The Norman Transcript

Columns

November 11, 2012

Sandy latest warning that climate change must be addressed

NORMAN — On Oct. 29, the Transcript’s lead editorial was from a Pennsylvania newspaper praising the U.S. for its oil boom that will make the U.S. surpass Saudi Arabia as the world’s largest oil producer. The very same day, Hurricane Sandy, popularly termed “Frankenstorm,” swept up the Eastern seaboard, hitting Pennsylvania hard and killing more than 100 people, potentially costing as much as $50 billion.

Unfortunately, Sandy is not the first and won’t be the last extreme weather event to be linked to climate change. And while it is good to achieve energy independence, boosting oil production will not help us avoid the consequences of climate change, which may produce global instability far worse than that caused by dependence on the Middle East for oil.

In fact, it would be better for us in the long run to leave our oil in the ground and develop alternative sources of energy that don’t produce greenhouse gases, those which raise the temperature of the climate’s atmosphere. Yet most people around here can’t imagine the shift to a new energy system.

Norman citizens, like most people in our country, can’t imagine doing anything but doing more of what we are already doing, even if it does have severe consequences down the road that their children will have to suffer.

Not only conservatives talk about the evil of having the government pick the winners and losers in economic battles, yet this has already happened in energy. The figure $4 billion is the most conservative number given for subsidies from taxpayers provided to the oil and gas industry every year.

Sen. Tom Coburn needs to get on this in his anti-government waste campaign. We need to begin by realizing the dire consequences of atmospheric warming and trying to imagine a future in which we use much less petroleum.

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