By: Mark Glennon*
I guess I’ll just have to live with all the ridicule that goes with being a skeptic about a climate topic, but when I saw the headline, Global Warming Threatens Chicago Tourism, I had to wonder if maybe, just maybe, warm isn’t bad for tourism here.
That’s indeed the title of a piece published today by Holly Agra, President of Chicago’s First Lady Cruises and member of the U.S. Travel and Tourism Advisory Board, which advises the U.S. Commerce Secretary on the travel and tourism industry. I’m sure she’s a good and well-intentioned person, judging from poking around on the internet a bit, and quite prominent as well. It looks like she has volunteered loads of time promoting Chicago and she cares about the environment, which are great, and her family has owned that Chicago tour boat business, which my family and I enjoy, for four generations.
President Obama, Governor Quinn and Mayor Emanuel must be commended for their climate work, she wrote in her article. Her business has been hurt by erratic, crummy weather, she says — undoubtedly true and regrettable.
But I just couldn’t help thinking that warming isn’t a problem for her Chicago tour boats. Is she advising the Commerce Secretary that warm weather is hurting travel to Chicago?
Maybe I was being unfair since, contrary to the headline, the article is mostly about “climate change,” not global warming. Shouldn’t I have cut her some slack because, given how cold it’s been this week, she’s entitled to morph from warming into climate change? Heck, don’t plenty of climate writers do that when it’s cold?
She does have lots of examples of how erratic the weather has been in Chicago in recent years, but then I wondered if it’s worse now than in the past, and if it’s due to the carbon emissions targeted by the pols she praised. She doesn’t cover that so they must not be good questions. Just science-hating skepticism that would make me ask, I guess. There’s a consensus of peer reviewed experts out there, no doubt, who would confirm Chicago’s weather is more screwy than ever and carbon did it.
One last thing. I noticed in Ms. Agra’s bio that she’s also been on the Illinois Export Advisory Board for two years, which has been “working to help Gov. Quinn double Illinois exports by 2014.” “Hmm, I wondered, “how’s that working out?”
Maybe skepticism is habit forming.
*Mark Glennon is founder of WirePoints