Climate Change

Rich Galen
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Posted: Dec 14, 2015 12:01 AM
Climate Change

I am sitting in my den on Sunday afternoon in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia where the temps hit a high of 71 earlier today.

According to the Washington Post's weather team:

Just before 3 p.m. [Sunday], the temperature sensor at Reagan National Airport registered 71 degrees, tying the record from 1889 (set at 24th and M St., the previous weather station for the District).

Dulles Airport surged to 73 degrees at 2 p.m., breaking the record of 71 from 1984, while BWI hit 72 degrees, passing the record of 69 from 1889 (at a different location).

This, on the heels of what the New York Times trumpeted atop its front page: "Nations Approve Landmark Climate Accord in Paris" and the Washington Post blared: "Historic pact to curb emissions is approved."

A few years ago the Washington Post dropped the tradition of capitalizing important words in headlines. I don't remember why.

President Barack Obama has staked his legacy on getting some kind of global agreement on climate change.

He got it, but the question is: Does anyone care?

I am not a climate denier. I am a climate agnostic. If the Earth is warming, long-term, I can see where that might be of some concern to low lying land masses as the oceans rise. Low lying land masses like Miami, Florida or the Starbucks in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia.

I have little interest in whether the Earth is warming because of greenhouse gasses or gaseous cows, or anything else.

The real discussion should be: Is it better to put more junk in the atmosphere or less? And, if less, who is going to pay for it?

Like most things that have political overtones, how you ask the question has a lot to do with the result you get.

For instance, the Pew organization asked thousands of people if climate change were of "great concern." 59 percent of respondents in Africa were greatly concerned, while the question came in at 61 percent Latin America.

In the Middle East only 35 percent thought climate change was of great concern but that might be because if your average temperature is 104, having it go to 106 may not be all that big a deal.

Europeans and Americans scored the issue at 42 percent which Pew rated as "relatively few."

According to a Gallup poll taken in November (but before San Bernardino), a question: "What to you think is the most important problem facing this country today?" drew 39 percent saying economic issues.

"Climate Change" was not even listed among the 25 non-economic issues that were mention by one percent or more of respondents.

The current global average temperature, according to the Climate.gov website, is "shy of 60° F.

About 55 million years ago - just after the age of the Dinosaurs - the era known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) saw average global temps as high as 73° F."

As humans only showed up about 100,000 years ago, I can say with great confidence: THE PETM WAS NOT MY FAULT!

I understand that climate change, or global warming, is a significant issue that should be addressed. But, as I said above, someone is going to have to get out their pocket calculator and tell us how much it will cost to fully address it, and what it will cost to continue on our current path.

Meanwhile how many enjoyed, however guiltily, the beautiful mid-December weekend in the Eastern half of the country?

I may or may not be able to report on the Republican Debate to be held on Tuesday evening.

Why?

I will be in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Why?

I need the miles.

You see, I am a Diamond Medallion flyer on Delta, the highest published level. About six weeks ago I calculated I would need about 15,000 miles byDecember 31 to reach the required 125,000 miles for 2016.

I wasn't going to make it. So, I looked for the longest route Delta flies and found Atlanta - Johanneburg at a listed 8,439 miles - the round trip will add almost 17,000 qualifying miles to my account, so I am leaving Mondayafternoon.

I get into South Africa on Tuesday afternoon, spend a day on the ground, then fly back Thursday. If all the connections work, I'll be strolling into my office in downtown Our Nation's Capital by about 11 AM on Friday.

I have flown since that calculation, so I only need about 7,500 miles now. But, before you ask, the Mullings Director of Standards & Practices already did. Why don't I fly to Amsterdam, or Paris and back?

This will make a better story.

Lad Link: Reed takes a terrific and entertaining advance look at Tuesday's debate. You can read it HERE.

On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Lots of links today. A summary of the climate pact from the AP, both the Pew and Gallup issue polls and, to a discussion of the PETM.

Also a disturbing Mullfoto of the duct tape shelf at my local hardware store.