Year 3, Month 8, Day 12: What Would You Do If The People You Knew…?

The Monterey County Herald (CA) tells it like it is:

The United States, among the top three emitters of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, cannot hope to confront climate change unless our political leaders stop tiptoeing around the issue. Few scientists doubt that the Earth’s climate is changing and growing warmer. Only a small number of skeptics dispute that humans are a prime cause of the problem, and the ranks of the skeptics just got smaller, with UC Berkeley physics professor Richard Muller joining the overwhelming scientific consensus that global warming is real and that human-caused pollution is a major culprit.

Describing his “total turnaround,” Muller wrote in a Sunday column for the New York Times: “Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.”

This summer offers a sense of the consequences. We’ve seen huge drought, Colorado on fire, and Atlanta recording its hottest day in history. While it’s impossible to tie specific events to climate change, these are the kinds of extremes we will increasingly see unless emissions are brought under control.

On the campaign trail, there is plenty of vague talk about “energy independence” or “clean energy,” with both presidential candidates ducking what policies they will pursue to reduce greenhouse gases.

J. Lo had TWINS! OMG! Sent August 1:

There is no better demonstration of the complementary dysfunctions of American media and American politics than the failure of both systems to properly address global warming. In a culture where news is a form of entertainment, it makes a bizarre sort of sense that the long-term consequences of atmospheric carbon dioxide are ignored or dismissed in favor of the latest celebrity scandal. When the subject is discussed at all, every genuine climatologist is “balanced” by a petroleum-funded spokesperson, creating the utterly false impression that the science of climate change is still unresolved. This is like including a member of the Flat Earth Society in a segment on the space program.

Things are no better in the political arena. An official in the previous administration famously asserted, in a conversation with journalist Ron Suskind, that “We’re an empire…we make our own reality.” We are indeed making our own reality, and it’s going to include droughts, wildfires, resource wars, steadily rising temperatures, ocean acidification, and all the other epiphenomena of an accelerating greenhouse effect. Pitting the exigencies of political theater against the laws of physics and chemistry is a recipe for disaster.

Warren Senders

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