The Watering Hole; Thursday October 27 2016; Climate Disruption and Denial

I heard a thousand blended notes,
While in a grove I sate reclined,
In that sweet mood when pleasant thoughts
Bring sad thoughts to the mind.

To her fair works did Nature link
The human soul that through me ran;
And much it grieved my heart to think
What man has made of man.
(William Wordsworth, from “Lines Written in Early Spring”)

I recently ran across this, a journalistic outline and review of Donald Trump’s energy “policy” proposals. The article points out that

In his plan, Trump promised to lift restrictions on the production of shale, oil, natural gas, and “clean” coal. He also promised to lift “roadblocks” to “vital” energy infrastructure projects, “like the Keystone pipeline.” And he pledged to cancel payments to the U.N. climate change programs, saying he would instead funnel that money back to clean water and infrastructure projects.

This is far from the first time Trump has promised to enact policies that would effectively halt — if not completely dismantle — much of the environmental progress championed by President Obama. And his promises here dovetail nicely with earlier policy ideas: open up federal lands for unfettered coal extraction, support offshore oil drilling, and generally move away from any kind of international climate cooperation.

As far as I’m concerned, that set of Trumpian proposals — were they to be carried out –would be the equivalent of a policy whose ultimate purpose might as well be to dismantle the whole country, break it into a thousand pieces, then sell them to whomever and brag about how much money we’re bringing in from those international markets. The Trump solution to everything seems to be to disallow logic, disallow science, and allow only greed and destruction (there’s money in it) — in order to, of course, ‘Make Amurkkka Great Again’ in the process.

Problem is, the guy’s a fool and has no concept of anything other than how to lie, cheat, steal, and cover it all up.

The fact of the matter is simple: extraction of fossil fuels is destructive to the environment from virtually any perspective. Mining leaves obvious scars on the land and its debris messes up rivers and the streams that feed them. Fracking can cause both subsurface water pollution and earthquakes. Oil, once removed from underground, can be a deadly surface pollutant via virtually any means of transport and/or storage. And burning fossil fuels causes air pollution in the short term, and courtesy of the conversion of virtually all “harvested” fossil carbon into atmospheric Carbon Dioxide, causes global warming and climate change which can and WILL ultimately, if not stopped, put the entire of the planet’s biosphere and every life form implicit therein at severe risk.

For far too many, the easy way around that problem is simple: denial. Humans aren’t causing the climate to change. The climate is always changing. Only god is powerful enough to change the earth’s climate. It still snows in the winter, right? There’ve always been droughts, floods, hurricanes, hot spells, cold snaps. Nothing new there.  And, of course, the warming oceans, the acidification of the oceans via atmospheric CO2 absorption and the consequential decline of coral reefs, the ice-free Arctic, the melting glaciers everywhere, the melting of Antarctic ice shelves — all meaningless because “we got snow last February” and “it was hot last summer” and that proves there’s no such thing as climate change. Oh, and as Carly Fiorina has noted, the main reason for California’s water shortage has nothing to do with decreased precipitation, it’s because the dams aren’t high enough and the reservoirs aren’t nearly as big as they could be. Damn environmentalists.

As Mark Twain put it, “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”

There’s a new book concerning Climate Denial on the market, most ably described on this Think Progress link: Climate scientist’s new book says climate denial is ‘driving us crazy’. It’s written by climate scientist Michael Mann, and illustrated by Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist, Tom Toles. Toles explains the idea behind using cartoons as a means to depict the reality of Climate Change when he points out that  . . .

[one of the things] a cartoon does is simplify and visualize and make the information a little more accessible. Climate is not as complicated a subject as everyone makes it out to be, and that’s one of the things a cartoonist can do is find the simple elements of it. There are many ways you can look at the problem, but they all can be simplified into imagery, or a few ideas that are helpful in explaining to a casual reader how the subject is constructed and why they should care about it.

Following is one of the many cartoons displayed in the Think Progress link, one that certainly summarizes the consequences of Climate Change, many of which we’re already witnessing today; events that will undoubtedly become far more obvious to far more people if Climate Change is allowed to continue unabated:

climate-forecast-cartoon

The bottom line is that, as Toles notes, “Climate is not as complicated a subject as everyone makes it out to be.” He’s spot-on correct, of course, and the thesis that even people of limited science knowledge and below average IQ should be able to grip both the causes and the consequences of Climate Change makes complete and total sense. The topic can be, as Toles’ cartoons most ably demonstrate, simplified to the point where even a political imbecile such as James Inhofe or Donald J. Trump might one day find the means to comprehend the tragic consequences of their own innate idiocy (I know, sometimes I tend to overreach, to exaggerate possibilities).

Michael Mann summarizes:

[T]here’s a chapter in the book: “Hypocrisy, thy name is climate change denial.” In my view, there is no greater example of hypocrisy today than the hypocrisy of fossil-fuel funded politicians who are doing the bidding of fossil fuel interests. With Hurricane Matthew, we’ve actually had some figures from the right-wing extreme of the news media — Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh — accusing the National Hurricane Center of inflating their estimates of the intensity of this storm for some purported political agenda to somehow convey the effects of climate change.

[. . .]

I’m reminded of a common trope that we see in Hollywood and on TV: There’s the hero and then there’s the shape-shifting villain, and the villain shape-shifts to look just like the hero, and there’s a third party that has to figure out which of them is really the hero. That’s sort of what we’re asking the public to do.

I couldn’t agree more, but find myself loathe to believe that knowledge-based common sense has even a remote chance of finding a home amongst ANY of this country’s right wing political extremists, Donald Trump and his myriad ‘Deplorables’ obviously included. “Man can’t change the climate,” they say. “Only God can do that.”

Right.

I think I’ll listen more to William Wordsworth:

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?

Indeed.

******

OPEN THREAD

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32 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Thursday October 27 2016; Climate Disruption and Denial

  1. This just in:

    In a tirade against renewables, Trump claims wind power ‘kills all the birds’

    “[Wind power] kills all the birds,” Trump told 2012 Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain on the latter’s radio show Tuesday. “Thousands of birds are lying on the ground. And the eagle. You know, certain parts of California — they’ve killed so many eagles. You know, they put you in jail if you kill an eagle. And yet these windmills [kill] them by the hundreds.”
    (…)
    An even bigger threat to birds than wind turbines, glass buildings, or bloodthirsty felines is climate change. According to the Audubon Society’s “Birds and Climate Change” report, climate change threatens more than half of North American bird species, and 126 species face the threat of becoming endangered due to climate change.

  2. I hope frugal’s okay. He usually has a new post on Fridays.

    It’s okay if you don’t have something new for today, frugal, but please check in and let us know you’re okay. 🙂

    • Yep, no worries, still around. Sick sick sick of politics, saved from it all yesterday via Peter Sellers/Inspector Clouseau. SO much more interesting than Clinton/Drumpf!

      Speaking of politics, has anyone seen this little tidbit?

      Facing White House Loss, Conservative Groups Dig In On Judicial Obstruction

      Yesterday, the Cato Institute’s Ilya Shapiro published an essay arguing that “if Hillary Clinton is president it would be completely decent, honorable, and in keeping with the Senate’s constitutional duty to vote against essentially every judicial nominee she names.” He added that it would be constitutional, if not “politically tenable,” for the Senate to “let the Supreme Court die out, literally.”

      The idea that a Republican Senate would refuse to confirm any Clinton nominee to any federal court is extreme, but an increasing number of GOP politicians and conservative activists are latching onto similar messages.

      [. . .]

      “A conservative Senate majority is not required to block a liberal nominee.

      “In fact, according to a new Heritage analysis of the Constitution and Senate procedure, it doesn’t require any more than a small number of principled conservatives to hold the line. We can use procedural strategies to block a nominee and even prevent the use of the “nuclear option” to force through a nominee by majority vote.”

      If that be the case, why couldn’t “a small number of principled conservatives” (principled conservatives? yeah, right) simply go ahead and legally destroy everything they hate, including the government and, obviously, the Constitution itself? At what point does the refusal to carry out one’s elected duties in order to support an errant and anti-constitutional politic become a criminal act?

      I checked; “anarchy” is not mentioned in the Constitution, but neither is “sedition.” Might the destruction of a functional government in the US give “Aid and Comfort” to our enemies? If so, with no government, who’s left to charge and convict those “principled conservative” traitors?

      I’m sure glad I’m an old fart and won’t have to listen to this crap all that much longer.

      • Thanks for letting us know you’re okay, frugal. 🙂

        The Cato Institute is not a real intellectual institution. It’s just a bunch of right-wing libertarians who think the government shouldn’t be doing anything, including what it’s constitutionally obligated to do.

        And if Dems take the Senate next term, the new Majority Leader will be one of my Senators, Chuck “Face Time” Schumer. They’ve already indicated they’ll change the rules so that judicial appointees can’t be filibustered with a 41-vote minority.

        • I really do hope that’s the case. What tickles me about the whole thing is that I well remember the Republican outrage when Democrats were ‘hesitant’ to allow the immediate confirmation of Roberts and Alito.

          Republicans are the original one-eyed Jacks. But we’ve ‘seen the other side of their face,’ and it ain’t pretty.

  3. Finally, an explanation!

    Lance Wallnau: Liberals Use Witchcraft Against Conservatives

    “The web literally is coming down on America. And what’s sad is, how many Christians feel this fog on their head at times? Do you feel that? It’s almost like everything’s going wrong. We don’t realize it’s a remnant operating strategically through organizations that are intent on shifting the American culture and discipling the country. And that fog that’s on Christians is the collective witchcraft that comes over the Body of Christ because there’s spirits being authorized to be released.

    “Wherever there’s agreement, there’s power. The more unbelievers agree with the narrative that they’re hearing, the more power and authorization Satan has to manifest. So unless the church has an exposure of what the enemy’s doing and begins to agree together with a counter-strategy, we’re going to deal with more and more fog. And the worst part is—we don’t have to surrender nations to the devil.”

      • Will sacrificed chickens work? Lots of them at the store, fairly cheap, too.

        I have one of those sacrificed pollos in the freezer, but we’ll probably be roasting it on Sunday, maybe Monday. Hope it adds to the fog atop Christers everywhere.

        • It’s working! I see fog everywhere. Oh wait, that’s actual fog, not a curse. Never mind.

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