(August 14,2011)-Bloggers might do coincidence; journalists don’t.
We do irony, maybe even allegory. Sometimes we stray into ennui and pathos.
Coincidence, however, features facts that aren’t tied as tightly together as we like. My Oxford Desk Dictionary agrees. Coincidence, it explains, is “a remarkable occurrence of events or circumstances, apparently by chance.”
Does that mean, for example, it’s pure coincidence that Oklahoma recorded its hottest July ever and its senior U.S. senator, James Inhofe, is Congress’s most outspoken critic of global warming?
Probably, but I don’t know because I don’t do coincidence.
Maybe coincidence leans more on quantifiable events like, say, the same equities rating company, Standard & Poor’s, that gave its stamp of approval to Enron just days before that firm’s spectacular crash downgraded U.S. debt Friday, Aug. 5, or just three days before the world rushed to buy U.S. bonds.
On second thought, that’s irony because, well, I know irony and, helpfully, the journalists at the Wall Street said it was. “Investors [on Mon., Aug. 8] fled to the traditional refuges: gold, currencies… and, ironically, the very securities that Standard and Poor’s downgraded on Friday, U.S. Treasury Bonds.”
(February 4, 2011) - There was a time when one could legitimately argue that there was a lack of scientific agreement over the issue of the role of humans in global warming and even whether we were in a cooling or warming period. It is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the scientific evidence.
Scientists have long known that carbon dioxide traps heat. There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now than anytime in the last 800,000 years—that’s based on measurements of air bubbles trapped over the centuries in Arctic and Antarctic ice, not conjecture. The rise in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere coincides with the beginning of the industrial age and the widespread use of fossil fuels. And as our use of fossil fuels increases, so does the atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide.
In addition, research has shown that two additional compounds, methane and nitrous oxide also contribute to global warming. Both of these chemicals are more potent than carbon dioxide in retaining heat in the atmosphere. The amount of methane now in the atmosphere is 121 percent above its highest level prior to industrialization.
(July 5, 2009) - Once, during a friendly debate over global warming, I asked a well-informed acquaintance what the consequences were if he was wrong in his insistence that global warming was simply Al Gore's revenge for the 2000 presidential election.
"Well," he replied after a long pause to, I guess, stare 40 years into the future, "if I'm wrong my grandchildren will curse my name."
That introspective reply come to mind after the narrow, 219 to 212 U.S. House of Representative's vote June 26 to approve sweeping climate change legislation that, the New York Times noted, will "transform the way the nation produces and uses energy."
A funny thing happened on the way to that sausage-making, though: Big ag was big-time opposed to any climate legislation unless it got a piece of the pork pie during the transformation. The initial bill, pushed by Californian Henry Waxman, contained not one morsel for agriculture.
So House Ag Committee boss Collin Peterson marshaled farm and commodity groups to help him wring major concessions from Waxman and his sky-is-(ahem)-warming allies. In the end, most of ag's biggest wishes were granted and the Peterson amendment-with its rock solid aggie vote-became part of the Waxman package.
St. Paul (March 2, 2009) - Minnesota Farmers Union President Doug Peterson lead a discussion of how Minnesota Farmers Union can help farmers and landowners earn carbon credits for certain forestry practices at a "Forest Values & Carbon Markets Opportunities in Minnesota" conference sponsored by the Blandin Foundation. Cosponsors were the Society of American Foresters, the University of Minnesota, and the Minnesota Association of Consulting Foresters.
In his remarks to the 175 attendees, Farmers Union President Peterson explained that Farmers Union is an aggregator of carbon credits through the Chicago Climate Exchange. He said, "This is an opportunity for farmers and landowners to explore another revenue stream for their properties. It might not fit everyone, but everyone might want to explore it as an option."
Peterson said the Farmers Union Carbon Credit Program, in addition to forestry, covers certain tillage practices, seeding of long-term grasses, and other means of terrestrial carbon sequestration. Peterson added, "Farmers have always been good stewards of the land. The Carbon Credit Program is not only about monetary gain, it is also a demonstration by Minnesota farmers and landowners of how seriously we take our responsibility to be a part of the solution to global warming."