Big-oil executives met for closed-door meetings at last week’s Davos economic forum in Geneva and for the first time, environmental risks occupied their top five long-term concerns (“Climate concerns have big-oil CEOs talking,” Jan. 23). “The executives debated a document produced by the World Economic Forum on ‘neutralizing emissions at the pump,’ a reference to the gasoline and diesel sold to customers,” the article said.
Why, after four decades of hiding their industry’s impact on our climate, would oil executives want to recognize the issue publicly? This next comment may help clarify: “There’s an urgent need to shift the industry’s target from oil production to emissions from end users, said one person.”
We began understanding in the 1980s that burning fossil fuels would dangerously warm the planet. In response, the fossil fuel industry began spending billions to refute the data and manipulate political leaders to cast doubt on the science.
Thankfully, scientists have finally turned the tide against the misinformation campaign. The fossil fuel industry sees the information tide turning and recognizes its potential culpability with these catastrophes. Their lawyers would like nothing better than to shift blame to consumers.
Lawsuits took a significant and well-deserved toll on unscrupulous cigarette makers. If we don’t allow big oil to shift the blame to consumers, the forthcoming lawsuits against them will deservedly dwarf the tobacco industry penalties.
Mark Andersen, Wayzata
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The Enbridge Line 3 expansion is a threat to our health (“Modern energy will be ‘both/and,’ ” Readers Write, Jan. 21). That is why Health Professionals for a Healthy Climate recognizes that the only pathway forward is for the Public Utilities Commission to reject the pipeline expansion and close the existing pipeline. (HPHC is a nonpartisan organization of Minnesota nurses, physicians, public health, mental health and other allied health care professionals and students dedicated to the best possible health of our patients and our communities.)
The World Health Organization says that the No. 1 threat to human health is climate change — air pollution, water contamination, heat, flooding, drought and infectious disease that are a result of fossil fuels. Humanity is at a critical juncture and the consideration of Line 3 expansion is a line in the sand that society dare not cross. The crisis only accelerates as we postpone action that should have been taken years ago.
If approved, Line 3 will produce up to 193 million tons of CO2 a year. U.S. emissions are 5.27 billion tons of CO2. That’s 3.7% of U.S. emissions.
Scientists are telling us that the world has only a decade to mitigate climate change. The real consideration is how to carefully close down the old, current pipeline and move full speed ahead with clean energy and storage. The PUC will be taking in-person public comments Jan. 31 regarding the impacts of the pipeline.
Mike Menzel, Edina
The writer is a co-founder of HPHC.
Don’t give Republicans any ideas
For months now, every news account of the impeachment has pronounced the forgone conclusion that Republicans will not vote for impeachment and removal. This premature forecasting has made it all the more easy for them to vote that way. To prejudge the outcome of such a weighty and historic matter is irresponsible reporting, and worse, a thumb on the scale when the job was to inform with balance and objectivity.
The public would have been better served if the press had treated this matter less as a game of political scorekeeping and more as a solemn call for honor, seriousness, impartiality and fairness.
Leave the predictions to the bettors and the prognosticators.
Dave Pederson, Minnetrista
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Many Democrats I know support Joe Biden as their most inoffensive candidate. However, by Congress not calling him to testify at the impeachment proceedings, they have left nagging questions about corruption in Ukraine, which will create other suspicions about his long political career. If he becomes president, will we be subjected to years and years of investigations and calls for impeachment? Will our Congress fiddle while Washington burns?
Renata Melby, Bloomington
HUMANS AND ANIMALS
By that logic, meat is out, too
The arguments used for banning fur sales in Minneapolis are also appropriate for banning fish and meat sales in Minneapolis (“Leaders take enlightened step,” Opinion Exchange, Jan. 24). And leather shoes and belts. And perhaps even raising and selling pets. As well as hunting, fish farms and perhaps even fishing itself. (How appropriate is it to hold a fish in a confined live well on a boat only to release it later if a bigger one is caught?)
For example: Those who would ban fur say it is inhumane to raise animals for human consumption (whether fur, leather or meat) in confinement. They argue that crowding on fur farms creates excess animal waste products greatly increasing pollution. (I don’t think 1,000 mink produce as much scat in a year as even one dairy cow does in a month. Or one human in two months. And what about fish farms in southern states?)
They argue that trapping animals for their fur causes great suffering when in fact, new trapping technology instantly dispatches the animal. Trappers who use older technology use methods to kill the animal species targeted because not only is it humane to do so, but it decreases the likelihood that the animal will escape. Animals that are not wanted can be and are released.
One argument the anti-fur people used was that children get caught in traps used to catch fur-bearing animals. The implication is they suffer and possibly die. I’d be interested in seeing any facts on such a story.
All living things die, in the wild or in the varied environments of the world’s agriculture and aquaculture. Throughout history man has used the by-products of the lives of animals to keep warm, fed and comfortable. There is nothing about that practice that should be banned unless it is done illegally.
Don Grussing, Minnetonka
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We were heartened to read that the U.S. Department of Transportation is finally proposing a rule to, as the Star Tribune says, “put a stop to the petting zoo in the sky” (“New rules would bump pets to cargo,” front page, Jan. 23). As frequent fliers with allergies to cats and dogs, it can become a miserable experience for us to fly with more animals on every flight. In the past, there might have been an occasional pet in a carrier on the floor in front of a passenger seat. Now, there can be two or three pets on each flight, often in laps with little regard to other passengers’ discomfort. Flight attendants do not understand that pet dander can circulate through the entire plane, so getting moved further away from an animal does not prevent an allergic reaction on a long flight in such a confined space.
If a passenger declares a peanut allergy, the airline will not serve nuts on the flight. There is no accommodation for pet allergies. The proposed DOT rule will bring back some sanity to air travel by restricting animals onboard to only trained service dogs. The new Delta kennels described in the article will provide pet owners with the means to safely bring their pets with them — but not in the cabin with other passengers.
Ronn Williamson, Edina
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