50 years

Tractor spreads salt on Rachel Street, Montreal, 2 February 2015

The current situation

In case your Monday is just a bit too cheery, here is something to think about.

I am in Montreal, cherishing something that has become scarcer every decade: a day with wind-chills of -30°C, blasting snow crystals that sting the eyes, parents pulling their kids to school on little sleds, bundled up like blue burritos in their puffy snowsuits. Winter days like this were once routine across much of continental North America and Asia; today they are often newsworthy. (And the news is always full of people remarking about how this disproves climate change. Argh.)

This week is also an important anniversary. It’s been 50 years since the first US presidential address on the climate change consequences of excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

50 years!

I had no idea. (This is one more reason to subscribe to the daily “Above the Fold” e-mail from Environmental Health News. Good stuff in there.)

“Air pollution is no longer confined to isolated places,” said Johnson less than three weeks after his 1965 inauguration. “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through radioactive materials and a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.”


I like fossil fuels. We can burn rocks! We can turn underground gases into phones, chairs, keyboards, eyeglasses, false teeth, blue snow suits and nerf footballs. We are amazing. The problem, of course, is we do it too much. It’s a shame to see one species among millions changing the lived experience of every square centimeter of our planet. But hey. At least we are doing something useful with all that fuel.


1 thought on “50 years

  1. Erik

    Well thankfully the ever so popular President Obama has decided not to increase excise taxes on gasoline and diesel fuel.

    US excise taxes figure as the lowest among the rich OECD countries and in real terms have been steadily declining over the past few decades.

    The American cheap energy entitlement is alive and well.

    For a narcissistic, feel good option, progressives (sic) can always try to hold up the oilsands.

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