Twin Passions?

climate change conceptWith a major industrialist that supports efforts to control climate change yet who also supports a hard right candidate what is an environmentalist to do? It appears that the one thing that people who want to reduce climate change can agree upon is that there are many technologies that they can’t agree upon.

I applaud all efforts to reduce the impacts or march of change…but I do want to point out to the Times that the use of the word “belief” is yet again wrongly placed in an article that relates to a scientific process.

Notwithstanding the politics of Mr. Sabin or whether I agree with these politics or not, the issue of climate change is one that he correctly supports with facts from reputable sources in many ways. Even if we don’t agree with all of the scholarly articles, what properly frightens people who make decisions based on facts are comments from people like Representative Foxx from North Carolina who does not accept that human activity can impact the climate and says this is so “Because I happen to believe that God is in charge.”

There is that word again…believe…

What ever happened to a country that has generated some of the best scientific minds in the world?

Read the full article:
Magnate’s Twin Goals: Fighting Climate Change and Electing Donald Trump
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.

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What is a Theory Anyway?

I know that the article is a bit dated for this post, but the topic is timely.

As a person trained in Science, I find it a bit maddening when I hear people throw out the words “It’s just a theory.” The statement on its face demonstrates an ignorance about science that undermines much of the debate about important issues such as climate change.

Let’s start with evolution…it is a scientific theory. or as noted in the article…

climate change theory“In science, the word theory isn’t applied lightly,” Kenneth R. Miller, a cell biologist at Brown University, said. “It doesn’t mean a hunch or a guess. A theory is a system of explanations that ties together a whole bunch of facts. It not only explains those facts, but predicts what you ought to find from other observations and experiments.”

There are many theories that have been demonstrated again and again and in many cases people were prosecuted and persecuted because the scientific theory did not support popular notions. Study Galileo or Pasteur or Curie…

So, when we speak about climate change, we have facts…climate change is happening.

And we have a theory…that humans are the primary cause of climate change. This theory is supported by a massive and growing body of scientific evidence.

I think that is what galls science deniers as it has galled science deniers since the beginning of time. If the facts don’t fit a belief…and notice my use of the word…then those that deny science simple say “it’s just a theory.” Of course, they don’t know what that means.

Read the full article:
In Science, It’s Never ‘Just a Theory’
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.

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Chlorofluorocarbons and Profit Motives for Change

A quote at the end of the article on industry’s influence on the phase out of HFC’s, is the most telling.

“More and more companies are looking further and further down the timeline to see what changes they can expect, and what they need to phase out of their products,” said Basket Tuncak.

chlorofluorocarbonsNotwithstanding the concerns about large companies dominating the production of new alternatives to HFC’s and the inherent risk associated with companies controlling the studies as to benefits associated with new chemicals, I view this as a positive step towards a more sustainable future.

Much more is needed. It is clear that giving major corporations a blank check on what chemicals are better than those already in use raises serious questions. It is equally clear that governments that provide direct financial assistance to their companies raise the same serious questions…

However, we have evolved from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) to hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and now we are moving to apparently better alternatives in our fight against continued climate change.

Good.

Read the full article:
How the Chemical Industry Joined the Fight Against Climate Change
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New Jersey is 24th out of 50 States on State Energy Efficiency. I mean really now…

energy efficiency report from american council for an energy efficient economy logoThe American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy just released its 2016 report on the energy efficiency efforts in the states. Compared to our neighbors in NY, PA and DE, we came in dead last. In fact, we scored worse than last year!

The report is rather self explanatory. New Jersey has no one in the Governor’s office that really cares about energy efficiency and as such, the policies of the state reflect this lack of concern. The result, wasted energy, increased pollution of all types and a state that is less resilient to the effects of storms and natural disasters.

The good news is that when I deal with clients on energy issues and show them the very positive impacts of energy efficiency, there is a strong interest in making such improvements. This is spite of the lack of leadership.

View the 2016 American Council Report on Energy Efficiency

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