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Durbin warns about global warming, invested in energy companies

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) blamed the tornadoes in Texas on carbon emissions.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) blamed the tornadoes in Texas on carbon emissions.
Alex Wong/Getty Images

After the horrific tornadoes in Texas, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) blamed carbon emissions for the storms, and he issued a warning during a press conference:

"It's your money or your life…We are either going to dedicate ourselves to a cleaner, more livable planet and accept the initial investment necessary or we're going to pay a heavier price in terms of loss of human life, damage and costs associated with it."

However, even experts who believe carbon is the cause of global warming don’t always correlate current weather events to theories about climate change. Durbin's warning, considering the research, seems overblown.

Yale University’s Environment 360 published a very informative collection of opinions from experts who are well-regarded by the global warming/climate change complex funded by government. Most of the experts who weighed in on the topic “Is extreme weather linked to global warming” cautioned against snap judgments on short term weather events.

Kerry Emanuel, director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Program in Atmosphere, Oceans and Climate, explained his answer in laymen’s terms:

"Although this has been an exceptional year for tornadoes in the U.S., strong variations in reporting such events over time prevent us from deducing any long-term trends. Work is under way to examine trends in objective measures of thunderstorm rotation detected by Doppler radar since about 1988, when such radars were first widely deployed. But so far, there has been little theoretical work on how global warming might influence severe local storms, including tornadoes and hail storms."

The well-established blog Watts Up With That? recently pointed out the healthy polar bear count that surprised observers in Northern Canada where one closely monitored population, rather than declining, was actually increasing. The blog is a favorite of the sector of experts loosely referred to as climate realists.

Missing from much of the debate on climate change are challenges posed by emerging and poor countries where over-grazing of livestock, reckless engineering of bodies of water and clear cutting forests are a way of life. Those challenges will remain regardless of limits on carbon, but there is a consensus that much deforestation occurs because of markets for fuel and cocaine.

One Colombian official has repeatedly warned about environmental damage because of cocaine production. That official told media:

"The Colombian government says four sq. meters (4.8 sq. yards) of rain forest have to be cleared to produce a gram of cocaine—and 2.2 million hectares (5.44 million acres) of Colombian tropical forest have been cut down to grow coca in the last twenty years."

Durbin has championed alternative energy policy and subsidies for quite some time, but his enthusiasm may not be strictly on behalf of the planet. Durbin has invested in energy companies and in Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Buffett’s company has a subsidiary, MidAmerican Energy Holding Co., a utility heavily vested in renewable energy interests.

In his book Throw Them All Out, author Peter Schweizer related how Durbin bought Berkshire Hathaway shares “during the bailout, during the vote, and after the vote.” Buffett actually gave advice to President Barack Obama on that bailout vote and of course the billionaire’s interests benefited as well.

Schweizer also pointed out another financial issue that in some respects related to alternative energy—“[T]en members of Obama’s 2008 National Finance Committee, along with another dozen campaign-fund bundlers, received Solyndra-like sweetheart loans.”


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