The Environmental Spectator

The Environmental Spectator

Naughty and Nice

By 1.5.15

Inserting a bit of progressive politics into the holidays, the New Yorker magazine ended 2014 with an issue that included “Climate-Change Christmas Carols.”

Here’s an example (more depressing, I thought, than inspired, pointing toward mass starvation): “Oh, the weather outside is frightful, the heat wave brutal and spiteful. Our crops have no water to grow – let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

Another, even more gloomy, sounds more like North Korea than the United States in terms of resource scarcity: “Frosty the snowman, may he rest in peace, poor soul. With his melted nose and his melted mouth, and two eyes made out of coal. Frosty the snowman, did you say his eyes were coal? Can you pass that coal? We could use some coal. Let us rob his grave for coal.”

Jesus gets a small mention in this next one, a plea for precipitation to help with the calamity of rising and falling temperatures and deficiencies in rainfall: “Looks like the heat wave ain’t stoppin’, our dust-storm coughs are a-whoppin’. All fish went extinct long ago — for the love of sweet Christ, let it snow.”

The Environmental Spectator

The Missing Hurricanes

By 12.8.14

As the telephone rang, the screen said it was Henny-Penny calling. I hadn’t heard from her since she resigned as Founder and Recording Secretary of The Holy Order of the Sky is Falling and became a global warming skeptic. 

Me: “What’s new?”

H-P: “Hurricanes.”

Me: “But we don’t have hurricanes in California.”

H-P: “I’m talking about the big picture. An official report has just been released. Not one hurricane has made landfall in Florida for nine consecutive years. That’s a modern record.”

Me: “Good news, alright, but bad for Al Gore the erstwhile Pontiff of the Holy Order of the Sky is Falling. It was about nine years ago he predicted a series of hurricanes that would devastate Florida and the East Coast. He said it would all be due to global warming caused by greedy humans enjoying a good standard of living by using electricity and driving SUVs.”

The Environmental Spectator

Global Warming’s Rough Patch

By 11.19.14

With much media fanfare, Silicon Valley billionaire Tom Steyer set out earlier this year to put an end to global warming skepticism through campaign contributions to favored candidates. Estimates of what he and his PAC spent range from $57 million to $74 million. What did he get for the money? Zip. A Republican majority in the Senate, an enlarged one in the House, and more Republican governors and state legislatures than before. There will be quite a few global warming skeptics among them.

He must have been paying too much attention to some pre-election academic polls and little to what voters were saying about 2014 priorities. He and fellow Democrats were cheered by two polls that measured perceptions. One, by Stanford University last year, had 73 percent of respondents saying they believed that global warming had been taking place over the last 100 years. And, 81 percent said they think it poses a serious problem for the U.S.

The Environmental Spectator

Frying Birds in Midair

By 8.25.14

At the most modern solar power plant in the world, researchers are now saying the magnified sun rays are setting birds on fire in midair — by the thousands. They call them “streamers,” because of the smoke plume that is quite visible as they ignite and plummet to earth. Stories of the scorched birds were so widespread that alert investigators from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decided to visit the plant — built by BrightSource Energy near the California/Nevada border. The Feds watched in horror as they saw an average of one “streamer” every two minutes.

Coincidentally, the company is asking California regulators to approve an even larger version of the solar plant, and the Feds are — predictably — urging the state to halt the application until more Feds can conduct more studies.

The Environmental Spectator

Don’t Say Goodbye to Redheads Yet

By 7.10.14

As everyone knows, the easiest way for a scientist to get his or her name in the paper these days is to make a prediction about global warming. Miami will be underwater, millions will die of starvation, giraffes will be roaming Nebraska — you name it, someone will print it. After all, how could President Obama be fulfilling the longtime dream of environmentalists of closing down the American economy and taking us back to a simpler time if we weren’t constantly imbued with the sense that we are living in the Last of Days and World Apocalypse is upon us?

Last week, however, this whole circus finally jumped the shark, at least by my reckoning, with the prediction of a Scottish scientist that global warming is going to drive redheads extinct.