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Climate and Energy

Q: What do forests, water, wildlife, and agriculture have in common?

A: They’re all being reshaped, redistributed, and otherwise readjusted by climate change. Now, in real time.

That's the conclusion of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, which just released a long-delayed government-commissioned report on how climate change is affecting the American landscape.

This is so much on my mind that I've been looking for every way to do something about it I can find.

First we had the skeptics, the nay-sayers, who denied that the climate is heating up, or, if it is, it's natural and not our fault. Rush Limbaugh still spouts this line, as does Senator Jim Inhofe, but their ranks are dwindling, have in fact dwindled to insignificance.

I've never been quite sure what 'a perfect storm' means (didn't see the movie), but it seems to mean a situation where everything gangs up on you. If so, we seem to be already in perfect storm territory in the building competition between hungry people and thirsty vehicles for corn and other grains.

The U.S.may lose its right to vote on international ship pollution standards because Congress has failed to implement a treaty setting limits on ship pollution. At risk is a vote in upcoming negotiations on stricter standards proposed by the U.S. delegation to the International Maritime Organization.

House and Senate lawmakers are trying to resolve differences on legislation to implement the treaty, known as Annex VI to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships. The full Senate has not yet acted on it.

Hundreds of angry people, urged on by a right-wing talk show host, called Earthjustice recently to ask why we are challenging plans to drill in Alaska's Arctic Ocean.

Like many Americans, the callers are suffering from gasoline price increases and other costs, like food, that have gone up with the price of oil. They had been led to believe that drilling in Alaska would bring gas prices back down and restore America's place in the world.

Aah, summer!  Time to hit the road and visit some our crown jewel national parks here in the West.  It's time to enjoy the trees, the canyons, the birds, bees, and bears, the ranger talks, the smog. 

The smog?  Yep, get ready for it.  Because if the EPA has its way, the tremendous views from Mesa Verde, Zion, and other national parks will become more obscured with haze.

As the Washington Post succinctly put it on May 16:

Drink? Or drive? That may sound like questions to ask a a prospective designated driver before a night on the town. It may soon be the stark choice faced by an entire region.

We are strictly nonpartisan and apolitical here at Tom's Turn, so we will be naming no names today.

Let's put it this way. Two powerful and influential figures with overweening political ambition have suggested that the federal government should suspend federal gasoline taxes between Memorial Day and Labor Day this year to provide some relief to people suffering from soaring prices.

In the late 1980s, the country celebrated the 200th anniversary of our most important legal text: the U.S. Constitution.

To do so, a commission was established, headed by respected former Chief Justice Warren Burger. And to lead a celebration in Washington, D.C., an equally distinguished American was chosen: Wayne Newton.

Wayne Newton!!?? The original Las Vegas lounge lizard? What were they thinking?

Us young, hip kids (at least we thought then we were then) imagined the following conversation leading to this decision.

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