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Green or against us

green or against us

Posted: Thursday, Jun 05, 2008
Columbia Basin Herald, Editorial Board

“Either you’re green or you’re against us.”

We’ve never met anyone wanting to destroy their environment, exterminate complete species of animals, turn lush green forests into dead lands or waste energy for the joy of wasting energy.

But if someone doesn’t completely agree with one, several or all green theories, that person is often accused by environmentalists of seeking the destruction of our world via anti-green activities.

What the green movement is missing, is tolerance for the environmental moderates.
It is possible to be environmentally sensitive and not believe in one or two green theories. It is even possible to agree with moving in a direction toward a cleaner planet without agreeing with any or all green ideas.

It is. Really.

It’s no secret the editorial board of the Columbia Basin Herald is not a full-fledged supporter of the global warming movement. This is people seeking change based on the theory of how burning oil-based fuels and coal releases excess CO2 into the atmosphere, then acts like a greenhouse, increasing the global temperature.

We agree there is an increase in CO2. Yes, there was a slight increase in the average global temperature. And yes, we quickly agree there are many good reasons to end the use of oil-based fuels.

But (you knew it was coming) we do not agree on the need to incite panic that the world is ending or that the they have been scientifically connected beyond a “most likely” theory. Those are the words used in reports from the United Nations on global warming, the ones cited by extreme environmentalists … CO2 and greenhouse gasses “most likely” are the cause of global warming.

We can hear people getting ready to argue this and welcome civil debate. See our letters policy.

The Columbia Basin Herald took the step to help sponsor a visit by former Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore. A man who was at the start of the environmental movement and continues to speak about how we can reduce our demand for energy, increase the use of renewable energy and remains a proponent of solid scientific basis for environmental policy improvements.

“We don’t have scientific proof we are the cause of global warming,” Moore said. “If you do (have proof) please write it down on a piece of paper.”

Moore presented documented data showing amongst other things the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere increasing to 380 parts per million last year, an increase in Arctic ice by 30 percent in 2007, and global temperatures decreasing since 1998.

He showed documented levels of CO2 charted for the last billion years. The data showed the average global temperature swaying back and forth from 12 degrees Celsius (53.6 degrees Fahrenheit) during ice ages to 22 degrees Celsius (71.6 degrees Fahrenheit) in the greenhouse eras.

During the greenhouse eras, scientists discovered and have documented the CO2 levels in the atmosphere were 3,000 parts per million.

Since we have 2,620 parts per million to go, it seems like we have some time before we should panic.

While arctic ice decreased in size at it greatest rate recently, it also grew back by 30 percent more in 2007, according to Moore’s data.

“Average global temperature is dropping,” Moore said. “An average .75 degree Celsius lower is wiping out 100 years of global warming.”

But to agree with this data means accepting the danger of being called anti-green. You must vehemently hate the world, care less about pollution and embrace any activity which would damage our precious and fragile planet.

Not true.

Despite data indicating the opposite of the global warming theory, there are still very good reasons to end the use of oil-based fuels and coal.

Burning gas, diesel and coal continues to pollute beyond CO2. Combustion releases a slew of chemicals, none of which are good for people, plants or animals, such as carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, benzene, formaldehyde and polycyclic hydrocarbons.

Obtaining oil continues to lead to numerous international problems. Any review of the history of the Middle East or our past difficulties with countries from the region are factors in seeking a better alternative to oil.

Cost. Gas passed $4 a gallon this week in Moses Lake. Enough said on this reason.

Moore spoke at length of the need to move away from oil-based fuels and coal. He urged people to think about more geothermal heating systems to save energy, wind to supplement clean, renewable hydroelectric power generation and to rebuild nuclear plants.

Nuclear plants have improved in safety and efficiency. Not one person has been killed or injured from nuclear power in nearly 30 years at 339 plants operating worldwide. Even nuclear waste is no longer an issue as technology allows the re-use of radioactive materials to capture 90 percent of the stored energy.

There are many environmental ideas and theories worth examining. They were put forth by people intent on making the world a better place. There are also people willing to bend the truth and lie to extort support and funding from believers. They have already tainted the credibility of the environmental science being offered.

What is sad is the number of people bent on reducing the number of environmental moderates – the ones who might support some green ideas, change their lives based on a few and continue rejecting others. These would be “swing votes” in politics and both sides would work to convince them to support their groups.

Instead, we continue to see green extremists forcing people to pick a side in a “You’re either with us or against us” way.

Not really. We support many good, environmentally clean practices and look for ones to enhance our lives and our environment without sacrificing logic, common sense, traditions and culture. We need the science to be a law of science based on the data, rather than a theory based on things that are “most likely” true.

We are environmental moderates.

Attacking the credibility of the person delivering the information never truly sways people to thinking and living differently. Try the truth. Give us facts, not fear. The world will not end in 30 years or 2012. It survived more than one ice age and will do so again.

Tell us how we can live better. Be honest. Consider how much you want us to sacrifice versus what we would volunteer for a good cause.

We support the reduction and eventual replacement of oil-based fuels and coal. But please, stop the rhetoric and accept the fact we are going the same direction as the people wanting to end global warming.

“The environmental movement is a major obstacle to the realistic achievement of CO2 emissions reductions around the world,” Moore said.

We agree.

- Editorial board

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