Thursday, January 24, 2013

Global Warming And The Old Confederacy


Tuvalu comprises nine coral atolls between Australia and Hawaii. Their highest point is 15 feet above sea level. As sea level has risen, Tuvalu has experienced lowland flooding. Saltwater intrusion is adversely affecting drinking water and food production. Tuvalu's leaders predict that the nation will be submerged in 50 years. The map above isn't Tuvalu; it's Florida by 2100 if the oceans continue to rise

I was struck by something in Ken's Monday night post about The South. He quotes Garry Wills, a son of The South, explaining how "the current South is willing to cut off its own nose to show contempt for the government," citing the case of Florida Gov. Rick Scott turning down $2 billion-plus for a high-speed rail system "that would have created jobs and millions of dollars in revenues" ("in this mood, his forebears would have turned down TVA") as well as encroachments like federal money for better health care (which "no one needs more than the South"), not to mention possible government largesse for education ("preferring to inoculate its children against science by denying evolution"). The part that I couldn't get out of my mind though was when Wills asserted that "No part of the country will suffer the effects of global warming earlier or with more devastation than the South, yet its politicians resist measures to curb carbon emissions and deny the very existence of climate change-- sending it to the dungeon with evolution and biblical errancy. One doesn't need much imagination to see the South with lowered or swollen waters in its rivers and ports, raging kudzu, swarming mosquitos, and record-breaking high temperatures, still telling itself that global-warming talk is just a liberal conspiracy. But it just digs deeper in denial. The South has decided to be defeated and dumb..." And they are absolutely positive they are entitled to their own facts and their own reality.

In Monday's Inaugural Address, President Obama infuriated Confederate Republicans by bringing up Climate Change. “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms." Guess who saw that as a slap to their faces? And he even brought God into it... something they believe only they are allowed to invoke. “The path toward sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult. But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it. We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries-- we must claim its promise. That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure-- our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared."

This is a tough one politically. Republican financial backers-- Big Energy (which has dumped over a quarter billion dollars into lobbying Congress last year alone and has spent $419,749,114 on political races since 1990, almost all of it going to Republicans and Blue Dogs)-- have demanded that slowing down amelioration of Climate Change be non-negotiable. They have taken their case to the public, spending millions of dollars on misleading advertising and other media efforts. And it's paid off. The public is confused and unsure about global warming, climate change and Science itself.

According to the poll, which was conducted last week, 49% agree with the White House that global warming is a proven fact and is due to emissions from cars, power plants and factories. That's twice as high as the number who say that global warming has not been proven, as well as the 24% who say that it is a proven fact but is not due to manmade sources. But the 49% figure is down seven points from 2007.

There's an expected partisan divide on the question, with two-thirds of Democrats saying global warming is man made. That number drops to 48% among independent voters and is at 28% among Republicans.

The president tried and failed in his first term to get a climate change bill through Congress.
If you get your information from Fox or from someone who gets it from Fox, chances are you are living in a universe constructed by the Koch brothers and other right-wing extremists looking to make a buck while destroying the planet. And there's a good chance you believe the Sandy Hook massacre was a hoax perpetrated by Obama so he could grab your guns. How do you argue with people like these?
“We need to make sure that we tackle climate change in these next four years and this president is going to do it,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, wearing his traditional ten-gallon hat and bolo tie, told the crowd Monday night.

“We are going to lift our game in the interlocking challenges of climate change and energy,” said John Holdren, who is Obama’s top science adviser.

“Energy and climate policy are going to be a top priority,” added Heather Zichal, the top White House energy and climate aide.

...“On public lands alone, we have already permitted 10,400 megawatts of renewable energy power in the United States,” said Salazar, who is stepping down in March.

“We are going to achieve the President’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent by 2020,” Zichal told the crowd.

Other speakers included Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Jon Wellinghoff, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, and Energy Secretary Steven Chu.

Obama administration officials have touted several first-term policies like substantially toughening auto mileage standards, but the administration also faced setbacks on climate change and energy, including the collapse of emissions-capping legislation in Congress.

The president has yet to fill in the details of his second-term climate agenda.

Climate advocates are pushing for several executive actions. Among them: Environmental Protection Agency's establishment of carbon emissions standards for existing power plants.
Vermont's Independent Senator Bernie Sanders was relieved to hear Obama speak up so forcefully on Climate Change. I wish my own two senators would release statements as thoughtful and positive:
“The president is right to make action on global warming a central goal of his administration. The overwhelming scientific consensus is clear. Unless we take bold action soon the temperature of our planet could rise by up to 8 degrees Fahrenheit. That would be catastrophic. The Senate is about to vote on more than $50 billion in aid to help recover from Hurricane Sandy and insurers tell us that is only a fraction of the price we will continue to pay for extreme natural disasters made worse by our warming planet.

“While the president can, and must, move aggressively to use executive powers to reduce pollution and reject harmful projects like the Keystone XL pipeline, he also must help lead an effort to pass strong legislation that moves our nation away from polluting fossil fuels and toward energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

“Next month, I will introduce comprehensive legislation that will charge the fossil fuel corporations a fee for their carbon pollution. My legislation will end fossil fuel subsidies, and as the president called for, make historic investments in energy efficiency and sustainable energy technologies such as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. This bill will also ensure that all Americans receive a rebate to offset any efforts by the fossil fuel companies to jack up their prices.

“The president and Congress have made some good progress in his first term, including significant investments in clean energy and strong new fuel economy standards for cars and trucks. To put meaning into the words he eloquently expressed in his Inaugural Address, and to protect our planet for our children and grandchildren, we must do much, much more. We must do nothing less than transform our energy system away from fossil fuels into energy efficiency and sustainable energy. When we do that we will not only lead the world in a new direction but create millions of jobs in the United States.”

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At 2:22 PM, Blogger DARLENE SWAIM said...

thank you for this. Excellant point -- why does Media FAIL to report?

At 2:23 PM, Blogger DARLENE SWAIM said...

excellant point -- much needed, why doesn't media report?

At 3:53 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

The Earth is a living thing. It goes through cycles. Florida has been completely submerged by the Sea before. For example, you will not find dinosaur fossils in Florida as it was under the sea during that time. It has also been much larger due to lower sea levels during the Ice age and mini Ice age. So it shall be again. Confederate Republicans? Interesting as the Democrats were the Confederates if you know your history. Lincoln being a Republican. Quite the slanted report here. Website is nice though.


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