IBI Watch 10/7/12

7 10 2012

Destroying the Climate in Order to ‘Save’ it  //

In June, Rex Tillerson – CEO of Exxon Mobil – raised eyebrows with his dismissal of the climate crisis as an ‘engineering problem.’  That sort of thinking – the planet as machine that can be controlled by us all-powerful humans and our techno prowess – is nothing new.  Edward Teller – the brilliant but misguided physicist often assumed to be the model for Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove – laid out a plan for managing the planet’s thermostat late in his long career.  Here is a recent link to articles on the topic offered by those fun-loving Freakonomics guys.

As it becomes clearer by the day just how seriously our fossil fuel emissions have harmed the planet’s climate – and how the future looks more threatened all the time – expect the talk of ‘engineering’ solutions to rise, and even translate into crazy action.  The most popular ideas – science fiction madness applied in the real world, every one – include mirrors launched into space to reflect sunlight, artificial volcanoes that spew sulfur into the stratosphere  (creating deliberate pollution that also reflects solar energy), and seeding the oceans with iron to stimulate plankton growth.  The consequences of such global tinkering cannot be predicted except to say this – expect the unexpected, and the unexpected will almost certainly be nightmarish.  And the sad, tragic, exasperating fact is that we will even contemplate this hubristic Russian roulette while not having taken more than a small fraction of the steps that have no consequence other than short-term investment costs – regulating carbon emissions  and rapidly harnessing renewable energy.

Geoengineering is just the latest, most audacious attempt to insure our continued fossil-fuel orgy.  In other words, its purveyors believe it is wiser to play God with the planet’s regulatory systems so that we can push ahead with business as usual, rather than start respecting the natural systems we depend on.  I was thinking about how this is the ultimate greed-driven willful ignorance, when a friend sent an insightful and inspiring link.

This presentation by Katherine Dean Moore, a philosophy and ecology professor at Oregon State University, brought a standing ovation at the Nobel Conference at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. This year’s topic was “The Global Oceans,” and her talk was titled “Red Sky at Morning: Ethics and the Oceanic Crisis.”  She issues an urgent call for a ‘planetary ethic,’ to end our ‘moral monstrosity on a cosmic scale.  Her main point is this – more information is not going to persuade enough of us to create a critical mass for sustainable, respectful policies.  We have to tap into values, and understand that it is just plain wrong to harm the future.  This one is well worth your time, friends – including the panel at the end.  Just beware (or skip) the seemingly endless introduction.  If you watch through to the panel, look for Carl Safina – author of several important books about protecting the oceans.

Some Good Reasons to Act on the Climate Crisis

Yes, these stories fall short of the ethic demanded by Katherine Dean Moore, but they provide some valuable motivation, and potentially protect the future.  And hey – the last one is extremely funny.  First – a Huffington Post article on the island impact of ocean rise.  Next, a Common Dreams piece on the accelerating Arctic ice melt.  Here is an AlterNet piece on the immediate health gains of a cut in pollution overall.  And here, Stephen Leahy writes on how cutting soot pollution can slow ice melt.  This article in particular is useful, as it gets into clear, easy-to-understand effects of ice melt, and feedbacks.  But wait – I promised some comic relief.  Yes, the rogue weather girl – the one who tells the truth like no mainstream media weather forecaster – is back for round 2. Did you wonder how her sidekick got that neck brace?  (It happened in round 1.)

One Week, Three Debates

Did you hear there was a debate this week?  I’ll get to that one – briefly – in a moment.  But first – this NPR story is the kind of debate we NEED to hear.  Concise, courteous, on-issue, no grandstanding.  Needless to say, it involves neither major party.  No, this is an All Things Considered debate between the Green Party’s Jill Stein and the Libertarian Party’s Gary Johnson.  I wish we could vote for these people and not worry about helping the major party we oppose in the process.  How to do that?  Easy, sort of.  Ranked-choice voting.  And how can we get that?  Even ‘easier.’  Get the big corporate money out of politics.  And then there was a mock debate held Saturday evening, featuring two media heavyweights from opposite corners – Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly.  Here’s the video.  Who won that debate?  That is, who is now the Mayor of BS Mountain?  And oh yes, President Obama and Governor Romney took turns walking all over Jim Lehrer this week, and in between had something like a debate.  President Obama seemed detached, and Governor Romney shall we say, molded the truth.  He did admit that number 26 was not true.

Suppressing the Vote Suppressors

There is good news on the voter fraud scam.  First, Pennsylvania Republicans will have to try to cull the herd of voters again after the November electionOops.  Second, the exclusion syndicate is under investigation.

New Deal or Gilded Age?  Choose Wisely

Paul Krugman’s commentary describes the actual referendum we will have in just a few weeks.

“No action is without its side effects.”

-Barry Commoner

Blogger – Michael Murphy, St. Paul MN

Contributed links to this posting – Bonnie Blodgett, Jeff Carlson, Tess Galati, Allyson Harper

Advertisements

Actions

Information

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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s




%d bloggers like this: