If we don't have to build as many power plants, utilities have lower debt. That means power costs less for industries that provide jobs. That means they can provide more jobs.

And how about finding ways to store a rainy day?

On Tuesday, TVA was releasing excess water from days of rain at 19 of its 29 hydropower dams. At Chickamauga, TVA was releasing 1.4 million gallons per second. That's more than 120 Olympic-sized pools per minute.

If someone could figure out how to save just the flood stage runoff in Chickamauga excess releases, Atlanta's water problem could be improved. Think about that patent under the name of global warming possibilities.

It's time to stop debating who shot John over climate change.

Instead, let's get to the task of innovating.

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conservative said...

The inventors of global warming have switched to climate change since they no longer can sell that lie.

This MAN made climate change is not going to fair any better. I didn't read the fairy tale but if the writer followed the typical pattern then mankind was not specifically mentioned but implied, insinuated, or some such.

The scam is all about a carbon tax. People understandably don't want to be taxed so these Socialists have come up with this global warming/climate change hoax to lessen YOUR opposition to the taxation that will drive up YOUR electric bill.

July 10, 2013 at 6:42 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

The presumption is that man and his CO2 MUST be harming the planet. In the 70's they claimed global cooling was a consequence of CO2. When it started warming they said CO2 caused that. Now that it is no longer warming they want to blame every other weather event on CO2.

Do Climate Alarmists have any idea how ridiculous they look? Only a low information voter could fall for this stuff.

July 10, 2013 at 7:45 a.m.
BigRidgePatriot said...

The problem with the TN river this weekend was that TVA has been keeping lake levels too high in the face of a prolonged rainy season. Before the recent round of rain hit, Lake Chickamauga was about a foot higher than it was this time last year. They should have lowered it an extra foot instead of allowing it to get a foot high. Your government at work for you. Is there some Climate Alarmist at TVA trying to invent this situation so his buddies could declare the sky is falling?

July 10, 2013 at 7:49 a.m.
conservative said...

The looney left has had so many monsters.

da coold monstor is goin to git you!

da acide rain monstor is goin to git you!

da icebrrg monstor is goin to git you!

da nookler monstor is goin to get you!

da O sune monster is goin to git you!

da poplation monstor is goin to git you!

da heet monstor is goin to git you!

da Beg Oily monstor is goin to git you!

da koal monstor is goin to git you!

da Frackingstein monstor is goin to git you!

da goin through da climat change monstor is NOW goin to git you!

July 10, 2013 at 8:19 a.m.
stevedj_98 said...

Excellent thoughts, Pam.

Now for the quotes: "Do Climate Alarmists have any idea how ridiculous they look? Only a low information voter could fall for this stuff." "The looney left has had so many monsters".

Well I don't think I'm a "Climate Alarmist" but I don't like being called "ridiculous," a "low information voter," and a member of the "looney left" because I happen to agree with climate change or global warming, or whatever you want to call what is happening with weather and storms, worldwide. You can disagree with me and my fellow travelers, but please don't belittle us for our opinion. I guarantee my IQ is bigger than my shoe size.

Just for grins, you guys need to take another look at Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" from 2006, now seven years old. My, what ridicule and scorn he still receives. But just look how many of his laughed-at predictions have actually come true!

July 10, 2013 at 4:55 p.m.
nucanuck said...

I confess, I am among the so-called "low information climate alarmist" crowd. We are a big crowd, most of the earth's population, in fact. We know that accepting AGW as fact would cause consequences that would impact how we now behave and that many people will resist change even when that resistance is detrimental to long term life on earth.

We know some of those people can't be reached, but the world won't quit trying, because we can't accept that the most evolved species would march to it's own extinction.

July 10, 2013 at 7:41 p.m.
librul said...

Hey Conservative, you're forgetting the one truthful and inescapable version of your little pearls of ignorance ...

"Da Grim Reaper IS goin to git you."

July 11, 2013 at 10:34 a.m.
gjuster said...

Big Ridge - While facts dispute the warmist's contentions about climate change, that doesn't make them low information voters, nor is there any reason to impugn them. Every model for a warming earth has been wrong - the average temp of the planet has not warmed for over 15 years - is that meaningless? It would be if all the predictions that the AGW crowd weren't saying the exact opposite. As for Pam's suggestion that recent events are unprecedented, sorry, but you are wrong. Hurricane Sandy was a very moderate hurricane that met with weather fronts to produce the problem. You need to look at history. In the 50's three hurricanes hit the NYC area that were far larger and did more damage. Rain in TN has been worse, tornadoes have been more prevalent. These are historical facts - and that is why opinions like the author of this piece can not be taken seriously because they don't do their homework. As for being more energy efficient, I am all for it. Use all resources - today, fossil fuels make the most sense, at the same time technology will dictate new ways to produce energy. CO2 does not appear to be the problem, water vapor is actually a bigger factor involving the climate.

July 11, 2013 at 1:14 p.m.
conservative said...

Did you ever notice that the global warming kooks and the climate change kooks (they are the same bunch) NEVER say what they personally are doing to cause their made up fantasies?

July 11, 2013 at 1:31 p.m.
stevedj_98 said...

Conservative: As I've stated in previous comments, I personally have solar panels on my home in Chattanooga for most of my electricity needs--and yes, air conditioning and heating with a heat pump, so I'm not lacking any comfort. In addition, the sun charges up my Nissan LEAF 100% electric car, which I've had for two years now. Shine, baby, shine.

July 11, 2013 at 3:31 p.m.
conservative said...

And your point is?

July 11, 2013 at 3:48 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Gjuster, how noble of you to come to the rescue of us "warmists" and defend us against name calling. But I can assure you that we don't feel in any way offended and we especially don't need the platitudes of someone like you whose arrogance in your opinions is itself as laughably smug as anything the name callers are saying. Whatever sources you are getting your information from that gives you reason to deny anthropogenic global warming there is at least as much compelling science to support the theory of AGW. And the science that makes the case that climate change is indeed caused by greenhouse gas emissions emitted by humans comes from the ones who are most likely to know what they are talking about - actual climate scientists who have been involved in climate change research for years, even decades.

You readily dismiss their findings as if they're not even worth considering and you cling to the findings of deniers as if what they are saying is a done deal, end of discussion. And in many cases those "scientists" are nothing more than paid-off shills, conducting rigged research they know their corporate benefactors want to hear. If you, like many deniers, want to believe that AGW is nothing but a liberal hoax or a sham, with climate scientists being influenced by government funding, that is your prerogative; but you cannot deny the very real existence of propaganda flowing from the opposite corner.

You accuse the editor of not doing her homework but, whatever "homework" you've done it's obvious you've done it with blinders on that allow you to see only the science that supports your biased view. It's really funny to see you write with such certain knowledge on a subject that at the very least is worthy of healthy skepticism on both sides of the debate.

Regarding your last statement, that "CO2 does not appear to be the problem, water vapor is actually a bigger factor involving the climate": yes, and the earth is only 6000 years old if you really want to believe such bunk. Water vapor is only one of five greenhouse gases, along with CO2, methane, nitrous oxide, and ozone. Climate scientists have shown convincingly, from bubbles of air trapped in ice cores, that CO2 in the atmosphere has increased at least 43% in the last 150 years, going from 280 ppm pre-Industrial Revolution to 400 ppm today. And through spectroscopy, detailing the precise wave-lengths by which each component traps energy, they have shown that man-made CO2 - not methane, nor nitrous oxide, nor ozone, nor WATER VAPOR - is far and away the primary culprit that traps in energy and is causing our climate to undergo changes more extreme than what would be happening from natural climate cycles alone.

But then, I guess those climate scientists are just alarmists or propagandizing liars, or low-information researchers, eh? Whatever sources you're using for your "homework," please pass it on to them so they can be as enlightened as you and all the other deniers.

July 11, 2013 at 4:15 p.m.
conservative said...

I have often wondered how many of these poor global warming/climate change sheep could be taken to any beach and shown the sea level at low tide one day and then shown the same beach at high tide the following day if they would truly believe that the end was near.

July 11, 2013 at 4:25 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

Because we have a very cool day or days in July, or a particular winter in one part of the country or the world is much colder and more severe than usual, the deniers like to say, "Ha! What more proof do you need that the earth is not getting warmer?!" But AGW is not necessarily causing uniform global warming that manifests itself simply as hotter weather. Rather it is causing unusual, abnormal FLUCTUATIONS and those anomalies can take many forms. Likewise, the changes that are taking place cannot necessarily be seen by the naked eye, such as the ebb and flow of the tides. And especially not in the infinitesimally small time frame of 24 hours! Try again, con-man.

July 11, 2013 at 4:54 p.m.
conservative said...

We have recognized climate change for centuries and NONE of it has been caused by mankind. These periods have been named Summer, Fall, Winter and Spring. One can look it up.

July 11, 2013 at 7:28 p.m.
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