The Climate Crisis & The Inverted Pyramid

As extreme weather events caused by the climate crisis become more prevalent, reporters should make the cause-effect connections in their ledes or second paragraphs, not at THE END.

Reporters Can and Should Restructure Their Stories About Climate-Change-Related Severe Weather Events

About a month’s worth of rain fell on Washington, D.C. in one hour.

The torrent resulted “…in one of (the city’s) worst flooding events in years,” according to the Washington Post.

“The sheets of rain, with nowhere to run off, turned major roads into rivers while streams and creeks shot up 10 feet in less than an hour. The rushing water stranded scores of people in their vehicles, poured into businesses and the Metro systemsubmerged cars in parking lotsswamped basements and caused some roads to cave in, forming massive sinkholes,” the reporters wrote.

Climate change wasn’t mentioned until much later in the story, despite the proven connection between climate change and extreme weather events like this one.

Three days later, Bobby Magill, a national reporter for Bloomberg Environment, used their reporting as an example of stories mentioning climate change in the context of unprecedented weather events, suggesting reporters are already making the connection for readers.

Magill was on Climate Cast on Minnesota Public Radio. He was arguing that reporters shouldn’t be making decisions about whether a weather event is related to the climate crisis.

Just one problem –

Journalists make decisions about their stories every time they piece one together.

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The New Leaders on Climate Change

The next generation has been waiting, watching, listening… and getting frustrated about the lack of action on climate change by governments around the world. Now they’re taking the lead.

More Kudos to the Kids

Tomorrow is a big day for the planet.

The kids are stepping out and speaking out once again. They’re demanding action on global warming and climate change. They’re sick and tired of waiting around for my generation and the one before it to do all the things that should’ve long since been done.

Before today, they’ve filed a lawsuit against the government of the United State of America. They’ve walked out of school to protest inaction by governments around the world. And tomorrow, March 15, they’re walking out again, but in a more organized fashion.

This time it’s being billed by some as a “coming out party” for the international Youth Climate Strike, a movement that started with a 15-year-old girl who’s had enough.

I’ve written about the lawsuit before, giving the kids behind it a shout-out. Today, once again, I say…

Kudos to the Kids!

The youth of the United States and the world have been gathering steam for several years now, beginning even before 21 of them filed suit against the U.S. government for not acting on what it knew about global warming and its effects.

That was in 2015.

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North Dakota Legislature Should Pass Net Metering Bill

A Senate committee is expected to issue a “do not pass” recommendation on a net metering bill introduced by Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, D-44. The full Legislature should pass it, anyway. It’s the right thing to do.

SB 2322 Will Provide Universal Benefits

The N.D. Senate Industry, Business and Labor Committee is expected to issue a “do not pass” recommendation on a bill that would benefit farmers, ranchers, businesses, workers and homeowners. More importantly, it would limit negative impacts to the environment.

The committee heard testimony from environmental advocates, utilities and others on Tuesday, February 5, on Senate Bill 2322, which is related to net metering of electricity.

The purposes of the bill, introduced by Sen. Merrill Piepkorn, D-44, are to make it economical for utility customers to install expensive renewable energy generation equipment and provide more equitable reimbursement for customer-generated electricity by utilities across the state.

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Another Take on EV “Road-Use Fee” Bill, SB 2061

Brad Magnuson, chair of the N.D. Dem-NPL Renewable Energy Caucus, says so-called “road-use fees” aimed at EVs and hybrids are punitive & unfair. A bill that would impose one is currently in the N.D. Legislature.

IV Words Guest Post – Brad Magnuson

Today the North Dakota Senate voted on a second reading of SB 2061, “A BILL for an Act to create and enact a new section to chapter 39-04 of the North Dakota Century Code, relating to a road use fee for electric and hybrid vehicles; and to provide for a legislative management study.”

The bill passed the Senate with a seven-vote margin and now goes to the House.

If it becomes law, SB 2061 will impose a $110 annual “road-use fee” on electric vehicles (EVs) and $50 for hybrids. That’s an improvement from the version of the bill IV Words featured a couple of weeks ago, “Backwards Bill Would Deter People from Purchasing Electric Vehicles.” That bill would have imposed a $248 fee for EVs and $71 for hybrids.”

Brad Magnuson, chair of the N.D. Dem-NPL Renewable Energy Caucus, offers his take on “a bad bill,” even in its current form.

Continue reading “Another Take on EV “Road-Use Fee” Bill, SB 2061″

Backwards Bill Would Deter People From Purchasing Electric Vehicles

The North Dakota Legislature wants to deter people from purchasing electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrids. It’s a bad idea.

Let’s Call These Proposed “Road-Use Fees” What They Really Are

They’ve got it backwards.

Six North Dakota legislators have introduced a bill that, if it becomes law, will rebuke North Dakotans who want to purchase more fuel-efficient vehicles. SB 2061 would impose an annual electric vehicle (EV) “road-use fee” of $248 per year and $71 for hybrids.

Image of ND Senate Bill 2061, 2019, which would impose impose a $248/year "road-use fee" on electric vehicles

Bill supporters say it’s about fairness.

Gas taxes pay for construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, they say. Since EV owners do not buy gas, they should pay some other way. Otherwise, funding for transportation infrastructure takes a hit.

The state gas tax is $0.23 cents/gallon. The average American vehicle consumes 500 gallons of fuel per year. Given that, the typical North Dakota vehicle owner pays $115 in state gas tax annually. However, bill backers also want to collect the federal share of 18.4 cents, which brings the yearly gas tax to $207. That’s $41 less than the EV tax being proposed.

Since when does the state impose what amounts to a federal tax? And why the discrepancy?

The suggestion of a significant loss to state coffers is also a stretch.

A Drive Electric Minnesota analysis comparing gas and EVs “… found that the total amount paid by EV owners through the MVST (motor vehicle sales tax) and annual registration fees more than makes up for any loss of government revenue from the lack of gasoline fill-ups.”

Any funding reduction is miniscule, anyway; very few North Dakotans own EVs or hybrids. Rather than putting a dent in the need for infrastructure funding, these taxes would glance off without so much as a scratch.

So let’s call these proposed fees what they really are – taxes discouraging people from purchasing EVs and hybrids and penalizing anyone who already owns one.

North Dakota lawmakers are following counterparts in other states in introducing EV tax bills, which are supported by the right-wing nonprofit American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). According to ProPublica, ALEC brings together “state legislators and corporate representatives to produce business-friendly ‘model’ legislation.” In November, ALEC adopted a resolution calling for “equal tax treatment for all vehicles.”

Now there’s a tidy euphemism for “deterring expansion of EV adoption and sales.”

ALEC allies are attacking EVs in other ways, too. According to Huffington Post, a group “…with fossil fuel backing hopes to spend about $10 million dollars per year to boost petroleum-based transportation fuels and attack government subsidies for electric vehicles.”

They’re doing this at absolutely the worst time for erecting roadblocks to reducing carbon emissions.

Reports by national and international scientists, including a group in our own federal government, say cutting carbon dioxide and other emissions that result from fossil fuel consumption is imperative for the health of the planet. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for example, says we have only 12 years to stave off global catastrophe.

We should call the proposed road-use fee what it really is, a deterrent, and the Legislature should ditch this backwards bill in favor of more realistic ways to take care of our transportation infrastructure.

If you’re a North Dakotan and you agree, contact your state legislators and ask them to oppose SB 2061. To find their contact information, start here.

Personal logo of Martin C. Fredricks IV

© 2019 Martin C. Fredricks IV




 

Top 10 Reasons to Become a North Dakota Progressive

Being a “progressive” in North Dakota is the greatest. Just check out all these kick-ass reasons to become one….

Being a “progressive” in North Dakota can be tough. No doubt about it.

This state is so deep red that even the sky is crimson a good part of the time. Especially around suppertime. What’s up with that? To be fair, it’s blue once in a while, too, but always a very light hue.

Even so, there are some things about being a “progressive” in North Dakota that are worth considering. Here are the top 10:

10. Enter a crowded room and you’ll always know exactly where you stand. Don’t worry, it doesn’t take long to get used to being alone in the corner…

9.  Few people around here really understand “progressive” – they’ve never seen one in real life – so you’ll be surrounded by an aura of mystery. The only downside is no one appreciates the sarcastic messages on your political T-shirts.

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Citizens’ Climate Lobby Offers Reasonable Approach to Addressing Climate Change

New climate change legislation championed by the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and introduced by three Democrats and two Republicans is a reasonable approach. We need to support it, call our representatives about it and talk about it with our neighbors.

New Legislation Backed by Members of Both Major Parties

You have to admire the audacity of the four volunteers from Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) who recently completed a “Climate Conversation Tour” of North Dakota.

This is a deep red state; 63 percent of voters here cast their ballots for Donald Trump in 2016. And Trump is the world’s most devout fossil fuel apostle, its greatest denier of human-caused global warming.

“I don’t believe it,” he infamously said a couple of weeks ago when the Fourth National Climate Assessment produced by 13 U.S. federal agencies provided a dire assessment for the United States.

“The report found that climate change will cost the US hundreds of billions of dollars annually and damage health,” the BBC reported.

Even so, the CCL volunteers – Paul Thompson and Mindy Ahler from the CCL’s North Wind Region and Brad and Linda Kingery from the Bemidji, Minn. chapter – came to North Dakota for six events in four communities to spur discussion about climate change and let people know about Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s efforts.

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Citizens’ Climate Lobby Brings “Climate Conversation Tour” to North Dakota

Volunteers from the North Wind Region of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby recently traveled to North Dakota for a “Climate Conversation Tour.” During six events, they discussed climate change and new legislation in the U.S. House to address it.

Volunteers Discuss Potential of New Carbon Dividend Legislation

Bi-partisan deliberation, collaboration and respect for opposing views are the keys to addressing climate change in meaningful ways, volunteers from Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) told a group in Fargo on Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.

Four volunteers from CCL’s North Wind Region visited North Dakota to kick-start the discussion here. Their Fargo presentation was the final stop in a week-long, six-event “climate conversation tour” of the state, which included a presentation of a new bill in Congress that could have a major impact on the release of carbon into the atmosphere.

“Wherever we go, interested people show up and are always curious about how Citizens’ Climate Lobby operates,” CCL North Wind Regional Coordinator Paul Thompson said. “The culture of North Dakota is unique due to its heavy dependence on fossil fuels. That’s why more bi-partisan discussion and training needs to happen here.”

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Climate Change Changes Post-Disaster Questions

Logic demands we ask why we’re throwing billions upon billions at rebuilding cities and regions that have been devastated by hurricanes and are destined to be hospitable only to marine life by the end of this century or (probably) much sooner.

“What’s the Best Way To…” Has Become “Should We…

Many areas of New Orleans were still awash in filthy flood water in September 2005 when then-President George W. Bush proclaimed, “There is no way to imagine America without New Orleans, and this great city will rise again.”

Katrina hit the Crescent City on Aug. 29, 2005. In the same speech a couple of weeks later, Bush went on to make a more definitive promise:

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Slipping and Dying: Bees, Humans and the Planet

As POTUS 45 rolls back environmental protections, climate change is sickening the Earth, us and the species we depend on.

170330_Bees

The rusty patched bumble bee probably would have preferred to remain in obscurity, humming from one flowering plant to another, pollinating away and quietly contributing to the estimated $3 billion in pollination services bees and other insects provide in the United States.

Living under cover. Minding his own business. And ours.

Continue reading “Slipping and Dying: Bees, Humans and the Planet”