Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More Bachmann and global warming

From mnpACT!

Note to Bachmann & Co.: Global Warming is Real
Posted: Tuesday, 12 December 2006 15:15
By Christopher Truscott

National political figures like Minnesota's Michele Bachmann are still cool to the idea of global warming (pun intended), but the "market forces" the hard-right generally worship continue to tell us global warming is real.

Allstate Corp., a major provider of home and automobile insurance, announced last week it won't issue new homeowner policies in Delaware, New Jersey and Connecticut because of the increased hurricane risk due to global warming raising the temperature of the Atlantic Ocean.

We're not talking about typical warm-weather southern states like Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida, which have always made insurance carriers justifiably fearful of monster storms. It snows in the Mid-Atlantic and New England, yet they're now on the global warming watch list.

Global warming is caused in large part by the burning of fossil fuels like oil. The United States has just 5 percent of the globe's population, but is the leading emitter of greenhouse gases.

Even though we disproportionately contribute to global warming, the U.S. is one of the only developed countries in the world that hasn't ratified the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (exciting name!). The anti-global warming fringe believes it gives unfair advantages to countries that don't contribute as much pollution to the air we breathe. Duh! Isn't that the point?

While the crazies, like Bachmann, tout the market as the savior for 47 million Americans without health insurance, they still have their heads lodged in a quickly melting glacier when it comes to the catastrophic threat climate change poses.

"I don't think that it has been established yet as a fact that global warming is the issue of the day and one thing we need to do is look at the science," Bachmann said in a debate with DFLer Patty Wetterling and Independence Party candidate John Binkowski this fall.

She wasn't kidding. Sounds like a quote from Comedy Central's "Colbert Report," but it's real. Straight from the mouth of a major political figure in the 21 st century.

There's more. While the insurance industry and other large segments of the business community have come to believe global warming is real and dangerous, the outgoing chairman of the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works has called it a "hoax."

"The evidence is overwhelmingly in favor of those who don't see global warming posing grave harm to the planet and who don't think human beings have significant influence on the climate system," Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican, said in 2003.

Inhofe is still at it. Just last month he told Fox News climate change could be the result of divine intervention. "God's still up there," he said.

Allstate's decision to leave the market in three more coastal states should renew the debate on the effects of global warming and expose as fraudulent the rhetoric espoused by legislators like Bachmann and Inhofe.

While climate change has already caused damage (New Orleans, for instance), it's not too late to make serious changes. Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, or at least broadly accepting its principles, is a good place to start.

While it would require U.S. government and industry to dramatically overhaul the way they do business, a simple cost-benefit analysis dictates that it's better to accept the Kyoto Protocol now rather than waiting for New York to join Atlantis as part of the ocean floor.

Christopher Truscott can be reached at Like Sen. Inhofe, he believes Jesus would shun mass transit whenever possible and drive a Hummer.

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