IBI Watch 6/26/11

26 06 2011

IBI Watch 6/26/11


Climate Magic vs. Science

Any objective view of weather events around the world over the past several years leads to an unavoidable conclusion.  Extreme events – chronic droughts, torrential rains, historic heat waves, unprecedented snowfalls – are proliferating.  Paul Douglas, the one mainstream weather forecaster here in the Twin Cities you can count on for truth and the big picture – calls this ‘the new normal.’

For several decades, climatologists have been predicting that continually rising atmospheric greenhouse gas levels – mainly CO2 and methane – would alter the climate system.  This means generally hiking temperatures, but not in an orderly fashion.  It also means increasing chaos, unpredictability.

Based on pandering pronouncements, one of our two major political parties today clearly does not trust science.  At least, not THIS science.  It presents difficult choices, and perceived roadblocks to continuous economic growth.

If you don’t trust climate science, you are in effect adhering to some or all of these ‘principles’:

  • Temperatures that are rising worldwide either are not really rising, or they are rising due to some unknown natural causes
  • Adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere – it’s now 390 parts per million compared to preindustrial levels slightly more than half that – is not worthy of consideration
  • Increasing climate volatility has no relation to greenhouse gases, or maybe isn’t occurring at all
  • Ocean acidification (CO2 produces carbonic acid in the ocean, and has already altered ocean pH toward the acidic) is either not happening, is caused by some natural phenomenon, or is not worthy of consideration
  • A consensus of 98% of the world’s scientists is something we can ignore, without serious consequences
  • All this talk about global warming is just a lefty conspiracy to produce world government
  • It’s all Al Gore’s idea –point out his clay feet, and the whole notion fades away


In short, you believe in some flavor of magical thinking.  Or, you have been persuaded by corporate interests with major millions at stake in the discussion.


First this week, a look at how all the extreme weather might be connected – a powerful slide show paired with a recent commentary by Bill McKibben.  (Remember, do NOT make the connection!)  Also, a link to McKibben’s 350.org web site.  Next two links are two stories NPR ran consecutively this week. The first looks at the Republican candidates’ manufactured views on the issue.  Listen for one of my favorite Michele Bachmann moments.  (“It’s a naaaaatural proooduct. . .”)The second compares the divergence – more Americans believing in magic vs. the increasing certainty of scientists.  And finally, I just can’t resist linking to a story on the latest entry in the “How willfully ignorant can you pretend to be?”  For this week that award goes to smiling Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania.







Climate Disruption – Consequences and Prospects for Progress

I hesitate to link to anything written by Al Gore.  The former Vice President is denialists’ favorite punching bag.  By attacking him, they have politicized a scientific issue.  But Gore wrote an excellent piece in the latest Rolling Stone that is worth your time.  Though it seems positioned as an attack on the Obama Administration’s policies, it’s really much more than that.  And the fact is, Gore is only a messenger.  I have read over a dozen books on the topic, and in most, you will not find his name in the index.  The second link is a Star Tribune article that called out the Gore essay.

Next, if you needed more grist, look no further than this new report from NOAA.  Halfway through 2011, it is already one of the most extreme weather years in terms of costly disasters.

Next two links relate to the same author.  Paul Gilding’s The Great Disruption has hit my reading list based on reviews.  Despite a clear-eyed view of the crisis, the author is optimistic – he compares the climate crisis to the period before the Allies committed to World War II.  He says we Americans in particular are slow to act rather than stupid.  Of course, in the rollup to World War II, we did not have a massively accepted, corporate- sponsored, nearly fact-free propaganda machine misinforming the public.  See the last link for Jon Stewart’s latest broadside against Fox News.  It’s hard to believe how many lies Team Stewart was able to catalog for this one.  On second thought, maybe it’s not so hard to believe.








Michele’s Moment

The candidate I have enjoyed thinking of as the Crazy Jesus Lady is not going away.  In fact, recent polls show her positive rating heading steadily up.  And insightful and entertaining commentary linked here looks at her appeal.  Many are apparently lining up behind the Tea Party and taking her seriously as a candidate for president.  No kidding.  And if Matt Taibbi is right, the best thing we can do to strengthen her candidacy is to laugh at her.  Oops.





The Blazing Saddles Effect

Commentator John Young connects the style of governing pushed by Rick Perry and other ideological privatizers with a certain very funny Mel Brooks movie.  Harrumph!  For good measure, I also link to Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine site.




Middle Class – Endangered Species?

Robert Reich has been calling our attention to the plight of working class Americans with increasing volume in recent months.  His short video connecting the dots deserves another nod here.  If you like that, follow the next link for his latest blog entry.  He makes a persuasive case that the very wealthy have a stake in keeping the middle class economically healthy.  Is anyone listening?  Reich was Clinton’s Labor Secretary.




Van Jones – an American Dream Movement

This former key advisor to Barak Obama left his post under a barrage of right-wing attacks.  He has been making the case that building a clean-energy economy will also restore economic health.  He is back in the public eye, trying to muster energy for that quest.  We need lots more ideas like those Jones is sharing.





“Half a truth is often a great lie.”
Benjamin Franklin



Contributed links to this posting – Jeff Carlson, Mark Goldberg, Allyson Harper, Jeff Syme




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: