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Sunday, April 21, 2013

When 'head-on' isn't really

"City tackles climate change head-on" reads a recent article in the La Crosse, Wis., Tribune.  Sounds exciting, doesn't it?  But the story that follows is a letdown--enough so to inspire this brief blog post.

What La Crosse is doing:

- Hosting a climate change workshop "to build consensus about pragmatic adaptations authorities can make to changing weather."  I assume this involved some serious dissemination of information about climate change's impact, so that's a good thing.

- Adding more green spaces on the city's south side to handle the runoff from heavy rain events.

- And ... that's it.  Oh, perhaps not--the story makes a point of noting that La Crosse "made clear in its application that climate change a distinct challenge to [its] future."

And that seems to be the point of the headline: the city actually came right out and said, in effect, that it thinks climate change is real.

That too is a good thing, but in fact, "tackling climate change head-on" means, in the simplest of terms, reducing fossil fuel use.  Everything else is just papering over the problem.  In this instance (the extra green space), it's a little like giving someone with a broken arm aspirin, because his arm hurts.

Energy efficiency and non-fossil energy, as much as possible, as soon as possible, is what we need to do, or as Joe Romm puts it, "deployment, deployment, deployment" of technologies that reduce fossil fuel use.  As Mr. Romm puts it here

"The crucial climate strategy is aggressive deployment of every last bit of available low-carbon technology starting ASAP.  Anyone who isn’t in favor of that strategy understands neither climate science nor the current state of clean energy.  Sadly, that covers most of the traditional media and so-called intelligentsia."

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