Environment by the Numbers: 2,340, 4 and 0

Glancy Doug

By Doug Glancy, Erb MBA/MS Alum, class of 2007 and Senior Consultant at Carbon Trust.

This blog entry is is cross posted on the Michigan League of Conservation Voters site.

In a week when the nation witnessed past estimates of the Gulf oil disaster blown out of the water, I have been even more struck by three other numbers: 2,340, 4 and 0.

What is the first?  The number of times BP has changed its story?  The year we finally put this still evolving catastrophe behind us? Unfortunately, it’s more depressing than both of these guesses: It’s the number of climate change lobbyists registered on Capitol Hill (and to all of those who believe the “real money” is in continuning the “junk science,” more than 85% are registered to lobby against action).

What about 4? The number of hours the oil currently in the Gulf would meet U.S. oil demand? (Nope, it’s less than 2). The number of years Obama will remain in the White House due to the fallout from the disaster?  (Potentially, but not the correct answer).  It’s the number of months, so far this year, that are the warmest in recorded history.

Finally, what about 0? Well that’s obvious. That’s the number of times either global warming or climate change were mentioned during the president’s speech on Tuesday.

Now don’t get me wrong, the president isn’t in the pocket of the lobbyists on the Hill. Nor am I contending that he doesn’t care about addressing climate change.

That said, I’ve worked on climate and energy issues for nearly a decade, and there are two things I can say for sure: There has never been a larger gap between the science, the political will and the economic capability; and politicians have an unfortunate habit of exacerbating long-term pain when they try to ensure near-term benefit (like getting re-elected).

While I continue to hold out hope that the the Gulf tragedy will inspire our nation to make an investment in a new energy future as the attacks of 9/11 drove us to spend over $1.5 trillion on foreign wars, I can’t say I’m overly optimistic. I fear that if we continue our drug-like addiction to foreign oil and fossil fuels, we will continue to take out a second mortgage on our children’s home. I only hope we finally choose to act before it’s foreclosed upon.


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