Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this
By Donald H. Harrison, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
June 15, 2019 (San Diego) -- Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) surprised and mollified a restive crowd of environmentalists Saturday when she announced that when she returns to Washington for Tuesday’s Congressional session she will “be signing onto the Green New Deal.”
Her announcement was greeted with 16 seconds of applause, which might have gone on longer if Davis hadn’t interrupted it.  “If I may,” she said, “let me ask you for something on your part as well … As we are looking at specific pieces of legislation that have consequences and have the importance of people understanding why we are moving forward with this piece of legislation, why it is going to make a difference for the future, I hope you will all be there for that.”
Davis’s announcement came at the conclusion of a mid-morning panel presentation on climate change that she had arranged by scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego State University, UC San Diego, and the Hoover Institution of Stanford University.  The panel was held in the Florence Grand Theater of San Diego’s High School of Creative and Performing Arts. 
After brief words welcoming the panel, Davis went off stage to take a seat in the audience.  The job of moderator was assigned to Clarissa Anderson, executive director of the Southern California Coastal Observing System (SCCOOS) at Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
Perhaps not realizing that Davis had remained in the theater, one questioner jumped to the wrong conclusion.  “I will address this question to the panel since Congressman Davis doesn’t have the courage to answer these questions herself,” said one young man. “What my question is, it’s a critical problem, do you support the Green New Deal so we put all our resources to solving the climate crisis?”
The accusation of political cowardice against Davis was greeted with cries of shock from some other members of the audience.
Another questioner asked, “Can you say unequivocally that the greatest contributor to anthropogenic (human-caused)  climate change is the burning of fossil fuels… and if so, what action do you recommend?”
Another said that she wanted Davis and the panelists to state that they support the Green New Deal, adding: “We need to enact this as fast as we can.  I don’t want to talk about what we do to adapt to rising waters, I want to stop it while we still can.”
Panelists tried to answer as many questions as they could in a short time.  They included Dr. Mark Merrifield (left), director of the Center for Climate Change Impacts and Adaptation at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; Dr. Walter Oechel, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Biology at San Diego State University; Retired Navy Commander David Slayton (below right), a research fellow at Hoover Institution; and Dr. Kate Ricke (below left), an assistant professor at UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy.
 When they finished answering, Davis stepped to the microphone and told the audience of several hundred, “I want you to know that I hear your passion, absolutely, and I have that too.  I have grandchildren and I hope that they are going to have children some day and I hope they are not going to suffer from the effects of that (climate change) any more than any of you feels.”
She said that she has supported legislation in the past to enact a carbon tax, which had been urged by several members of the panel as well as audience members.  Furthermore, she said, she was a supporter of the Paris Agreement that committed signatory countries to take action to combat climate warming, and hopes that President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the United States from that agreement will be reversed.
Turning to the Green New Deal, which proposes a high urgency program to totally switch the United States to the use of renewable energy sources by 2030 – as proposed by U.S. Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) – Davis said that she did not sign immediately onto the broad-stroke legislation “partly because of who I am, and the sort of deliberateness with which I look at many issues.”
“We don’t have time,” interrupted a voice from the audience.
“What I am about to say is that it lays out an all encompassing plan,” Davis continued.  “That is important, just like the whole of government is important, to do that.  But we also have to focus on the specifics and have the analysis in front of us.  So, in the spirit that we really all have to have our hands on deck; we all have to be engaged; we need to have the energy that is coming from the community around the Green New Deal and everything else that is being proposed now that has merit – merit-based good science that is going to lead us, I hope, into a future that is [good] for all of us -- I will tell you that as I go back to Washington after this very short break, I will be signing onto the Green New Deal.”
In her presentation, Ricke said that every ton of carbon dioxide that is emitted into the atmosphere results in $400 damage to the global economy.  However, this economic damage is not felt on a proportional basis.  While causing $400 damage per ton, the United States only feels $40, or 10 percent,  of the economic damage.  On the other hand, many countries produce less carbon dioxide, but suffer far more damage than they cause.  India, for example, causes only 10 percent of global emissions but suffers 25 percent the cost, according to Ricke.  The upshot of this is that some countries like the United States and China have less economic incentives to end destructive practices than countries like India, who suffer far more.
Oechel said that scientists have known and understood the impact of global warming for many years. It’s not lack of knowledge, but a “dedicated opposition” that blocks action to reverse the trend of climate change. These opponents, he said, are a “well-funded, significant group who support fossil fuel.” He estimated that the United States emits between 7 billion and 9 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year.  Some of that COz  is utilized in photosynthesis by plants, and far more could be utilized if there were greater efforts to optimize the growth of vegetation both on land and at sea.  He said not only can the rate of carbon dioxide emissions be slowed, but actual emissions could be reduced. 
Slayton said nations around the world recognize that by bringing electricity to rural populations, they can upgrade standards of living in those areas.  He said it will require “smart, innovative thinkers” to accommodate this trend, while at the same time reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
Merrifield said Scripps Institution of Oceanography has been going through a metamorphosis.  Now it not only studies what is happening, but is trying to prescribe solutions to problems like global warming.
Riche said one helpful way to ameliorate global warming would be to enact a carbon tax.  Not only would it raise money to study the problem, but it would incentivize consumers to become more involved in finding solutions.
Oechel (left) agreed a carbon tax is necessary and said people who say the economic costs would be too great are similar to those who argued years ago that a 25-cent tax on gasoline would have a terrible impact on the economy.  Yet, the same industry that argued against government increases – the oil industry – has increased the price of gasoline by over $2 per gallon.  He also said that tax breaks for oil companies and other carbon subsidies ought to be eliminated.
Slater endorsed a carbon tax, saying that 40 percent of carbon dioxide in the United States comes from personal vehicles, 40 percent from industries, including commercial transportation, and 20 percent from various products.  
Merrifield said he is “on board” for the Green New Deal, which envisions a tax on carbon dioxide producers.  However, he warned, “We still have to remove carbon for the atmosphere” and currently, “there is not technology to do it.”
Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World.  He may be contacted via


Update - Bill Gates entered the market for carbon sequester te

Heard this story on KNSJ 89.1fm not sure if it's here online but said there wasn't a good way to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.... In recent news Bill Gates entered the market and has an 850 something that pulls carbon dioxide out of clean air i suspect China and major cities and companies might buy it, can we please establish a FLOOR of sequestered carbon dioxide, have it set the rate of local (California) carbon credits, and send the concentrated carbon to algae gasoline producers that the military uses to establish a market for it and also space exploration companies developing sub bioshere oxygen positive organic material created in preparation for the moon and Mars environments

Wow! Here is the report on Bill Gates plan for CO2:

HIs carbon engineering would use giant fans to suck C02 from the air and convert it to clean carbon-neutral fuels in the form of pellets. One plant is the equivalent of 40 million trees in carbon reduction. The only downside apparently are cost but it's coming down  dramatically and partnering with oil companies because it arguably promotes more carbon removal, but at least this would rapidly remove C02 from the air and offer potential to reverse climate change. Here are some articles:


"Public neutral forum"?

You're kidding, right? Since when have you been "neutral" ? And BTW, I will continue to expose and say what I feel about POTUS and anyone else in politics if I so choose (1st amendment). Republican democrat, other, makes no difference to me. Meanwhile democrats are bashed in this comment section quite often, so what's your point? Oh yeah, some are just just being contentious. Oops!, almost forgot. My bad.

Grandpa to grandpa

Easy there Grandpa, put your BP cuff next to your PC and take a deep breath.

Trump's rhetoric contrbutes to ignorance & denial

POTUS's propaganda spewed to the gullible masses has had a profound effect on many people, causing them to believe his B.S. and disregarding the scientific FACTS. In the end, what matters is the FACT that there is a serious, very possible catastrophic climate event in progress affecting this planet due to natural events, combined with excessive human created pollution of many types. Eventually many, if not all life forms will be severely affected in some way or another, possibly even a complete die off. FACT, the weather has been changing dramatically global wide. The earth does cycle naturally, yet human caused pollution will exacerbate the final outcome, and it ain't gonna be pretty!

Ignorance & deial in the eyes of the beholder

FACT: There are two definitions, one for weather, the other for climate. As an old man in my native community of San Diego City & Country, I remember when catalytic converters were added, when air quality in Alpine California was the cleanest community in the world. Alpine became a backdrop of accumulated pollution aka smog for years, but mysteriously disappeared. Before jammed highways & streets and after. Can your hyper informed script writers explain this and put "weather" and "climate" into perspective for me? Also, why blame it on our President, he does listen to the American Public and Scientific world. By doing so, you are interjecting your political bias into what should be a public neutral forum.

Global warming for more taxes

Carbon tax! Bah! This Global warming thing strikes at the very basic fact, that we live in a solar system that is ever changing. We have as much control of it as we do the Sun, moon & tides. This is a "global" money & power matter. Thanks Susan.

No it is not ever changing.

A local famous scientist I interviewed explained this clearly. He's the guy who pulls the ice core samples in Antarctica to measure. 

There are two forms of CO2 that they measure.  One is stable and hasn't changed in millions of years -- the form that seeps naturally such as in the ocean floor.

The other is the form that is released when carbon is burned, which has only occurred since the dawn of the industrial revolution. It is only that form that has increased dramatically in recent years and continues to soar off the charts. 

Anybody who thinks otherwise is  just plain ignorant of the science and needs to get educated because this ignorance is endangering the lives of every living thing on our planet. 

As for being about global money and power, who do you think has funded the anti-climatic change propoganda movement? The big oil and big coal industries.

Local famous scientist?

Did this local famous scientist discuss the dynamics of our planet, moon, sun and their relative dynamic movement every second of our existence? We are on a roll through space and the dynamics of how it is moving and affecting us puny humans on one puny moving satellite that we have absolutely no control over. Sure, pooping on the streets in LA or San Fransicko happens, along with plastics in our oceans and streams and CO2 from hydrocarbons. All pollution but easy for us humans to see. So paint two pictures: l. humans polluting 2. the dynamics of Earths travels through space. Chicken Little has been around for centuries and he still laughs at fools that predict the sky is falling.