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Climate Change: Is There Anything It Can't Do?

So I'm back from Germany, having spent a useful week touring alternative energy projects (including the fusion reactor project of the Max Planck Institute, still decades away from working as hoped), and talking with various German officials and unofficials about climate and energy policy. Everyone is Obama-crazy in Germany, naturally; every shopkeeper, beer-hoister, and pretzel-monger wanted to give a shout out to the New Messiah.

Had one good meeting with a provincial environment minister--a very impressive young lady who should go far in German national politics if she wants to, in the CDU (the right-leaning party, such as it is there). After having my fill of nothing but climate issues, I decided to ask, since her department dealt with the environment as a whole and not just climate, what other environmental issues in Germany she thought were important.

"Well, we are doing a lot of work on flooding--flooding brought on by climate change." So you really can't change the subject after all.

Me: "What else? Forests? Toxic waste? Traditional air pollution?"

The minister: "Noise pollution. About 50 percent of our citizens say they are concerned about noise pollution." (And the other 50 percent are presumably listening to their iPods?--Ed. That's exactly what I said.)

Seems to me that when a rich country is worried about noise pollution, their major environmental problems are solved.

Categories > Environment

Discussions - 7 Comments

Well, I think your anecdote explains exactly why this state environmental minister may do well in the ranks of the right-leaning party. When one asks about other environmental issues that are of importance (currently) she can just skip over obvious issues like this and just respond with "noise pollution." - with a straight face? Well played. From the 1st link:

"The Asse-II mine was closed in 1964 and converted to an 'experimental' nuclear facility in 1967. Now it officially holds up to 130,000 metal drums of low- and mid-level radioactive waste. But the report said highly radioactive plutonium had also been dumped in the mine, along with a number of nuclear fuel rods. Radioactivity readings there are at eight times the 'safe' level, some barrels have tipped over and rusted through, and the worry is that saltwater leaking from the mine is not just radioactive but might contaminate public water supplies. The mine has been known to leak brine since 1988. Some experts fear it may collapse altogether by 2014." Bah! Experts, schmexperts!

Regardless of her political leanings, one would think this might be on her radar screen, as Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel - presumably her boss, at least in some sense - has been hammering on it for some time. But perhaps she's in a more advanced phase of climate change denialism, those who actually accept it to use the doomsday urgency of the issue to promote resuscitation of the nuclear industry?

When that get that one wrapped up they can move on to light pollution, of course.

Climate Change: its mystery is only exceeded by its power. How did we go from global warming to climate change and still have the intensity around this ratchet up. Climate Change is Millenialism for the godless. I agree that the nuclear waste is a more pressing issue, but the governmnet is probably wanting it to contaminate the water supply, then they can blame it on someone as a deliberate act. Or it means more money for the cancer industry. Explain to me how "climate change" is now bad? How do we know man is causing it considering it has happended throughout history? How can we dismiss the graphs that indicate climate change is a function of sun spot activity and not carbon emissions? Finally, with so much skepticism around this issue in unorganized pockets why are conservatives going along with it? Is this all not just an attempt to push cap and trade further, have a global carbon tax, and also have another source of fear to keep the public too scared to question authority?

Julie, I thought you'd mentioned here before that you live in a suburban area of California. If so (or if you're in the country, but somewhat CLOSE to a city), then maybe you've noticed that it's all but impossible to see most stars or celestial bodies at night? They're convenient for wishing and praying or simply contemplating; secular folks and religious folks can often agree on the wonders of the night sky. Or maybe, unfortunately, you've pigeonholed this issue into something only the stupid liberals care about?

While I might be reluctant to categorize it as "pollution" in the common sense of that term, or prioritize it up there with global warming or nuclear waste, it's probably silly to get bogged down in the semantics of it, when the problem is (for those who care to see the night sky) so easily remedied. Even the densely-populated Czech Republic is...ahem...light years ahead of the States on this.

I'm on a campaign against stupidity pollution.

"There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact."--Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

We must have clean and efficient stupidy. That sounds like a new motto for our country.

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