Climate change is best fought with policy

By The Republican Journal Editorial Board | Jan 23, 2020

Opponents of Nordic Aquafarms’ proposed land-based fish farm crowded the Hutchinson Center at the Belfast Planning Board’s last public hearing on the company’s application last week. There was a consistent theme in nearly all the opposing testimony — climate change. But they have been going about their opposition the wrong way.

Many have asked the board to deny the permits because the project would perpetuate the same practices that created human-induced climate change. They have said that the business-as-usual approach to development cannot continue.

Recently, a few members of local opposition group Upstream Watch ran three different carbon emission models that considered Nordic’s embedded carbon — total emissions from material extraction to construction and distribution. Upstream’s carbon emission numbers far surpassed those in Nordic’s own and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection’s emission models.

Nordic released a statement asserting its numbers were the most accurate, but did not say if its models reflected embedded carbon. It stated that Upstream’s numbers were based on inaccurate information, though it would not point out specific inaccuracies in the information the group used.

Director of Codes and Planning Wayne Marshall has insisted the Planning Board’s role in the permitting process is to make sure the application materials are complete and do not violate any city codes, ordinances or laws.

He said it is the City Council’s duty to determine the merits of the application as a legislative body voted in by residents. He said the board could vote down an application for undue adverse impact, if the estimated overall negative effects potentially outweigh the positive.

But how can the board vote down an application that fits the code’s basic criteria when it has been passing other business applications that follow the same rules? Did other local businesses have to calculate embedded carbon before permitting?

If residents want to change the permitting process and what is to be considered in the code for future developments, they must change the law, and to do that they must elect legislators who share their views. Fighting every single large-scale development in the future is not the most efficient way to address climate change.

The Planning Board has yet to complete its review of Nordic’s applications. So, it is still unclear what the outcome will be.

Human-induced climate change is a reality that people should be concerned about, and Nordic’s facility will not immediately be carbon-neutral. So, some concern is legitimate. But fighting every development that comes to town is not an effective way to address the issue on a citywide scale. It must be addressed with legislation and political action.

This week in history

End of the Iran hostage crisis

Minutes after Ronald Reagan’s inauguration as the 40th president of the United States, the 52 U.S. captives held at the U.S. embassy in Teheran, Iran, are released, ending the 444-day Iran Hostage Crisis.

On Nov. 4, 1979, the crisis began when militant Iranian students, outraged that the U.S. government had allowed the ousted shah of Iran to travel to New York City for medical treatment, seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran. The Ayatollah Khomeini, Iran’s political and religious leader, took over the hostage situation, refusing all appeals to release the hostages, even after the U.N. Security Council demanded an end to the crisis in a unanimous vote. However, two weeks after the storming of the embassy, the Ayatollah began to release all non-U.S. captives, and all female and minority Americans, citing these groups as among the people oppressed by the government of the United States. The remaining 52 captives remained at the mercy of the Ayatollah for the next 14 months.

President Jimmy Carter was unable to resolve the crisis diplomatically, and on April 24, 1980, he ordered a disastrous rescue mission in which eight U.S. military personnel were killed and no hostages rescued. Three months later, the former shah died of cancer in Egypt, but the crisis continued. In November 1980, Carter lost the presidential election.


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Comments (1)
Posted by: Paul Sheridan | Jan 24, 2020 19:18

Younger readers, or those with failing memories, may want to get the fuller stories behind the end of the Iran hostage crisis.

A good start might be the 1953 Iranian coup d'état, to understand some background on western and Iranian relations.  Also see the Iran-Iraq war, and the flow of weaponry in the mid-east.  Next, would be to look into the 1980 "October Surprise" (not the first, not the last, alas...) that kept the 52 hostage longer than necessary, so they would not be released due to efforts of negotiations by the Carter administration, but held longer, to be released once Ronald Reagan became president...20 minutes after he ends inaugural speech.

History is seldom simple as these three short paragraphs, which should serve to only spur your interest for more.  Please, do look up additional details on these subjects.  History explains why we are "at" where we are at any point in time, it cannot predict where we are going. But we would be foolish to ignore its lessons.

Think: "Ukraine..."



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