Soucheray, Coleman tangle over climate change

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has taken the bait set by Pioneer Press columnist/troll Joe Soucheray.

Most of the time, the targets of Soucheray ignore the columnist but everyone has a breaking point and for Coleman, apparently, it was last week’s column criticizing the mayor for flying to Paris for a climate change conference.

Like so:

The off-to-Paris-we-go entourage includes Macalester College professor Roopali Phadke, who was quoted in the Pioneer Press the other day saying, “Minnesota is an important place to look at how climate change will impact the U.S. We’re already seeing demonstrated changes in the weather — warmer weather, 500-year floods. It’s important that places like Minnesota get talked about because so much of the focus is on the coasts.”

Yes, why should the coasts have all the fun? Warmer weather? What is the temperature supposed to be on any given day? As for 500-year-floods, what happened 500 years ago to get the same flood? We weren’t here and neither were our minivans and power plants and jet airplanes.

If the climate didn’t change, we wouldn’t be here right now. Lake Superior is only about 10,000 years old, an infant in the geological scheme of things, but where we are right now was buried under ice 10,000 years ago, and as long as we were born, which we also could not have done anything about, I am particularly grateful that we are not now under ice.

Oh, where to begin with these charlatans? Major hurricane activity in the United States does not rate a blip on anybody’s radar. The so-called climate scientists say the absence of major hurricanes is just dumb luck. Why then wouldn’t it be just bad luck if we suddenly started getting bad hurricanes? No, in that case, it would be man-made climate change.

“Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel,” Mark Twain said.

But, in a rebuttal in the Pioneer Press, Coleman took exception.

History now shows Joe can be wrong. And, mostly, that probably doesn’t matter much. If he’s wrong about bike lanes, I suppose people will still get out and ride. If he’s wrong about light rail, people might still open a business in these parts.

But wrong about climate change: now there’s a problem. If we’re wrong about climate change, it’s no longer about the impacts on the boating elite in a mid-continent state. It’s about the actual survival of billions of people, if not the planet itself. For the 20 million people who depend on the Mississippi River for their daily drinking water, for those who rely on a Sierra snow-pack to irrigate their cropland, we simply can’t get it wrong.

Bill Clinton once said the difference between conservatives and liberals was that the former had an ideology, the latter a philosophy. With a philosophy, one has a general belief system that is subject to change as facts come in to alter it. With an ideology, facts are irrelevant because “my ideology tells me this is just the way it is.”

People who can be wrong, however rare, are ill-served by an ideology. Great Denier Joe, open yourself up to the possibility that you’re wrong on climate change. If you acknowledge that 99 percent of all scientists who have looked at this issue say climate change is for real, how might you view things then?

Meanwhile, St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis is staying out of it, at least for now. He’s posting pictures of the gathering on Twitter today.

  • MrE85

    I agree that arguing with the Souch is a wasted effort, but at least hizhonor had the chance to make his case. I spoke about the Coleman and Kleis visit to COP21 yesterday during an interview KVSC-FM, the St. Cloud State University station. I told news director Mohammad Najafian that what happens in Paris does in fact, matter to Minnesota, and that MN had many success stories to share.

  • MrE85

    If anyone is interested in our two cents on climate change, I’ve written a number of guest editorials on the topic. Here’s one from last year:

  • Al

    One of my proudest moments ever as a Minnesotan was sticking it to Soucheray during the last-ever SportsTalk Baby Walk at the State Fair. It was GLORIOUS. The heavens parted. Angels sang. I mean, it’s SOUCH.

    So, really, I can understand Coleman’s instinct to swing back.

    • Ben Koster

      How, exactly, did you stick it to Soucheray, Al? A snarky comment at a fun non-political MN State Fair event? How incredibly courageous of you. Why don’t you call into his show and stick it to him with well a reasoned and logical argument?

      • Al

        Given that it was the State Fair, it was about as light-hearted as a State Fair discussion would be. (Obviously.) Jog on. #eyeroll

  • This perfectly illustrates one of the many reasons why I don’t listen/read his drivel.

  • MrE85

    Somewhat related, there’s an article in the Strib today where the CEO of Xcel Energy comments on the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, the country’s first real effort to reduce carbon emissions. He said it wasn’t a problem for the state’s largest utility, it was an opportunity to diversify and invest in cleaner power sources like wind farms.
    That kind of attitude is exactly what I meant when I said we had success stories to bring to Paris. It gives me hope that we might not screw things up for future generations as badly as we could.

    • Nick K

      “Xcel’s acquisition of wind farms could benefit investors because utility-owned assets are part of its rate base, for which it gets a regulated rate of return. By contrast, the cost of purchased wind power gets passed through to Xcel customers at no profit to the utility.” Yes, a chance to charge higher rates for wind power…. how noble of them. Moreover, the part where he calls the Clean Power Plant a “great opportunity” is an edited quote where the missing middle section is not provided.

      • MrE85

        Good eye. I’ve been watching Xcel’s reaction to the CPP pretty closely, so I’m pretty sure the edited quote captures the spirit, if not all the letters, of the statement.

  • Jim in RF

    Joe is just a cartoon of himself anymore.

  • Jay T. Berken

    Besides the general opening up of new markets in energy and infrastructure, what if Joe is wrong? I suppose he doesn’t care, he won’t have to deal with the aftermath of his and others inactions of fighting climate change. At least he gets lower taxes/prices with existing energy and infrastructure.

  • Patrick

    Joe does ask a question to which I’d like to know the answer: what is the temperature supposed to be?

    • MrE85

      Joe is talking about the weather. Global climate is another thing altogether, but the two can be connected. From what I understand, the average temperature on Earth is about 61 degrees F (16 C), if that helps.

      • Patrick

        I appreciate the response, thank you. So to ask the question a different way, what is the climate supposed to be? And how do we know when the fluctuation is no longer within a normal fluxuation?

    • The temperature should be within the nominal range at which the current species on the plant have evolved to live and reproduce. Does that answer your question?

      • Patrick

        Thank you for the response. Since humans have been around for hundreds of thousands of years, wouldn’t your answer suggest all temperatures and all climates thus far experienced are acceptable?

        • MrE85

          Out of my wheelhouse here. I think that’s a question Paul Huttner could answer. He’s got a blog on this website.

        • As a layperson I would agree that yes, currently we are still within the acceptable range for most of the earth’s plants and animals.

          I will contend that the climate change argument is not about looking at historical data and saying “well, we are still good so let’s not worry.” It’s about looking at historical data and noticing a trend that has been increasing. The simple fact is that if climate change occurs at a rate greater than the species on the planet can evolve there will be a significant impact to the biodiversity of the planet.

          An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This has been proven time and time again in many ways. With this knowledge, what harm is there in reducing our impact (prevention) instead of continuing on as we are and potentially damaging the entire ecosystems and then trying to deal with the system left (Cure)?

          Pascal’s wager could also be applied here without too much difficulty.

          • Patrick

            Seems to me we should know what the temp/climate is supposed to be before government-imposed guesses of what might work are instituted. Are we headed into or out of another Ice Age? Seems pertinent.

            I’m not in a position to know if God would or would not look favorably on increasing the price of living (heating, cooling, transportation, food, etc.) due to an ounce of prevention. So Pascal doesn’t apply to me.

            I appreciate your thoughts, though.

          • Looking at keeping a specific temp/climate is short sighted, we need to focus on limiting the rate of change to a more natural cycle so evolution can keep up.

            You are looking at Pascal’s wager too literally. In an essence Pascal’s wager says it’s safer to believe and act because the consequences of not are far worse. Consider taking steps to prevent climate change as a lower risk option because the risk of doing nothing could be detrimental to all living things on the planet.

          • Patrick

            You spark two thoughts. First, how do we know what a “natural cycle” is if we don’t know what the climate was and we also don’t know what it is supposed to be? The second thought: what if taking no action is indeed the right answer? What if the guesses me make today turn out later to have been exactly wrong?

          • Please explain how continuing to pump chemicals at our (humans) current rate into the atmosphere could be less damaging to the climate than harnessing solar or wind energy to power our technology? How could walking or riding a bicycle be more damaging to the climate than driving a car or truck?

          • Patrick

            To answer your question, someone would have to explain the amount of damage being done and how much the climate has been affected. And to do that you need to know what the climate is supposed to be.

            No question walking or riding a bike has little impact on the weather or climate. But they are horribly inefficient in getting people and products where they need to go.

  • Pam_A

    If it weren’t so sad, it’s fun to hear the leadership and members of the Church of the Warming Earth spout they religious beliefs and force them on everyone else. I have asked many members of that church and not 1 has been able to tell me what the temperature of the earth is supposed to be. Nor have they been able to explain how the glaciers melted or when did the forests UNDER glaciers grow>
    Their responses are much like Coleman’s, which is aptly summarized by the Wizard’s first rule
    “People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.”

    • MrE85

      O ye of little faith…;-)

    • Rob

      People aren’t stupid by nature, Pam_A, but some do choose to be ignorant, which explains the existence of the climate change deniers amongst us. In the face of overwhelming factual evidence that humans are clusterf*$%ing the planet, these folks are choosing to deny it, and are therefore not being very smart.

    • kennedy

      Following your association of the topic to religion, is it uninformed faith to believe that human activities have no impact on climate?

  • Kurt O

    Joe Soucheray is the 21st century version of Andy Rooney at the end of 60 Minutes. Like when Andy would sort through his junk mail and make comments.

    “Have you ever noticed…”

    • I’ll give you that Andy Rooney wasn’t what he once was near the end (he was in his ’90s by then) but invoking Rooney in comparison to Souch? He more than earned respect as a journalist in his career.

      • Kurt O

        I only meant the 60 Minutes stuff complaining about rather insignificant things. Rooney had junk mail. Soucheray has a list of things in the plastic bins for moving his office.

  • Ben Koster

    Typical alarmist nonsense from Coleman. You can’t disagree with him because if he’s right the consequences will be catastrophic. That is not a logical argument.

  • Leo_Pusateri

    If anthroprogenic ‘climate change’ is so real, scary, and urgent; and if we as citizens of the world need to dramatically lessen our ‘carbon footprint;’ can you imagine all of the carbon-belching that could have been saved if these mental midgets actually stayed in their offices and communicated via Skype?? All the jet-engine pollution that wouldn’t happen–all the posh hotel linens and towels that wouldn’t need to be washed? All the transportation of the fancy food that they will no doubt be serving?

    But reducing or eliminating ‘carbon footprints’ is only for the little people; after all, the rich and powerful can just do their penance by buying ‘carbon credits’ from Algore.

    I’ll start taking ‘man-made ‘climate change’ seriously when they start taking it seriously.

  • lindblomeagles

    Bob is correct – Joe Soucheray is a troll, and he hardly ever presents facts in his columns or gives balanced, objective opinions about anything he writes in the Pioneer Press or anything he says on AM 1500. His point is always the same – this guy or woman or group of people are stupid. End of story. There’s hardly or barely a reason given as to why Joe’s targets are stupid. He’s not even funny anymore.

    • Ben Koster

      Joe Soucheray is the most reasonable voice on the conservative side that one can find on local radio today, and there are many voices. Tell me why not even one local liberal has yet to approach his number of listeners. Oh, wait…since Nick Coleman tanked years ago there is no local liberal radio, aside from MPR.

      • lindblomeagles

        A lot of conservatives confuse the word “opinionated” with the word “reasonable.” An opinion is not always (or generally even sometimes) grounded in facts, logic, or study. Sometimes it is nothing more than a feeling, wish, intuition. For example, some Americans like the color orange. There is not a reasonable basis for liking one color more than another. But if a person FEELS very good emotionally about the color orange, his or her opinion of that color is likely to be high, very high, whether it is reasonable to like orange or not. Joe Soucheray offers HIS opinion to various topics without regard to facts, historical information, hypothesis, or recent study; and his conduct and behavior towards others disagreeing with him is utter disdain and ridicule. He acts like “the cool kid” in high school rather than a “search for the truth” media writer. That’s what has made Souch a troll. Souch’s opinions, regardless of how reasonable or unreasonable they are, are shared by you. In other words, like the color example above, you’re not really all that interested in the basis for Souch’s rantings. You just feel good about his opinion, no matter where they came from. As for “reasonable” conservative voices, 3 people do come to mind, and you can hear them on NPR: George Will, Cokie Roberts, and David Brooks. Not only are these 3 individuals well versed in the history of American conservative movements and leaders, they are also not afraid to suggest conservatives may be headed in the wrong direction on issues and candidates as well. I would suggest listening and reading their works rather than giving sheeply into a bombast who would just as soon ridicule you on the oft chance you disagreed with him.

        • Ben Koster

          It’s not about “feeling” anything. It’s about thinking. Try it.

    • tboom

      Soucheray has been trolling since the mid 80’s when I stopped listening following a particularly obnoxious Saturday morning Sports Talk rant. I haven’t listened to a minute of Soucheray since and am happier for it. BTW he never was “funny”, in the Sports Talk days the entertainment came from the fake call-in “voices”.

  • Interesting how climate change debate focuses on temperature of the air while ignoring temperature of the ocean.

    • tboom

      Not exactly to this point (ocean temperature), but I keep going back to a question you asked a while back concerning climate change, and I paraphrase here … but what do you want ME to do about it?

      I have come to the conclusion that the only solution is to make carbon free energy so cheap that everyone will switch to solar/wind because it’s in their own self-interest. Perhaps a NASA-like program with the goal of providing “free electricity for all before the end of the decade” would be bold enough to work.

  • James Dawson

    Just Google “climate change skeptics” and tell me that Coleman’s claim of 99% of scientists are in agreement has any validity. Studies in support of global warming got unlimited government funding, those that cast doubt got nothing.