Folks, fair warning. This is going to be a rant. I just saw a post at FiredUp! that got me worked up. The gist:
Roy Blunt, who declared during his U.S. Senate campaign that “there isn’t any real science to say we are altering the climate path of the earth,” has cosponsored legislation to completely eliminate the Environment [sic] Protection Agency.
Why am I so exercised by this same ol’, same ol’ posturing? I just finished reading Hot: “Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth, by long-time climate reporter Mark Hertsgaard. It didn’t tell me anything I didn’t already know, but it broke it all down, tracing the trajectory of changes that are already taking place, that cannot now be stopped, only mitigated. It painted a clear picture of the world my dear nieces and nephews and all the lovely children and grandchildren of my friends will have to face.
So what’s the world, literally, coming to? Nothing is absolutely, picture-perfect sure, of course, except that the world I know, that formed the experience of my father and his father will disappear. My beautiful California, the incomparable Central Coast where I grew up, is likely to dry up and blow away as the Sierra snow pack that waters the state continues to disappear. Low lying cities such New York and Miami will have to hustle to ward of the flooding that threatens them as sea level continues to rise. You doubt me? It’s already beginning to happen along the Atlantic seaboard. Island nations in the South Pacific are already disappearing.
We will see more extreme storm activity, floods like this spring’s will be more commonplace – but may well alternate with equally debilitating droughts. You think Missouri farmers who oppose cap-and-trade have a point about somewhat higher immediate energy costs? When their farms are part of the new dust bowl, ask them if they maybe should have listened to the scientific Cassandras who carried the warning, instead of politicians on the energy industry dole, or those quislings who worry that climate change isn’t a winning political issue.
Plants and animal species will die out or migrate, upsetting a biological equilibrium that has endured for millenia. Think there’s a problem with economic migration right now? Wait until whole populations are displaced by drought, flood, and loss of land mass. Think about starvation, disease and war in the underdeveloped areas, and diminished quality of life in the richer countries – nobody will get off free.
Do I really believe this or something like it will happen in the next 50 plus years? Absolutely – although the effects may be lessened if people begin now to plan on how to adapt to the coming changes – and to mitigate the rate of change. The weight of genuine authority, the word of people who have made the study of this issue their life’s work, is overwhelming.
For example, take the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences, in the words of the Washington Post, “the country’s preeminent institution chartered to provide scientific advice to lawmakers.” A new report released by the National Research Council presents findings that indicate that:
Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems.
Guess ol’ Roy just decided to ignore these experts charged with making their expertise available to guide his decisions. But that’s par for the course – stop and think about who always disputes the effects of climate change and the need to address it? As the Washington Post observes, we have been misled, and the most prominent culprits are just too dumb to hide:
None of this should come as a surprise. None of this is news. But it is newsworthy, sadly, because the Republican Party, and therefore the U.S. government, have moved so far from reality and responsibility in their approach to climate change.
Seizing on inevitable points of uncertainty in something as complex as climate science, and on misreported pseudo-scandals among a few scientists, Republican members of Congress, presidential candidates and other leaders pretend that the dangers of climate change are hypothetical and unproven and the causes uncertain.
To put it in local terms, think about ex-insurance shill, Blaine Luetkemeyer, and his war against the IPCC. Or good ol’ boy auctioneer Billy Long and all the other clowns who, get this, voted to refute the fact of climate change.
And then there’s always the oil exec’s best friend, Roy Blunt. I hope he enjoys the thirty pieces of silver he got from his big oil cronies – because if there is actually something like an afterlife, I’m sure he’ll get a very warm, make that blistering, reception.