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.