Sunday, January 23, 2022

Former Senator Bill Frist warns of the dangers of climate change but wimps out on the solutions.

Bill Frist
by Rod Williams, Jan. 19, 2021 - Former U.S. Tennessee Senator and medical doctor, Bill Frist wrote an editorial appearing in The Hill today titled, Your health (and you thought climate change was not about you)

On the one hand, I am pleased.  For way too long sensible Republicans who actually knew better allowed themselves to be silenced and intimidated by the Republican base and loud-mouthed radio pundits leading that base who poo-pooed the idea of climate change. Vocal climate change skeptics kept Republicans from taking a seat at the table trying to solve the problem of climate change and the only advocates of climate action were liberals who wasted untold buildings of dollars on programs that were ineffective or only made a marginal impact, and advanced programs that actually made climate change worse. So, I am pleased to see any Republican step forward and say climate change is real and needs to be taken seriously.

Frist says we are seeing the effects of climate change on peoples’ health already, from increased cases of asthma in children to more heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and vector-borne diseases like malaria. He says if you’re not seeing these repercussions in your community now, chances are you will soon.  

Frist says that viewing climate change through the prism of health, there are five facts to consider and he discusses each. The factors he addresses or these:
  1. Extreme temperature events will be more common. 
  2. Water systems will be contaminated. 
  3. There will be a decrease in the available food supply. 
  4. Certain deadly diseases will become more common. 
  5. Mental and emotional health will be impacted. 
This is all good. I applaud him.  Then however he wimps out.  This is what he says we need to do:

For 2022, consider becoming more active in your community’s environmental organizations, weigh in with your elected officials, reduce purchases of single use plastics and buy more sustainably sourced products. Consider focusing personal investments only in companies that are environmentally minded or make net-zero emissions commitments and make small changes at home like reducing energy consumption or reducing red meat in your diet.

That is more feel-good nonsense. We are not going to solve climate change by switching from plastic straws to soggy paper straws. Plastic is way down the list of things contributing to climate change. It may make you feel good to invest in green companies, but enough people will not do it to make a difference. Anyway, a lot of those "green" companies are simply greenwashing.  We cannot win the war on climate change by hugging a tree and imploring people to do the right thing.

The world continues to warm.  We need a new approach.  We need to abandon the Paris Accords which have been an abject failure.  We need a price on carbon with carbon border adjustments and we need to embrace nuclear energy.  Those are the most important things that need to happen and there are more.  Frist offers no serious proposals.

After addressing the issue, I wish Bill Frist would have advocated bold, meaningful solutions. 

For more of my post on climate change follow this link

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