Thursday, May 8, 2014

Why Our Children Will Look At Us And Say WTF?!

Even though I write a lot about economic inequality and the dangers of a plutocratic system of government, there is just no competition for the defining problem of our time:
The effects of human-induced climate change are being felt in every corner of the United States, scientists reported Tuesday, with water growing scarcer in dry regions, torrential rains increasing in wet regions, heat waves becoming more common and more severe, wildfires growing worse, and forests dying under assault from heat-loving insects.
Such sweeping changes have been caused by an average warming of less than 2 degrees Fahrenheit over most land areas of the country in the past century, the scientists found. If greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane continue to escalate at a rapid pace, they said, the warming could conceivably exceed 10 degrees by the end of this century.
This Times article is based on a National Climate Assessment just released by the United States Global Change Research Program:
The U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) was established by Presidential Initiative in 1989 and mandated by Congress in the Global Change Research Act (GCRA) of 1990 to “assist the Nation and the world to understand, assess, predict, and respond to human-induced and natural processes of global change.”
Notice the year this group was established. Somehow, in the past 25 years, the Republican Party has gone from having the leader of the party (and the country) actively working to gather scientific data so as to be able to quantify and prepare for climate change, to having a party also-ran begging his colleagues to at least admit the possibility global warming might not just be some liberal plot to funnel gubment cash to climate scientists.
So obtuse has become the party’s dialogue on climate change that it’s now been reduced to believing or not believing, as if it were a religious mantra. 
This approach reached a new low last month during a North Carolina congressional debate at which all the Republican candidates chuckled at a question on climate change — as if they had been asked about their belief in the Tooth Fairy. Is climate change a fact, they were asked. All four answered no. This is a shortsighted strategy that is wrong for the party, wrong for the country and wrong for the next generation. It simply kicks a big problem farther down the field. And it’s a problem we — as solution-seeking Republicans — have the opportunity to solve.
What planet is Jon Huntsman living on? As if the party that is chest-deep in Koch cash is going to do anything to deal with carbon emissions.

When my kids ask me 25 years from now how on earth we let this catastrophe happen, it is going to be really hard not to say, "well your grandfathers loved you very much, but not enough to stop voting for Republicans."

What is it going to take to get people to recognize and act on this problem before it is seriously too late? Because it really doesn't seem like we have a whole lot of time to start turning this very large ship around.

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