All Through History Conservatives Have Been The Anti-Science Party-- And That Fits The GOP Perfectly
In The Atlantic on Monday, Mischa Fisher, a GOP operative, tried making the case that Republicans aren't really the anti-science party. Really? Tell it to the victims of Global Warmiong in the Philippines-- or to the 5.6 million residents of Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach counties in South Florida who may have to decide between moving inland or drowning. Incredulously, The Atlantic gave Fisher the space to make the case that people see the GOP as the anti-science party, not because they are, but because Chris Mooney and Bill Maher tell people they are. Georgia Congressman and GOP Senate candidate Paul Broun aside, "Republicans, conservatives, and the religious," he writes, "are no more uniquely 'anti-science' than any other demographic or political group. It’s just that 'anti-science' has been defined using a limited set of issues that make the right wing and religious look relatively worse." So what, he insists, if they don't believe in evolution and global warming! After all, there are also Democrats who don't believe in evolution and global warming either. And Democrats, he insists, believe in astrology! "Left-wing ideologues also frequently espouse an irrational fear of nuclear power, genetic modification, and industrial and agricultural chemistry-- even though all of these scientific breakthroughs have enriched lives, lengthened lifespans, and produced substantial economic growth over the last century."
Let's forget for the sake of argument, though, that the anti-global warming and anti-evolution Democrats don't control their party and don't keep the U.S. from moving towards simple societal self-preservation. Nowhere in his column does Fischer mention the Koch brothers and the role their self-serving targeted contributions-- legalistic bribery, plain and simple-- play in preventing the country from going off the environmental/climate change cliff. Fisher's solution to climate change: a GOP-friendly proliferation of nuclear energy. And, yes, he mentioned Fukushima exactly as frequently as he mentioned the Koch brothers. Nor, did he bring up the prospect of Orlando becoming beach front property.
In the most dire predictions, South Florida’s delicate barrier islands, coastal communities and captivating subtropical beaches will be lost to the rising waters in as few as 100 years.Nick Ruiz, a professor in Orlando and a former Green Party candidate who is running for Congress as a Democrat has a platform that promises to protect the environment and deal seriously with Climate Change. Blue America endorsed him. This morning he told me that "There's probably not a single scientist on the planet that has good news about the threat global warming presents to Florida. So why do Rep. John Mica and Sen. Marco Rubio continue to bury their heads in the sand on the issue? Who wins if we do nothing now on climate change? Well, the easy answer is: many of their contributors. No one wants to spend money, or lose potential money in real estate development, because of global warming - which is sure to be one of the most expensive projects Florida has faced due to the rising ocean. We're going to lose land. Alot of it. That's a fact. Will we continue to develop shoreline, when we know this to be the case? We probably shouldn't. Is Florida's stormwater management infrastructure sufficient for what is going to come, year by year? Probably not. These are the hard conversations that Mr. Mica and Mr. Rubio aren't keen to have with constituents, but we absolutely must have this discussion now."
Further inland, the Everglades, the river of grass that gives the region its fresh water, could one day be useless, some scientists fear, contaminated by the inexorable advance of the salt-filled ocean. The Florida Keys, the pearl-like strand of islands that stretches into the Gulf of Mexico, would be mostly submerged alongside their exotic crown jewel, Key West.
“I don’t think people realize how vulnerable Florida is,” Harold R. Wanless, the chairman of the geological sciences department at the University of Miami, said in an interview last week. “We’re going to get four or five or six feet of water, or more, by the end of the century. You have to wake up to the reality of what’s coming.”
…“People tend to underestimate the gravity here, I think, because it sounds far off,” said Ben Strauss, the director of the Program on Sea Level Rise at Climate Central, an independent organization of scientists. “People are starting to tune in, but it’s not front and center. Miami is a boom town now, but in the future that I’m very confident will come, it will be obvious to everyone that the sea is marching inland and it’s not going to stop.”
The effects on real estate value alone could be devastating, Mr. Strauss said. His research shows that there is about $156 billion worth of property, and 300,000 homes, on 2,120 square miles of land that is less than three feet above the high tide line in Florida.
At that same level, Mr. Strauss said, Florida has 2,555 miles of road, 35 public schools, one power plant and 966 sites listed by the Environmental Protection Agency, such as hazardous waste dumps and sewage plants.
The amount of real estate value, and the number of properties potentially affected, rises incrementally with each inch of sea-level rise, he said.
Professor Wanless insists that no amount of engineering proposals will stop the onslaught of the seas. “At two to three feet, we start to lose everything,” he said.
The only answer, he said, is to consider drastic measures like establishing a moratorium on development along coastal areas and to compel residents whose homes are threatened to move inland.
|On the left, the Democrats' Florida; on the right is the GOP Florida|