Monday, February 22, 2010

asian carp invasion and greenhouse gas regulation

i finally got around to finding out who my representative in congress is, and what district i live in and whatnot and i noticed that one of David Camp's achievements is a bill to stop the invasion of asian carp, which as we all know is a horrible invasive species that obliterates native fish populations and leaps out of the water dangerously when approached creating a spectacular show.

The thought occurred to me that perhaps there are comparisons to be made with the climate change situation. Obviously, the forecasting appears to be a little more concrete in the case of the asian carp. One could argue that the case of the asian carp is not as large scale as the climate issue (though species migration/transportation/relocation is a global phenomenon involving many different species of life all over the world). Its easy to see the change happening with asian carp, you can see the fish...leaping out of the water. of course, with climate change all we have is rampant speculation and guesswork. well, the models predicted more severe weather, not necessarily warmer...ahem...then again, its easy to see melting glaciers and retreating polar ice caps...its easy to see hurricane katrina and snowmageddon.

What about the risks? Whats at stake with the asian carp? fisheries, water quality, ecosystem biodiversity on a local and fairly immediate level. whats at stake with climate change/legislation and reducing fossil fuel consumption? habitability of the planet for us and most of the other species.

The naysayers say its a bunch of hogwash and are gambling the future that massive combustion of fossil fuels which formed over millions of years in a mere few decades time won't have a detrimental effect on the climate/health of the planet. And I suppose the take home message is burn more fossil fuels. dig more up and burn it up, its good for the conomy and creates jobs (not to mention astronomical profits for the ever dwindling number of oil mega corporations).

well, i suppose thats true, but is that really looking long term, do we really envision a world where coal is continuously dug up, mountain tops removed, and burned and spewed into the atmosphere? Does anyone still think that another huge reserve of oil will be discovered and the price of oil will stabilize at record lows bringing three decades of $1 a gallon gas (as opposed to the current upward climbing roller coaster oil market and all the associated war and terrorism that comes with it)? so we don't need to regulate carbon emissions?

If we don't do anything about the carp, its evident that they'll move on in and do their thing. If we don't do anything about the carbon emissions well, i suppose the industrialized world will have postponed the inevitable transition away from fossil fuels by a few decades, the atmosphere will have even more carbon in it (maybe peaking at 2-3x 2010 levels?10x?) and the coal and oil company executives will have their profits, whether the planet will be inhabitable is up in the air however. whether the abrupt dislocations in dwindling oil supply actually contribute to famine remains up in the air. green jobs which could have been created with oil profits won't ever have been created but by that time all the money will have been spent. more people will have asthma and poor air quality...great...

The case of the asian carp is pretty clear. If you just think about it a little, the case of climate chemistry regulation is pretty clear too. Climate legislation to reduce greenhouse gases is the door to the 21st century of our destiny. and we shouldn't let a few more years of the status quo deny us the world we want to live in much less, put us all in peril.

So I think its good that Representative Camp acted so boldly on the asian carp issue and I hope he'll show the same bold leadership with greenhouse gas legislation. Not holding my breath though...

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