Boots & Sabers

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0642, 06 Jun 17

Golf and Climate Change

My column for the Washington County Daily News is online. Here you go:

Next week the U.S. Open Championship, one of the world’s marquee golf events, will come to Wisconsin for the first time in history at the Erin Hills golf course in scenic Washington County. The weeklong golf extravaganza is expected to bring thousands of visitors and have an estimated economic impact of $130 million. Wisconsin has officially become a golf destination.

Erin Hills is 652 acres of gorgeous pristine land that was scraped into the elegant curves, peaks, and valleys that distinguish the area known as the Kettle Moraine. The towering nearby Holy Hill will sentinel the visitors and the innumerable pockets of shade will provide a welcome respite from the warm (I hope) sun. Wisconsin welcomes the U.S. Open, but the inescapable fact is that this would never have happened had it not been for global warming.

The area we know as the Kettle Moraine is said to have been formed during the last Ice Age when a vast sheet of ice covered Wisconsin as far south as Walworth County. As the earth warmed, the ice melted and scampered back into Canada leaving behind a Wisconsin landscape teeming with biodiversity and sculpted into regions perfect for farming, fishing, and yes, golfing.

The mania over the United States’ withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord indicates that some folks are no longer capable of having a rational discussion regarding climate change, what it means, and the costs and benefits of various public policy options regarding climate change. Various factions have galvanized into reactive shock troops that are divorced from reason and defend their positions with the religious fanaticism of David Koresh.

Let us start with the basics. The earth’s climate changes. It always has. It always will. It changes because of many forces at play including the sun’s activity, volcanic eruptions, celestial collisions, and the activity of organisms on it. The approximately seven billion humans on earth are part of the picture — particularly with our capacity to manipulate our surroundings to our benefit. It is common sense that the climate is changing and that human activity has an impact on that change.

The next question we need to answer is how is the climate changing? Many climatologists argue that the climate is warming and will continue to do so. Much of that research is in doubt because of numerable reports of fraud, manipulated data, and the fact that much of that research is funded by governments and people with a vested interest in reaching that conclusion (always follow the money). It is also worth noting that the global warming adherents have been almost universally wrong when making predictions.

But given that the climate is changing, there is some chance that it is getting warmer. Let us stipulate to that probability and move on to the next question, is it good or bad that the climate might be warming?

The answer to that question depends on one’s frame of reference and perspective. Any change has positive and negative consequences and climate change is not any different. If the globe warms significantly, scientists predict that many islands will be submerged and coastal areas flooded as the oceans rise. Conversely, vast areas of tundra in Russia and Canada that are now locked in permafrost would melt and become farmable, thus helping provide jobs and food for billions of humans. There are undoubtedly millions of additional consequences if the globe warms, but nobody can categorically predict whether the net effect of those consequences would be good or bad.

So if the globe might be warming and that might be a bad thing, what public policies should we enact to “combat” it? And at what cost? Therein lies the rub. There is broad agreement in America, if not yet in other nations, that we want to take reasonable measures to make our environment as clean and sustainable as possible. We are even willing to pay more and sacrifice some comforts to achieve those ends. We want that not really because of anything to do with climate change, but because we do not want to breathe toxins, spread diseases, or drink unclean water.

What we do not all agree upon is that we should surrender our way of life and cripple our economy in order to combat the possibility that the earth may be warming and that might be a bad thing. Humans have proven tremendously adaptable and are capable of weathering moderate changes in climate. Simply put, the cost of the Paris Climate Accord was too high for the perceived benefits rendered. President Trump was right to pull out of the deal, and the baying of foreign liberals has far more to do with the fact that they will not be able to fleece American tax payers (always follow the money) than it does with how warm the earth might be in the year 2200.

After golfers from all over the world come to Wisconsin to enjoy the beautiful landscapes and lush foliage of the Kettle Moraine, let us hope that some of them return to their homes thankful for the warming planet that made it all possible.


0642, 06 June 2017


  1. Kevin Scheunemann

    Yeah global warming!

    I want more warming!

    More golf year around is nice too!

  2. billphoto

    Shame, shame Owen.  You’re going to trigger the alarmists.  Personally, I subscribe to the research that says another “Maunder Minimum” is coming so I am tuning up my snowshoes.

  3. dad29

    I’m with Bill….but I’m giving snowshoes to the chilluns for Christmas.  Next minimum won’t happen on my watch.

  4. Le Roi du Nord


    “Conversely, vast areas of tundra in Russia and Canada that are now locked in permafrost would melt and become farmable, thus helping provide jobs and food for billions of humans”.

    Now you need to provide some proof.  Unless the warming also changes the soil types and increases sunlight this is really a factless statement.

    You know what S. Clemens said about golf, “It is a good walk wasted”.

  5. Kevin Scheunemann


    Shame on you.   Demanding “proof” from others when you still have not provided proof on my “Big Bang” question?

    You are so disappointing when it come to fairness.

  6. billphoto

    I  have proof.  “Ask those living in  low lying coastal areas around the globe how they like rising sea levels due to a warmer climate.  There was a great article on AP this week about Native Americans being force their historical island home in AK due to rising sea levels.  Another about subsistence hunters that no longer have their primary food source available due to melting polar ice.”  credit goes to Le Roi du Nord.

  7. Le Roi du Nord

    b:  I credited AP wire service.  No need to give me credit.

  8. Jason

    This seems taylor made for you – Le Roy de Bored?  “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”  George Orwell.  Close to the mark there Al?

  9. billphoto

    AP is a great source for information … or fake news.

    February 15, 2017 – The Department of Homeland Security is roundly condemning an Associated Press story that broke Friday morning about considering the use of the National Guard to “round up” undocumented immigrants. The DHS says that isn’t true, and—contra the AP’s reporting—that DHS Secretary John Kelly didn’t write the draft memo.

    March 5, 2017 – Every time the AP mentions FISAgate, it includes this ritual defense of the Obama administration:

    Trump has offered no evidence or details to support his claim, and Obama’s spokesman has denied it.

    The AP’s statement is false. It is a classic instance of fake news. Barack Obama’s spokesman has not denied that “the Obama administration wiretapped Trump Tower last year.” He only denied that Barack Obama personally ordered such surveillance.

    March 20, 2017 – The Associated Press on Monday released a news making story with a glaring headline claiming that “Most young Americans don’t see Trump as a legitimate leader.”

    A closer look at the survey finds it was conducted by a group financed by billionaire George Soros whose activist arm demands reparations for slavery and “mass incarceration,” and has engaged in anti-police activism.


    In addition, the survey was not representative of the racial and ethnic profiles of young adults. Instead it focused heavily on demographic samples of populations that voted overwhelmingly against Donald Trump.

  10. Le Roi du Nord

    Rather than change the subject, do you disagree with the two articles I referenced??  Did you even read them?

  11. Kevin Scheunemann


    Your source is busted as not being credible.

  12. billphoto

    Not AP too much.  Actually I watch CNN all day but frequently check Salon and Snopes to make sure I am getting the right information ABC, CBS and NBC are also my favorites especially George Stepanopolis.  I always trust him for unbiased truthful reporting.

  13. Paul

    White nationalist troll La Reine du Bore is owned again.

  14. Pat

    Trump just proposed to republican leaders a solar wall between the US and Mexico!!!!

  15. Le Roi du Nord

    “Your source is busted as not being credible”.   How so ?  Or just your opinion?

  16. kjanz1899

    Vegetables That Grow in the Shade
    Salad Greens, such as leaf lettuce, arugula, endive, and cress.
    Brussels Sprouts.
    Swiss Chard, and many more.

  17. Le Roi du Nord


    Actually, those species and varieties like sunlight, but do handle cooler weather.  Few agriculteral crops do well in the shade.  You can look it up.

    And the transportation costs (say tundra to Tulsa) for those crops will be subsidized by all the CC/GW deniers, right?

  18. NHolland

    This is the most irresponsible column Owen has ever written.
    I want Owen to forward a copy of this letter to all the starving children around the world already being effeted by global warming related droughts. Also forward it to the parents of those who have already died. It should be so reassuring to them that we get to play golf.

  19. NHolland

    “We want that not really because of anything to do with climate change, but because we do not want to breathe toxins, spread disease, or drink unclean water.”
    I am glad you want this and with your acknowledgment the place to start is with the fossil fuel industry.
    The burning of coal alone, not mention the mining of coal, in the US produces 109 tons of mercury, 7884 tons of arsenic, 1667 tons of beryllium, 750 tons of cadmium, 8810 tons of chromium, 9339 tons of nickel and 2587 tons of selenium. Also, 1.9 billion tons of CO2. But according to Kevin the CO2 is good for us. Wait, wait did I mention the other chemicals/heavy metals left from the burning of coal…
    Should I talk about the burning of other fossil fuels? What about the drilling, mining, production or refining of other fossil fuels. Its actually shameful what we allow to happen to our planet in the name of profit… Or GOLF! Especially, when there are alternatives.

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