A Useless, Self-Promoting Executive Order

justin-katz-avatar-smiling

What do people think executive orders are for?  If a governor wants to affirm some position, he or she can utilize press releases or other methods, so an executive order would seem to indicate, well, an order that the executive issues to direct some new policy affecting decisions under her or his administration.

In that regard, one could reasonably estimate that Democrat Governor Gina Raimondo’s new executive order affirming Rhode Island’s “dedicat[ion] to the Principles of the Paris Climate Agreement” has a net negative effect on the environment, inasmuch as it does absolutely nothing to change state policy but will require the use of paper for printing, the exhalation of carbon dioxide while reading it out loud or talking about it, and the burning of energy (however generated) in the computer resources used to create, transmit, and review it.

No, seriously, it does absolutely nothing new.  It does, however, refer to Gina Raimondo via first-person pronouns eight times, and rattle off two-and-a-half pages of pat-yourself-on-the-back “whereas” clauses.

This one, in particular, caught my attention:

WHEREAS, the Narragansett Bay is New England’s largest estuary and attracts 12 million people each year, and is a treasure that must be preserved for future generations of Rhode Islanders

What strikes me about this clause is that the climate alarmists warn that Narragansett Bay will actually expand with global warming.  Sure, some habitats will change their nature, but if the size of an estuary is a positive thing, why should we take the reactionary view that nothing should change from its current condition?

Similarly, this clause has a strange tone:

The State shall reaffirm its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, with the goal of doing our part to hold the increase in global temperatures at or below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The insinuation, here, is that global temperatures were more or less steady throughout history until the industrial revolution and that two degrees is significant for some reason.  You know, a “whereas” clause or two laying out the specific evidence, rather than Rhode Island government’s fealty to the alarmist agenda, might have been useful in this regard.

The “whereases” have another conspicuous omission, by the way.  Not one of them provides any evidence that the trade-off to Rhode Islanders of committing the state to the governor’s goals is worthwhile.  That’s because it doesn’t matter to “I, the governor.”  What matters is virtue signaling, government’s reach, and politicians’ futures.



  • Mike678

    More posturing from the left as they play to their base. Given the population drain and business climate, RI can’t afford to go down this high power cost/job killing road much longer. These ‘affirmations’ are little more than hot air… :)

    BTW, why do we never hear what 100 trillion dollars was going to buy us in 2100? Are not results more important than posturing? Three hundredths of a degree for 100 trillion dollars is a bit costly, is it not? Little wonder the Chinese Government is upset that the US removed the Paris agreement choke chain–they dislike the idea that the US will now be competitive in the global market.

    • Rhett Hardwick

      Worse, these things trickle down to the local level, such as Conservation Commissions. These are staffed by volunteers, very much given to “virtue signalling”. For instance, a friend with a 6 acre plot wanted to build houses in the rear for his children. The access would be a driveway, rather than a street. the ConCom demanded that the driveway be gravel, rather than asphalt “where is the water supposed to go?”. The question is truly de minimus. Do you know how difficult it is to effectively plow a gravel driveway? He does.

      • Mike678

        I wonder what the commission member driveways were made of… :)

  • BasicCaruso

    “What strikes me about this clause is that the climate alarmists warn that Narragansett Bay will actually expand with global warming. Sure, some habitats will change their nature, but if the size of an estuary is a positive thing, why should we take the reactionary view that nothing should change from its current condition?”

    Increased precipitation would result in increased runoff with more pollutants and nutrients flowing into the bay. With that you’ll see more frequent algae blooms, low oxygen events, and fish kills like this one…

    https://www.ecori.org/natural-resources/2015/7/29/large-fish-kills-on-providence-and-seekonk-rivers
    Scientists from the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) are monitoring a large fish kill of adult menhaden in the Seekonk and Providence rivers. Based on field observations and water-quality measurements, the ongoing incident is being caused by low oxygen levels in bottom waters.

    Or this one…
    http://narragansettbaykeeper.blogspot.com/2006/08/another-manifestation-of-climate_25.html
    The manifestation of climate change in Narragansett Bay is sometimes subtle, and at other times strikingly obvious. The clam kill we saw earlier this month was caused, in part, by hot water temperatures in the Bay following a record-setting heat wave. Temperature alone doesn’t cause fish and clam kills, it also takes excessive decomposing algae from blooms fueled by nitrogen in wastewater. Rotting algae suck up the dissolved oxygen and the higher the temperature, the less oxygen the water can hold.

    ———

    On the bright side though… more storms will produce some gnarly waves, dude!

    • Mike678

      Thanks Russ :)

  • BasicCaruso

    Justin may view this as a good thing, but what would the cost be RI businesses and taxpayers if the Ports of Providence and Quonset Point were frequently underwater? What would be a conservative response to this type of risk?

    https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/06/15/world/europe/climate-change-rotterdam.html?_r=0

    In any case, the safe transport of all those raw materials, not to mention the responsibility of keeping the feet of people in the city dry, now and in the future, depends on the Maeslantkering.

    The idea behind it, first discussed decades ago, was unprecedented — a monumental gate with two arms, resting on either side of the canal, each arm as tall and twice as heavy as the Eiffel Tower. It was a staggering work of engineering. Wim Quist, the architect, devised an object of surpassing beauty, one of modern Europe’s lesser-known marvels.

    Mr. van Waveren described how it works. When the gate is closed, the arms float out onto the canal, meet and lock, the tubes filling with water and sinking onto a concrete bed, making an impenetrable steel wall against the North Sea. The process takes two and a half hours. Pressure from the sea is then transferred from the wall to the largest ball joints in the world, embedded in the banks on either side of the river.

    Computers, using a closed electronic system to avoid cyberattack, monitor sea levels hourly and can shut the gate automatically — or open it. This is critical: Thirty pumps inside the gate are linked to one of the country’s power grids. They extract water from the tubes when it is time for the Maeslantkering to be reopened.

    If the grid fails, there is a backup grid and, as a last resort, a generator, because even more dangerous than the gate’s not closing is the gate’s not reopening. In that case, water pouring down from the Rhine and Meuse rivers could not flow into the sea and would overwhelm Rotterdam even more swiftly than the North Sea could. As Mr. Aboutaleb noted, escape would be impossible.

  • Merle The Monster

    Sure, some habitats will change their nature, but if the size of an estuary is a positive thing, why should we take the reactionary view that nothing should change from its current condition?

    Off the top of my head if the size of the bay increases so decreases the shoreline. Sea walls are expensive. Look for more expense for homes and businesses in efforts to repair ,replace or build sea walls. Loss of parking near marinas resulting in a loss of available boat slips and loss of revenue from boating. Regular street flooding on moon tides. Loss of homes and structures in low lying areas. How would the Field’s Pt, overflow tunnel fare in higher waters ? Hurricane barrier in the Providence River? What Basic C brings up about the fish kills is more about the increase in bay water temperatures that has happened in the last couple of summer seasons and not about higher water levels. BC is correct about an increase in pollution entering the bay through runoff and that would be a shame as the success of the sewerage overflow tunnel at Field’s Pt. has resulted in cleaner waters permitting the shellfish beds that have been closed for 75 years to reopen next spring. Katz i don’t think that it is reactionary to try to protect all the progress we have made in this State to preserve and protect one of our most treasured assets, Narragansett Bay.

  • BasicCaruso

    https://www.ecori.org/pollution-contamination/2017/6/15/aquidneck-island-goes-green-to-battle-polluted-stormwater
    The ponds that supply the Newport Water System and its nearly 15,000 service connections with drinking water and Aquidneck Island’s popular beaches are being stressed by stormwater runoff carrying nutrients such as phosphorus and nitrogen.

    This runoff, polluted as a result of pet waste, geese waste, and agricultural and golf course fertilizers, ends up contaminating drinking-water supplies and beach water.

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