Posted by: ericgrimsrud | August 23, 2012

Telling the truth in a free market system

The following is a letter to the editor that I noted on Aug 23 in the Billing Gazette that I thought provided an excellent and concise way of describing the conflicts that sometimes exist between our Free Market system and the boundary conditions laid out by Mother Nature.  – EPG

“Refusing to tell truth about coal’s harm makes us less able to deal with it

It has been said that communism failed because it wouldn’t tell the market truth, and that capitalism may fail because it will not tell the ecological truth.

An aphorism is not destiny. Still, we see this in Montana with the discussion of increased coal exploitation and export of the coal to Asia.

All of the proponents of this talk about how stripping and shipping coal will generate money. But they never breathe a word about the environmental truth of such coal exploitation.

That is, they never mention that doing so will devastate agricultural lands and destroy water supplies in Eastern Montana. And they never discuss the toxic constituents of coal that will be released in transport and when the coal is burned (pollution from Asia reaches the U.S. in just a few days). Nor do they mention that burning coal accelerates climate change, which is already causing widespread disruption across the globe.

Refusing to tell the truth about the harms of coal will not make them go away. It will only make us less able to deal with them.

Charyn Ayoub, Helena ”

Additional comments by EPG:

I hope that all of our elected officials, and especially our Governor and US Senators and Representative read the above letter (and have it explained to them, if required).  As major cheerleaders for the development of Monana’s Coal and Alberta’s Tar Sands, they have all been either ignorant of the truth (I doubt that) or simply have ignored it for their own personal or political reasons.  Perhaps they envision themselves to be better representatives of our needs than the other, even worse guys who might indeed replace them in the next election if they said boo to the interests of Big Coal.

As a result, the most important issue on the global table is not even being contested in our upcoming elections in Montana.  All we will hear on the energy front is “I am in favor of all the the above” and, therefore, our CO2 levels will continue to rise.  For those who don’t know, our atmospheric CO2 level is the only meaningful indicator of “how we are doing” and, at 393 ppm and rising at an annual rate of 2 ppm, that score card clearly says that a we are loosing this battle, big time.  It is a rout!!.   And the rout will continue until we get more leaders who dare to do the right thing – yes, even possibly at the expense of their own next election.

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