06/03/2014 09:21 am ET Updated Aug 03, 2014

Just Desserts: If You Can't Stand the Heat, Get Out of the CO2

At another time in my life, I enthusiastically tried to convince reporters to cover a Congressional hearing about dying coral reefs. (Warming ocean temperatures the culprit.) It was all about sounding the alarm about global warming, which is what climate change was called back then.

C'mon folks, coral reefs are dying!! We gotta do something!!!


No one responded.

It was around the same time that I was steadying the chair upon which my then-boss would climb so he could flip up the poster board showing just how much CO2 levels were going to rise, and with them, temperatures, sea level, blood pressure, you name it.

Reporters rolled their eyes.

Now, I'm a pastry chef rolling dough and my old boss is rolling in dough, with an Academy Award and a Nobel Prize on his shelf. (I have a lot of cookbooks,)

And while a lot more people are nodding their heads in agreement on the need to do something about climate change, there are still folks deaf to the alarm. Like House Speaker John Boehner, who says he's not qualified to talk about it.


"Listen," he said to reporters, who of course reported what he said. "I'm not qualified to debate the science over climate change." And Boehner's not the only Republican claiming a lack of scientific qualifications on the most obvious environmental problem since the ice age killed the dinosaurs.

But Boehner does know enough to say, "I am astute to understand that every proposal that has come out of this administration to deal with climate change involves hurting our economy and killing American jobs."


I'm having flashbacks. And it has nothing to do with the heat in the kitchen. Back in the days when Al Gore was about the only one sounding the climate change alarm, Republicans were also in denial. ("Denial ain't just a river in Egypt," Gore would famously remind us.)

The GOPers would trot out their 'scientists' -- paid for by the coal industry -- to pooh-pooh the real scientists warning of the danger. Now, there are more scientists warning of the danger, and the GOPers are simply trying to avoid the conversation.

Except, of course, to say that whatever we do, will kill the economy and jobs.

I'm not an economist or a scientist. I can tell you how baking powder and baking soda react. I can warn you not to knead your dough too much (you get the gluten too excited and end up with inedible everything).

But the fact is, you don't have to be a scientist to understand that we're throwing too much bad stuff into the air to expect much good back. And you don't need to be an economist to see the job-creating, economy-boosting opportunities in clean energy.

And so, the Obama administration offers its proposal to curb CO2 emissions from existing coal power plants. The Washington Post says, "the rule represents one of the most significant steps the federal government has ever taken to curb the nation's greenhouse gas emissions, which are linked to climate change."

Oh, yeah, they add: "the proposal is sure to spark a major political and legal battle."

Which is exactly why I feel like I'm once again trying to convince reporters to cover a hearing about dying coral reefs.

C'mon folks!! We gotta do something!!!


Me? I'm keeping the oven off today - to avoid adding any heat to an already too-hot debate (not to mention the environment). Which makes this a great day to make old-fashioned icing and cover up some cupcakes.

Here's my favorite recipe.

Old Fashioned Icing

8 oz Unsalted Butter (Two sticks)
8 oz White Shortening
1 ½ c Confectioners' Sugar
4 T Evaporated Milk
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
pinch Salt

Beat together butter and shortening. Add remaining ingredients until light and fluffy. (Feel free to mix in crushed Oreo cookies or crushed chocolate peanut butter cups or M&Ms... you get the picture..) Makes 4 cups