Brennan: Priority soars on climate problem

By Tom Brennan |

With much of California going up in flames due to undergrowth dried by a warming earth, the time may be nearing when the nation makes a real effort to reduce human impact on climate.

The world has been growing more apprehensive every year as new evidence emerges that humans are endangering their environment and themselves. The time seems right for a serious effort at reducing the deleterious effect we are having on the world around us.

Solving the problem could take 20 to 50 years, but I am confident it will be solved. A lot of finger-pointing is going on. The Wall Street Journal even blamed California state leaders for over-reacting to the threat of climate change by skimping on safety upgrades and repairs to its electric grid while pumping billions into green energy and subsidies for electric cars.

Such misguided priorities made the state vulnerable to a prolonged drought resulting in fire caused by falling electrical lines in dry woods and fields, and near expensive housing areas. The problem exacerbated by bad decisions in California is one being felt increasingly in many parts of the world.

Those who deny that humans have actually caused a dangerous change in our climate seem to be waning in credibility, but the real change will have to be moving the world away from reliance on coal and oil for its energy and on to whatever comes next. We should also consider the possibility that, even if no wondrous new source of energy is discovered, we may just learn to use our existing energy resources in ways that will drastically reduce their negative impacts.

Major energy companies like ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips have been funding such research for years. They understand the problem probably better than most of us and see its resolution as an important goal for all our futures, including their own.

One approach being pursued by ExxonMobil is being endorsed by many scientists. It’s called “carbon capture and storage,” a method of capturing the deleterious waste products of energy creation and rendering them harmless. The system is still being developed but shows promise to a world growing increasingly worried. CCS plants are already being developed or operating in the United States, Japan and Norway.

We in Alaska have seen the results of a warming climate close up. We have seen disastrous wildfires, rising oceans and negative impacts on fish and wildlife resources that are close to all our hearts as well as our livelihoods. The effects of an overheated world are especially noticeable in the Arctic, where a receding ice pack is impacting many aspects of northern life.

Alaska’s Commissioner of Environmental Conservation Jason Brune says state leaders are aware of the climate change problem but, he added, “I don’t think it is an emergency right now.”

We can only hope that Commissioner Brune doesn’t see it as an emergency because he doesn’t see any emergency steps he or his department could take to head it off. And that is true; resolving the climate problem will take a worldwide effort and many years. 

It took many generations to get us into this problem and it could take a few more to get us out. The decisions essential to finding our way out of this dilemma will be made in corporate board rooms and government seats of power, seats somewhere above Jason Brune’s level.

The important thing is that the corporations closest to the problem are well aware of it. And organizations like the Alaska Federation of Natives, whose worries are heard in the highest levels of government, are hearing from their members that it is time to address the challenge of a world warming as a result of human activities. And a young girl’s recent plea to the United Nations brought the issue to worldwide attention in a very powerful way.

More obviously needs to be done, but the good news is that more is being done.  We are nowhere near being able to map a course to victory.  But the first priority is acknowledgement of the gravity of the situation.

And that seems to be happening at many of the right levels.

10 Responses to Brennan: Priority soars on climate problem

  1. Fergie November 3, 2019 at 9:12 am

    Well Tom, I see you must have swilled a full tankard of the “warmist cool-aid” and joined the “we’re all going to die” if we don’t stop emitting carbon dioxide!

    Your article contains all the historical talking points the proponents of human caused “Global Warming” (now “tipping point Climate Change”) have been fostering on the Western World since the movement’s beginning in the 1980’s.

    Back in the 1970’s a similar climate hysteria was being put forth by some scientists: It was called “Global Cooling” and we were all going to freeze to death!

    Meanwhile the developing nations of the world like China, India and the Arab nations are cranking up their economies and spewing carbon dioxide at rate many times higher than us and no “warmists” seem to protest there.

    Unfortunately Alaska, being heavily influenced by Pacific currents that fluctuate in cycles from anywhere from 30 to 70 years, the exact details are still not known, has been warming recently and this makes our citizenry especially vulnerable to the “warming crisis” narrative.

    The truth is the U.S. as a whole, while originally designed for local forecasting and air travel, has one of the best temperature monitoring networks in the world and there is a lot of honest scientific debate as to whether the warming trend seen last century stopped or slowed down decades ago. The long-term movement of warm/cold air around the world is just starting to be understood.

    If you want to read articles and studies made in this debate, many by well-known and respected scientists, go to the blog “Watts Up With That?” at the link below:

    And, contrary to the popular lie, big federal and university research grants don’t go to these scientists, some of whom have lost their jobs because they question the “crisis” theories. The money mostly only goes to those who find a way to support these theories.

    The truth is we are just beginning to really monitor and understand the earth’s complex and chaotic climate. It has been changing for millions of years and there is a lot of honest scientific debate on what, when, how and why these changes have occurred.

    The real tragedy will be if we don’t stop politicizing it and fail to learn how to adapt to real long-term changes.

  2. John London November 3, 2019 at 9:50 am

    Nothing much needs to be done except conservation.

    The waste is astronomical.

    Go around Anchorage in the Daytime and see all the houses and business with lights on when simple timers would save billions nationwide.

    Folks need to be trained and re-trained on how to drive. Mashing the gas and brake petals waste millions of gallons of fuel. The old standard was drive like you have an egg between your foot and the gas petal and don’t break it.

    Rural stop signs could have sensors led lights that are green when there are not other cars around so that there would be no need to stop, just slow down. It takes much more energy to get a vehicle moving from a dead stop than if it just slows down. Again Millions of gallons saved in a year nation wide. Billions world wide.

    Need I go one? Well, the energy and oil companies don’t really want to hear it.

  3. Elizabeth November 3, 2019 at 1:47 pm

    How then do you explain the fossil evidence that the northern hemisphere, as well as the rest of the world, was exceedingly warm once before? What caused that warming trend as humans certainly were not yet using fossil fuels. I am not convinced it is all man made. Albeit I do believe we should be good stewards of the earth we share which makes prudence and conservation in order. My family are already conservation conscious and have been for years doing our best to be as low impact as possible. Long before it was popular. Still, even with all of us here in the Western nations doing our part, we have no control over the very serious polluters with China and India leading the way.

  4. Fred Flintstone November 4, 2019 at 11:27 am

    For a first-hand view of the “crisis” drive to Exit glacier near Seward. Pay attention to the little signs that say “The toe of the glacier was here in ______”. The dates on the signs go back over 100 years.

    What was going on 100 years ago to melt Exit glacier?

    It wasn’t SUVs, central heating and 747s.

  5. Donald Drumpf November 4, 2019 at 2:28 pm

    I love how we can find 10-20 scientists who have the “unpopular” theories of natural warming who know the “real truth” and can be found on the always reputable , but the other 20,000+ scientists, hundreds employeed by NASA noting carbon at the highest levels in history are not to be trusted. The actual problem is how to slow warming and prepare coastal cities in the next 80 years. How are we supposed to even begin to discuss solutions to the problem if we can’t agree on facts. Temperatures are rising, oceans are warming, ice sheets are shrinking, glaciers are retreating, sea level is rising, arctic ice is declining, and oceans are becoming more acidic. None of this is an opinion, its a scientifically notated fact. Time to retire or get out of the way if you continue to fight actual science. You are continuing the destruction for those of us that have to stay here when you’re gone.

  6. Will Gay November 4, 2019 at 7:16 pm

    Algore and Obviously Crazy Cortez have followers worldwide. Manhatten was covered with a 2 mile thickness of ice just a few thousand years ago. What caused that melt? Over zealous natives rubbing too many sticks together!

  7. Ponderer November 5, 2019 at 5:29 pm

    Not just 10-20. Many more. Plus the founder of Green Peace; plus the PhD Nobel Prize recipient and patent holder that knows more about the CO2 molecule than anyone living; plus the IPCC signers who have testified their studies were hijacked… Consensus? Note that scientific consensus held that Africans with dark skin were sub-human, underpinning reprehensible public policy for decades. Science is about observable, repeatable falsification of theory, not brow-beating those with reasonable concerns. Indeed facts are valuable. Convictions are not facts.

  8. Fergie November 6, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    As someone trained in science and engineering and having spent my professional life in and around science trained people, it amazes me what has happened to many in the science community when it comes to matters of the earth’s climate.

    My first post above was based on my background and current observations of what’s happening today. I am not alone in my concerns. Read this interview in City Journal with scientist Dr. Judith Curry. a true climatologist.

    There are many science-trained people like myself who can completely agree with all she says in this interview.

  9. M. J. Deaver November 7, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Those who are “trained” on any subject are only as good as who was doing the indoctrinating.
    You can not TEACH common sense. (i.e. predator control or being a Constitutional Scholar 😉 to name a few )
    Put any woke scholar and place them at any point in earths history. Tell me they wouldn’t or couldn’t put the chicken little scenario into play.
    The exit glacier story above. I’ve been using that exact example since the late 80’s. Thanks for writing it.

  10. Calator December 7, 2019 at 5:36 am

    Brennan: Priority soars on climate problem –
    This is a topic which is near to my heart… Thank you!
    Where are your contact details though?-


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For information, sizing, and rates of banner advertising space we have available, please e-mail Mark Hopkin at, or call him at (907) 276-4262.