International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director Blames Climate Change for Slow Economic Recovery


At a news conference Monday in Washington D.C., the IMF’s managing director, Christine Lagard, suggested climate change might be a factor in the U.S.’s slow economic recovery the past several years, and that it could make economic predictions more difficult in the future. Years of disappointing growth mean the economy might not reach full employment – which many economists say is when the unemployment rate is between 5 and 5.5 percent – for three more years, according to an Associated Press report on the IMF’s latest predictions.

In releasing the predictions, Lagard said: “extreme weather occurrences have repeated much more frequently in the past 20 years than the previous century,” she stressed. “That’s a reason to wonder about climate change and how to deal with it.”

Meanwhile, in Wisconsin, home state of former Senator Gaylord Nelson, who founded Earth Day and was a presidential “Medal of Freedom” recipient in 1995, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) approved steps last week to allow a controversial Canadian tar sands crude oil pipeline expansion through Wisconsin closer to reality, according to a Wisconsin State Journal news report by Samara Kalk Derby. “The move immediately drew criticism from environmentalist”, said the report.

The crude bitumen contained in the Canadian oil sands is described by the National Energy Board of Canada as “a highly viscous mixture of hydrocarbons heavier than pentanes which, in its natural state, is not usually recoverable at a commercial rate through a well because it is too thick to flow.” Crude bitumen is a thick, sticky form of crude oil, so heavy and viscous (thick) that it will not flow unless heated or diluted with lighter hydrocarbons such as light crude oil or natural-gas condensate. At room temperature, it is much like cold molasses. Producing a barrel of oil from the oil sands produces three times more greenhouse gas emissions than a barrel of conventional oil, due to the heating and energy required to process and transport the heavy crude.

The DNR approved an air construction permit for expanding crude oil storage capacity at a Superior oil terminal owned by Houston Based Enbridge Energy Company, and located on the shore of Lake Superior, despite receiving more than 200 written comments and about 3,400 emails from the public on the proposed action.

Lake Superior is the upper most of the 5 Great Lakes and the largest freshwater lake by area in the world. According to a study by professors at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Lake Superior average water temperatures have increased by about 4.5 °F (2.5 °C) since 1979, compared with an approximately 2.7 °F (1.5 °C) increase in the surrounding average air temperature [Marshall, Jessica. (2007-05-30.) “Global warming is shrinking the Great Lakes.” New Scientist, via]

The Sierra Club said the proposal triples the present capacity of the pipeline, creating the largest tar sands pipeline in the United States, according Kalk Derby’s report.

The DNR said it did environmental assessments for the pipeline companies projects in 2006 and in 2009. However, it did not do the more extensive “Environmental Impact Statement”, which requires a an a more detailed and in depth analysis as well as a series of public hearings, and which is required by the state Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act” of 1972 for all major projects “significantly affecting the quality of the environment”. The Wisconsin Environmental Policy Act (WEPA) is a state law designed to encourage environmentally sensitive decision-making by Wisconsin state agencies.

Gaylord Nelson: “Our goal is not just an environment of clean air and water and scenic beauty. The objective is an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all other human beings and all other living creatures.” [Part of Earth Day speech, April 22, 1970 – 1st Earth Day]

About Mike Neuman

Identical twin; Long-time advocate of protection of our environment; Married; Father to three sons; Grandfather to one granddaughter; Born and raised in Wisconsin; Graduate of University of Wisconsin; post graduate degrees in agricultural economics and Water Resources Management fro UWMadison; Former School Crossing Guard for City of Madison; Bike to Work for 31 years with Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources; Retired from DNR in 2007; Biked to school crossing guard site 2 X daily for 7 years retiring in 2019; in addition to being an advocate of safeguarding our environment, I am also an advocate for humane treatment of animal, children, and people in need of financial resource for humane living. I am presently a Volunteer for Habitat for Humanity, Madison, Wisconsin. I oppose all long (>500 miles) distance travel (via fossil fuel burning) for nonessential purposes and all ownership of more than one home. I am opposed to militarism in any form particularly for the purpose of monetary gain. I am a Strong believer in people everywhere having the right to speak their minds openly, without any fear of reprisal, regarding any concerns; especially against those in authority who are not acting for the public good?in a timely fashion and in all countries of the world not just the U S.. My identical twin, Pat, died in June 2009. He was fired from his job with the National Weather Service despite having a long and successful career as a flood forecaster with the Kansas City National Weather Service. He took a new position in the Midwest Regional Office in Minneapolis. Unfortunately, Pat’s work for the NWS went sour after he began to see the evidence for concern about rising global temperatures shortly after relocating to Minneapolis, and how they appeared to effect of flooding on the Red River that flows out of Canada before entering the U.S. in North Dakota. . Pat and I conversed on a regular basis with other scientists on the Yahoo Group named “Climate Concern “ and by personal email. The NWS denied his recommendation to give his public presentation o n his research at the “Minneapolis Mall of America” in February 2000, which deeply affected h,im. I will h He strongly believed the information ought be shared with the public to which I concurred. That was the beginning of the vendetta against my brother, Patrick J. Neuman, for speaking strongly of the obligations the federal government was responsible for accurately informing the citizenry. A way great similar response to my raising the issue of too many greenhouse gases being emitted by drivers of vehicles on Wisconsin highway system, my immediate supervisors directed: “that neither global warming, climate change nor the long term impacts upon the natural resources of Wisconsin from expansion of the state highway system were to be any part of my job requirements, and that I must not communicate, nor in a memorandum to all the bureau, shall any person who works in the same bureau I do communicate with me, neither verbally on the phone, by email.

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