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Rick Edmund
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Rick Edmund

Rick Edmund is a United Methodist church pastor in Maryland. He resides on Smith Island, which has been impacted by rising sea-level and in 2007 testified before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment about climate change and the Chesapeake Bay.

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Tyranny of the urgent

In Thursday's USA Today, there was a full page ad for a climate change conference whose purpose is "to build momentum and public awareness of the global warming 'realism' movement, a network of scientists, economists, policymakers, and concerned citizens who believe sound science and economics, rather than exaggeration and hype, ought to determine what actions, if any, are taken to address the problem of climate change." That is a noble goal for all of us, but this conference is likely to talk about global cooling rather than warming. Each of us still comes to the table of examining data with preconceived notions of what we want to find.

Each of us has a right to express our belief or distrust in what is known about the effects of human activity on our short term weather and long term climate. Until we have a national or international debate about the 'facts' of climate data, and an outstanding majority either sees the need to take action or not, meaningful legislation is not as likely.

Charles E. Hummel has written a book about Tyranny of the Urgent, which points out that people are likely to give their attention to the immediate needs of the present rather than the long-term important concerns of life. Climate change is not as immediate nor proven as say the problem of illegal immigration. Certainly it would be best to find a balance, but it seems that some want to "solve" short-term problems at the expense of longer term ones. Apparently the dangers of mining and oil drilling, which affect the health and safety of workers and the environment, do not seem to be enough of a factor to override the conveniences of already in-place energy sources, and the uncertainly in some minds of a serious climate problem.

By Rick Edmund  |  May 14, 2010; 2:23 PM ET Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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