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Sound the alarm: The sky is failing

Community conversations

June 24, 2009 | 11:26 AM

A few years back, there were snickers when voices warned of global warming and the disastrous fallout. Not today. There now is enough hard-core scientific evidence that the climate is changing that we all are opening our ears to the alarms.

The recent unexpected floods and wind and ice storms offered an upclose, in-your-face experience. Who can forget scooping mud and mold out of homes and businesses? Or, how can we not remember the worry of frozen water pipes and the smell of spoiled food from shutdown refrigerators?

Every time I drive to the farm on S.R. 62, I see the cedars that used to stand tall in the limestone cliffs now bent down as if in actual defeat to the harsh elements. When the wind, rain and ice came with unprecedented power, we knew we would pay the price — and we have. But have we really seen the final bill yet?

Each community in Indiana has its own unique story of weather gone wild during the past few years. In fact, all over our globe, from the bottom of the seas to the highest clouds in the sky, scientists have tracked evidence of a horrendous turmoil.

Carbon dioxide is contributing to this rapid change in the atmosphere and scientists are warning that it must be reduced or summers here will be more like those in Oklahoma by the end of the century. Emissions from fossil fuels, power plants and vehicles are increasing the thermal blanket in our atmosphere and, consequently, trapping too much heat.

There is a bill in Congress that is aimed at reducing these dangerous emissions. It is scheduled for a vote before the end of this month. Recent changes in the legislation will protect Midwest electric consumers from rate shock, as in "How am I going to pay this bill?"

A lot is going on in Congress, with the economy so unstable, but none of what we do on that front will make any difference if we lose all of life in the process. Congressman Baron Hill is supporting this climate legislation. How about contacting Sens. Richard Lugar and Evan Bayh and encouraging them to get on board?

I recently spent time with people involved with The National Wildlife Federation, The Nature Conservancy and The National Trust for Historic Preservation. At first glance, it would appear that each of these groups have a different focus: The National Wildlife Federation, birds, animals, fish and the like; The Nature Conservancy, trees, land, rivers, etc.; and The National Trust for Historic Preservation, old buildings and the natural landscape. Instead, what I find is they are all talking about the same thing: the need to change how we live if we are to have sustainable and safe places to live. Sometimes this is spoken of as "the green movement." There are all kinds of ideas and programs aimed at keeping our planet alive.

A friend recently asked me if I thought nature was more dependent upon mankind, or if we are more dependent upon nature. Stop and think for a moment: Life would go on if man disappeared, wouldn't it? But would we humans be able to exist without acceptable water, soil, air and wildlife?

Uh-oh, our wild party is over. We better take notice, and we better take action.

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    Another "Believer"
    June 24, 2009 | 11:57 AM

    It is funny that people believe in a stasis of weather. Nothing is different now from forever except for the addition of a "scientific" religion based on computer model fairy tales.

    AGW Agnostic
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    June 24, 2009 | 01:42 PM

    People who think that Global Warming is fake, probably think that WWE wrestling is real.

    Ray Wilson
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    It is time
    June 24, 2009 | 04:41 PM

    This problem was first reported in 1953. It is time to do something about it. Any population has an impact on its environment when it reaches a capacity. Man is no different. The most expensive option is to do nothing.

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    June 24, 2009 | 06:26 PM

    Thank you Mrs. O'Bannon. You're right, though you'll undoubtedly be critcized by those who don't understand the scientific process -- which depends on peer review in legitimate scientific journals -- not op ed pages, the internet or magazines. Using that filter one quickly finds that there is little dispute that climate change is real and impacted by human activities. Yes, there are natural causes as well, but on balance, things would not be changing as rapidly as they are if the CO2 concentrations weren't at the highest level they've been in many hundred thousand years.

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    June 25, 2009 | 09:44 AM

    In an earlier edition of Mrs. O'Bannon's newspaper, the REMC was quoted as saying this plan was going to raise our electric bills by $50 a month.

    That might not seem like much to somebody that owns a newspaper, but it's sure a lot of money to me.

    Don't want my electric bill to go up!
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    June 25, 2009 | 03:25 PM

    Great analogy, Ray! I too hate to hear that some people still think the whole "global warming" idea is fake. If only they would open their eyes and look around.

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    June 25, 2009 | 04:16 PM

    The price increase quoted by the REMC was calculated before the changes made in the bill these past 6 weeks. The new electricity costs increase now will be about 27 cents a day beginning around 2012 or 2013. You do the math. Not nothing, but not breaking the bank. There are also some provisions for low and moderate income households.

    There are also provisions to prevent the problems for industries that have to compete with China -- there have been a lot of improvements in the past few weeks geared at making this affordable for consumers and businesses.

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    Jet Airplanes are a MAJOR CAUSE
    June 26, 2009 | 07:46 AM

    ever wonder how many jet airplane flights take place in this world each day?THOUSANDS !!, All burning precious fuel , hauling the rich , And the sweat factory goods from foreign countrys to the Walmart shelves , that AMERICANS used to build BETTER. All traveling through the jet Stream , and QUITE POSSIBLY disrupting weather patterns. Will anyone direct us to the REAL TRUTH ?

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    June 27, 2009 | 08:58 AM

    The world has been on a steady warming trend since the last ice age. Do you think that we had something to do with the ice receding from over half the globe in the last 10,000 yrs. In fact, we are only one good volcanic eruption from returning to another mini-ice age. 32 y4s ago our great scientist were predicting that we were heading into a mini-ice age because they were reacting to two straight yrs of heavy snowfalls and subfreezing temps that held on for months. Remember '76 through '78? It was so bad kids were out of school for weeks. They can't predict the weather from one day to the next. What makes you think they even have a clue what they are talking about now? We won't control the temps but we will control the purse strings of businesses and livelihoods of 98% of Americans. Wake up to the sham they are pounding into your heads!

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    Why carbon pollution?
    June 29, 2009 | 02:06 AM

    This article is a good read but I think all of us need to be careful not to mix the facts with theories. It is sometimes easy to listen to people and run with what they are saying, but it is most important to think objectively. I suggest people leave such theories of Global Warming to the scientists who know what they are looking for. With my suggestion in mind then I suggest we with until the science infact shows cabon is responsible and at this point in time the science just is not there. There are indicators that is is and as well are those that is isn't. I do believe we all should make every effort to protect the enviroment but just I just don't support taxing all of us for carbon is the right way to go. I honestly believe rewards work better that punitive actions. Any way I just don't think it is fair to say recent weather proves carbon is responsible.

    Ron B.
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    Cap & Trade? Is it Global warming or Climate Change?
    June 29, 2009 | 10:58 AM

    Did you realize that this cap and trade legislation that so importantly addresses the 'concerns' has provisions in the bill that require your home be inspected by a government official prior to you, the owner, being able to sell it. The home must meet certain 'environmentally friendly standards' before being approved for sale. Since it is so easy to sell homes these days, the government just wanted to add a little hoop for homeowners to jump through before cashing out all of the profit they have in their homes. And since there is so much profit to be made selling your home, you will need to make the appropriate changes to the home to make it meet the standards as set forth in the bill before closing can occur - say replacing all of the doors and windows, ac, water heater, electric unit, and on and on. Oh yeah, we, the taxpayers, must pay for this additional oversight.

    There were additionally, no representatives that read this bill prior to the vote in the house? Would you spend money you don't have on projects that have no proven track record without reading the prospectus or contract? Then why are we so hastily rushing to action?

    I don't disagree that we all need to be more environmentally friendly, but there is a better way. This bill will cost jobs and will make us less competitive to the nations of China and India - who do not and will not abide by Kyoto, and are the largest nations on the planet and will one day surpass the US in energy consumption - when competing in the ever more global economy, not to mention that many key scientist differ and plain disagree with the theories, and they are that, just theories. One key scientist in Japan referrred to global warming as the biggest scam of all time.

    And I ask, if this is such an important issue to the likes of Al Gore, then why is his carbon footprint so much larger the George W. Bushes? Their personal residences are on opposite ends of the environmentally friendly spectrum - opposite ends of what the media would have you believe.

    One writer above makes the correct statement, let's leave it to the scientists to debate, and not just those scientists with whom we agree!

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    the difference bet'n science and economics
    June 30, 2009 | 02:21 PM

    Yes, this is partly a matter of science and partly of economics. Re the science, this is determined by those working in this particular discipline who are publishing their results in peer reviewed scientific journals -- this is a refereed playing field, where facts are checked and fouls are called. Those saying climate change is not partly driven by human activity are not publishing their claims in these journals, only in non-peer reviewed books, magazines, op-eds or on the internet. They can not legitimately claim to refute the theory until or unless they argue in the refereed arena of the scientifc journals. They can't because their claims were refuted years ago. Unless they come up with something new, that they can support in the journals, the scientific debate is indeed over.

    Re the economics, the bill can be debated based on the economics. There are parts that are overly complex and intrusive. However, the fact is that cap and trade is the least cost means to deal with the problem. The approach has been applied successfully to phase out lead from gasoline, to lower emissions of ozone depleting chemicals and to lower emissions of SO2. It isn't all about causing folks to turn off lights, it is about creating the incentives for folks to develop the technologies that emit less -- there are plenty of analysis from MIT and others that show the costs to be minimal.

    Finally, what everyone is forgetting is that the Surpreme Court (this one w/Justice Roberts) ruled that CO2 is a pollutant. The EPA is therefore required by laws passed in the 1970s to deal with it. They will do so if there is no legislation by implementing over 300 regulations that will make this bill look like a bargain. It isn't a choice between this bill and nothing, it is between this bill and something very, very expensive. That is the sad truth.

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    June 30, 2009 | 05:58 PM

    I have not read this new bill. But based upon the past and present, in particular, I can guarantee there is a lot of bs and some good in this bill. But, as we are seeing with the O'Bama administration, bs depends on a little good. I wonder if Kevin has read the whole bill. I wonder how many politicians who voted and remain to vote on this bill have read, understand, and have had time to properly and accurately verify all the scientific data, cost affects (both present and future), and truthfulness of all aspects of this bill? I find it appalling that something so big and costly is being tossed around like a basketball from court to court. Where are those who are real and intelligent enough to take the time to look at the big picture as well as every detail before tossing around ideas, theories, and money that affect our children, our families, our way of life, and our well-being? Until the government proves that every detail in the cap and trade energy bill is necessary, no one should be voting on it. Not only have they not proven that everything in the bill (including hidden agendas) is necessary to ultimately sustain life on earth. But I can guarantee a large percent, if not all our government officials voting on this bill right now don't even understand half of it, much less know the effects, costs, and details of everything in it. Again, with the handling of this bill, the government (currently being run by Democrats) has proven to be careless, thoughtless, agenda-driven, and determined to ruin the future of our country, our children, and our life. The government is using their cry for the "plight of Earth" to take advantage of the American people. and we have are letting them succeed.

    I have no problems taking steps to help protect our Earth and the environment. No one loves nature and the beauty and powers of the Earth than I do. I have often times felt the healing powers of nature by simply surrounding myself by the beauty of a forest, waterfall and creek, fields, etc. I am not denying measures should be taken to help protect our Earth. However, just as with the hasty and pork-ridden "stimulus plan", I fear this cap and trade energy bill could do more harm than good in the short run as well as the long run. How could it not when all the failures of the government and those in charge of this country are hastily trying to pass it into law with no thought to exactly what they are doing? Without understanding everything in it?

    As Joe said, did man have something to do with the global warming trend that started thousands of years ago? Where was the industry, emissions, etc. that according to the ideas of global warming supporters caused the ice age to end? Could it be something else such a natural cycle our Earth is going through? Even if the global warming trend is caused by carbon emissions, etc., can we really stop it? Shouldn't there be more research, thought and examination done to determine the cheapest and most effective measures to take to clean our earth, if that is even possible?

    From religion to science and government, I will never understand the waste and havoc reaped by the haste of man and the waste of the human mind. If you are like me and want to take the time (no matter if a lifetime) to use the thinking skills God or our Almighty Being/Creator has given us to thoroughly examine theories and ideologies, you are labeled negatively. You are seen as sitting on the fence and at the same time sitting on the wrong side of the fence! You are a racist (because you are against an African American President). You don't care about our Earth. You are a dreamer. You are a pacifist. Some of our greatest and most important philosophers were labeled negatively, some even lost their lives because they took the time to give the brains God gave us to think things out before acting or believing something was the "truth".

    Tonya Bays
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    Good questions
    July 01, 2009 | 12:14 PM

    I try to avoid labeling anyone -- today's issues are complicated and folks are doing the best they can -- and we're all busy just trying to live. These days we also tend to be too disrespectful of one another which causes us to shut down and not listen to anyone except whoever agrees with us.

    From the previous post has excelent questions: "As Joe said, did man have something to do with the global warming trend that started thousands of years ago? Where was the industry, emissions, etc. that according to the ideas of global warming supporters caused the ice age to end? Could it be something else such a natural cycle our Earth is going through? Even if the global warming trend is caused by carbon emissions, etc., can we really stop it? Shouldn't there be more research, thought and examination done to determine the cheapest and most effective measures to take to clean our earth, if that is even possible?"

    The answer is that they have all been thoroughly studied and examined. But in looking for the answers, one has to use the filter of the referreed journals. Much of the stuff you read on the internet from those claiming these questions have not been answered does not survive scrutiny by those who've done the research that survives expert review. For a good start for the science and economics I'd recommend:

    It is important to know that when it comes to science, there is a long established process and arena where ideas are argued and tested. Those disputing the contribution of human activity on climate change are working (for the most part, not always) outside of this process. Until they work within the process, all they accomplish is to confuse people. They know the rules of the game in science -- they simply chose to ignore them. They are like a boxer who trash talks the current champ, but then refuses to get in the ring and fight face to face. They claim its a rigged fight, but whoever disproves this theory would be a hero -- the fight isn't fixed. Their refusal to play by the rules should make folks wonder why.

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    Everything is due to "global climate change."
    July 06, 2009 | 01:49 PM

    When I was a child, I remember hearing about a "coming ice age." Now it is global warming or 'climate change." It astounds me that people who cannot predict the weather more than an hour or two in advance have the unmitigated gall to presume they can can predict what will happen in a few years. The conclusion of the
    "global climate change" crowd is only as good as the information fed into the computers (which is what the whole theory is based upon.) If we have weather that is too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, it is blamed on global climate change and man. Do I think we shouldn't be concerned about pollution and the world we live in? Absolutely not! Do I think we should destroy our way of life based upon unproven, scientifically questionable data? No. With all due respect to Mrs. O'Bannon, crying that the sky is falling is alarmist and unfounded: Indiana will suffer from the policies our current president and congress support. Our nation will suffer. When you can no longer afford to pay your electric bill because of Mrs. O'Bannon and her parties "concern" for the environment, I hope you begin to look beyond the political hype and start to question the scientific data and conclusions with good old fashioned Hoosier common sense.

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