Denying Reality, Subsidizing Our Own Destruction

Warnings about climate change began years ago, with predictions of devastating fires, more powerful hurricanes, rising oceans and millions of global migrants.

What’s that line from “bring in the clowns?” Oh yes–“Don’t bother, they’re here.”

The Idiot-in-Chief may dismiss science, may attribute the fires burning much of west coast America to “forest management” (not to get picky, but the federal government is responsible for managing something like 70% of California’s forests), but people who actually know what they are talking about uniformly connect the extent and severity of those conflagrations to climate change.

 How many Americans will be displaced by climate change–not sometime in the future, but soon? The New York Times recently focused on the probability that massive population movement will change the country. Abrahm Lustgarten, the author, explained how he came to the issue:

I had an unusual perspective on the matter. For two years, I have been studying how climate change will influence global migration. My sense was that of all the devastating consequences of a warming planet — changing landscapes, pandemics, mass extinctions — the potential movement of hundreds of millions of climate refugees across the planet stands to be among the most important. I traveled across four countries to witness how rising temperatures were driving climate refugees away from some of the poorest and hottest parts of the world. I had also helped create an enormous computer simulation to analyze how global demographics might shift, and now I was working on a data-mapping project about migration here in the United States.

Noting the obvious, Lustgarten points out that Americans have largely avoided confronting these issues, thanks to politicians who play down climate risks, support continuing the enormous subsidies to fossil fuels and support “other incentives aimed at defying nature.” By “defying nature,” he means Americans’ longstanding preference for settling in areas most vulnerable to environmental danger– coastlines from New Jersey to Florida and the deserts of the Southwest.

The article is lengthy, and the statistics and other data are well worth your time to click through and consider. Lustgarten cites studies predicting that one in 12 Americans who currently live in the U.S. South will move toward California, the Mountain West or the Northwest over the next 45 years. A population shift of that magnitude will increase poverty and income inequality,  accelerate urbanization of cities ill-equipped for the burden, and will deal “repeated economic blows to coastal, rural and Southern regions.”

As he points out, this negative spiral has already begun in rural Louisiana and coastal Georgia.

Meanwhile, the bad climate news keeps coming. 

In New Mexico, the mass death of birds has puzzled–and spooked– scientists.

Professor Martha Desmond of the college’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology expressed deep concern about what the sudden deaths of these birds portends for the environment.

“It is terribly frightening,” Desmond told the Sun News. “We’ve never seen anything like this. … We’re losing probably hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of migratory birds.”

In Antartica, two major glaciers are in the process of breaking off. According to The Washington Post

Two Antarctic glaciers that have long kept scientists awake at night are breaking free from the restraints that have hemmed them in, increasing the threat of large-scale sea-level rise.

In a recent column, Eugene Robinson pointed out that the fires burning on the West Coast are only one of a number of threats generated by our changing climate: 

For only the second time on record, five tropical cyclones are swirling in the Atlantic Ocean at the same time — including Hurricane Sally, which is gathering strength in the Gulf of Mexico and aiming at vulnerable New Orleans and Mississippi.

These catastrophes horribly illustrate the stakes in the coming election: at risk is the future of our beautiful, fragile planet. The choice facing voters who care about that future could not be more stark. Democratic nominee Joe Biden accepts the scientific consensus about climate change and wants the United States to lead the world in a transition to clean energy. President Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and encouraged greater production and burning of “beautiful, clean coal.”

Along with all the other reasons to vote “Blue No Matter Who,” Robinson reminds us that a vote for Trump is a vote for ignorance and environmental ruin, while a vote for Biden (who has pledged to rejoin the Paris agreement immediately if he is elected) is a vote for Planet Earth.

There’s a reason Scientific American–which has never endorsed a candidate in its 175-year history–has endorsed Joe Biden. You would think that anyone who is genuinely “pro life” (and not just pro-birth/ anti-woman) would vote for an environment capable of supporting human life. 

 

27 thoughts on “Denying Reality, Subsidizing Our Own Destruction

  1. On top of all this (and this is an awful lot), the current occupant has told us exactly how he plans to end the election and keep right on destroying this democracy. Vote Blue No Matter Who!

  2. It gets more and more scary every day. And now, the orange nut says he will NOT agree to peaceful transfer of power. Good Grief. Please VOTE.

  3. Words, words and more words; a picture is worth a thousand words. It is time to watch Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” again; the climate changes have accelerated since he produced that informative movie. Former Vice President Gore shared the Nobel prize with Swedish scientists for his study of Climate Change and the connection to Global Warming; the movie also won the Academy Award for documentaries. Somehow the value of the documentary got lost in the politics of science vs. creation and our own creature comforts continue as we increase Global Warming and further accelerate Climate Change at a dangerous rate.

    You might also want to watch the movie “Soylent Green”; a science fiction movie whose fiction is becoming a reality in some areas of the world today.

    “President Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and encouraged greater production and burning of “beautiful, clean coal.”

    Betty and patmcc have both pointed out step one in returning this nation to the sanity of restoring EPA regulations and ending the possibility of Trump and the Republicans turning this country into a dictatorship. Can we include the source of airborne Covid-19 as being a possible result of our current environment and why is Trump so determined NOT to produce a viable vaccine before releasing untested treatments on the public?

  4. JoAnn, great suggestions. Unfortunately, the people who need to watch those movies are the ones who refuse to learn anything new.

  5. It is relevant that George H W Bush highlighted the Climate as part of his platform in 1988. After his election his Chief of Staff John Sununu convinced him to forget it. “People don’t care about it; it doesn’t get votes.” George W. read a book while on vacation years later and grew very concerned about global warming. Upon his return to D. C. after vacation he formed a task force. But the anti-science capitalist faction of the GOP prevailed after Obama, and here we are. Pending disaster.

  6. Why should I worry? Trump’s political mentor, his son-in-law, and his closest advisors are all Jewish. How could there be a Jewish problem? Right. Or is there something a little more sinister in all of this?

    Please accept my apology. I must be seeing things that are not there. How could our President be that sinister? I must be dreaming.

  7. After yesterday’s “Atlantic” article and 45’s response to a question about a peaceful transition in which he said that after we get rid of the ballots, there won’t be a transition, it is crystal clear that we must have a blue tsunami on November 3rd or we won’t have a Republic.

  8. “Your facts don’t create more fear than my propaganda.”

    That’s our reality, and it’s the targeted propaganda from our Polluting Companies has created to keep Americans from looking at the external costs of their dirty businesses so they can keep the profits and subsidies flowing.

    The Koch’s used their substantial financial resources to influence college professors worldwide to support their free-market economics with no government influence or checks on their polluting businesses. They rallied other polluters to join in closed-door meetings with public officials — no press allowed.

    Did the press force their way or challenge these Robber Barons?

    Nope. The press even willingly prints their columns in local newspapers — see Michael Hicks on Indianapolis Business TV and throughout the state’s newspapers. You might as well call our newspapers a division of Indiana Policy Review — same cast of characters financed by the same Polluting Companies and Robber Barons.

    You don’t have to own a media entity to influence one. As Chomsky says, there are many filters on existing media, including advertisers or the primary source of revenue for a media outlet. If you print the truth, guess how many local advertisers will pay you to spread their marketing endeavors? LOL

    Unchecked or unfettered free-market capitalism is destroying the people on this planet and the planet itself. It is unsustainable financially, socially, and ecologically.

    Once all the global protestors realize there is one source for all their grievances, our spy centers and boots on the ground will be challenged. The people aren’t tolerating oppression, and it will get much worse.

    What we are facing is a War Against the Truth, which has been raging for generations. Those resistant to change have been peddling propaganda since the 50s, if not longer.

  9. Talking about disasters. Just wait and see what’s going to happen to the Jews in Israel and in the U.S. after Trump gets through. Just watch what happens when all those Arab states who have talked about peace with Israel [without dealing with the Palestinian question], all of a sudden change their minds.

    It doesn’t take a genius to read Trump’s distorted mind. Does it?

  10. Betty,

    You are precisely correct. The orange hairball is standing there telling us he’s going to destroy our democracy and invalidate our voices so HE can continue as President. This is pure demagoguery from a wannabe dictator. Trump is drunk on power, and keeps employing his tried and true methodology of driving the media crazy. His cascade of “shiny objects” is becoming more like his reality that is going to be foisted upon us all. And his personal “attorney”, filled with treachery and overflowing with lies and arrogance, Wm. Barr, is doing everything he can to protect his boss from the crimes associated with destroying our democracy and shredding our Constitution.

    I predict that the SPLC, the ACLU and other entities designed to do good will be irrelevant, made illegal by Trump and that the Constitution will be made invalid as he keeps grasping for unlimited power…IF he is allowed to continue. He is openly trying to rig the election – as all psychopathic dictators do – and if he succeeds, the United States of America will be another fascist Germany of the 1930s and 40s.

    The major difference is that Hitler had to build his military virtually from scratch, while ours is already the most powerful on Earth. But, as in Operation Valkyrie, will some patriot here step up to save our country from utter disaster?

  11. Trump is setting-up the American Jews for destruction. In the past, I’ve represented the State of Israel and also handled discrimination cases involving the Middle Eastern community in Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas.

    I don’t like to use the word. But, we continue to be the biggest FOOLS on Planet Earth.

  12. I wonder how many people in California and Oregon will leave their homes for some place that is not endangered by wild fires.

  13. “Consumer watchdogs and researchers have long called for action on PFAS. “I first asked the EPA more than 19 years ago … and we are still waiting for a comprehensive, national response,” says Robert Bilott, an attorney who led a class action lawsuit in the 2000s that accused the chemical company DuPont of contaminating drinking water in the Ohio River Valley with PFAS.

    That battle, which led to a court-ordered study of 69,000 residents that found significant health risks, was depicted in the 2019 movie Dark Waters. DuPont, while denying any wrongdoing, agreed in 2017 to pay $335m to settle the dispute.

    Frank and Lisa Penna, the Horsham Township couple, allege one possible explanation for the EPA’s delay: the government itself is a major PFAS polluter and is avoiding substantial cleanup costs. In a 2016 lawsuit, the Pennas allege that PFAS migrated from the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Willow Grove, near their home, into groundwater. Thousands of gallons of firefighting foam, which contains PFAS, had been dumped at the base during exercises over many years, they allege.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/sep/24/pfas-dangerous-forever-chemicals-drinking-water?

  14. As an IU grad (twice) it’s always very hard for me to tout the strengths of rival Purdue but I MUST stand up and CHEER for their climate science center right here in the Hoosier state.

    In my environmental health endeavors in the NE Indiana Lakes region (which is under TREMENDOUS pressure from climate change as we speak) I find that people just don’t make a connection to how their decisions, and especially their voting decisions in local and state elections, can help us mitigate the certain damage to our local environs and life style. They treat the lake outside their homes as if it were a swimming pool – assuming that when it floods, or permanently turns muddy brown, or can no longer serve as a habitat for fish, that they can just call up someone at DNR to come and fix it. And by then it’s too late – it’s gone. What was beautiful and pristine for nearly 12,000 years will have been destroyed by mankind in less than 200.

    I invite you to peruse Purdue’s Indiana Climate Change Impacts Assessment web page and read some of their materials and presentations. Also, my favorite page on the site is under “Resources” where you can find a climate summary for each COUNTY in Indiana. You will be surprised by some of the projections.

    Unfortunately most of us live in “the most Southern of the Northern states” and have had many successive chief executives and General Assembly majorities in our government that pay little heed to any of this, assuming free and unregulated markets will solve all our problems, as they have so well over the past 205 years of our statehood .

    Shortly after my Senior year as an undergrad at IU in the mid-seventies our Indiana General Assembly and Governor enacted the first law in the nation banning the use of phosphates in laundry detergents (resulting in too much aquatic plant growth and eventually eutrophy – lake term for “dead”). At one time we were an environmental leader and can be again if only enough people cared.

    https://ag.purdue.edu/indianaclimate/

    https://ag.purdue.edu/indianaclimate/factsheets/

  15. The Empty Orange squatter in the White House, claims all sorts of things to be hoaxes. His use of projection has become legend, and we must remember that the biggest hoax of all is that same wanna-be person.
    I suspect, from a brief aside of his, that the entire climate change issue, for him, is his wish to destroy any hint that President Obama, was president.

  16. Science and deniers are that way for many reasons!

    Some individuals want to be led! Other individuals want to use the science as a wedge issue to promote their particular agenda by instilling a resistant attitude in those followers who desire to be led.

    The currant POTUS is a prime example on a massive scale! Not only science is the enemy, those who are scientifically educated are the enemy. And some of the problems from the beginning where the scientists themselves not having a unified message, instead of talking about climate change, in the beginning they focused on global warming. It gave shortsighted ignoramuses and opening to use that to manipulate the extremely weak minded. Because how could there be global warming if it’s 8° outside in the winter? Or, and unbelievably burst of deadly frigid arctic air, maybe 15 or 20° below 0. Obviously this has to disprove global warming! Not enough thought was given on how their own words could be used against them and thereby knee capping the science.

    When the scientists decided to use climate change, instead of global warming, the die was cast. Then the above-mentioned shortsighted ignoramuses could claim it was all fake and now the scientists were changing their findings to fit their own narrative. Now being an uneducated lout that I am, even I can see past the shortsighted ignoramuses because I’ve always enjoyed history, and my mother encouraged my scientific curiosity.

    It really isn’t difficult to see how the water cycle can be affected by dust and smoke particles in one part of the country or world, and this spreads across the entire globe. But you have to understand something about the water cycle and you have to understand something about how particles will block sunlight and also attract moisture to strip that moisture from the atmosphere. Or how releasing stored carbon that is latent in the fuel we use, thereby being released as carbon dioxide carbon monoxide and other gases which promote long-term global instability and climate change.

    Too bad the logical ending to this is oblivious to so many. Those previously mentioned shortsighted ignoramuses, will gladly dismiss scientific evidence for a profit and power. Because the mentally deficient believe almost anything that’s stuffed down their gullet. So, the problem with all of this is, you’re burning down your own home, and, there is no place else to go! So if you have an apartment building, and it has an apartment on one of the middle floors that’s occupied by someone with completely opposite viewpoints of yours, then you have apartments scattered throughout the building that have other occupants and tenants who are different than you, but they really don’t dislike you as much as you dislike them. Then you have your buddies in other apartments scattered throughout the building, those who you can control by your flimflam or your con artistry to gain control over the building. So being the shortsighted ignoramus you are, you decide that once you solidified your clutch of lemmings, you could actually burn the building to get those folks out that are different from you. Without seeing a little bit down the road that once you start the fire, it’s gonna burn everyone, not just to them.

    It’s amazing when you think about it, but, as I posted yesterday, man kind will destroy himself if left to his own device.

    Years ago, I wrote a paper on drought proofing the West and South of this country. Probably 20 years ago or so. I had proposed building desalinization plants on the West Coast, and peppered around the Gulf of Mexico far enough inland to be protected from hurricanes. These gigantic solar powered desalinization plants along the Gulf Coast could provide enough water for the South and inland states, and the western coast, to transform large portions of unusable land into lush greenery which would definitely change the climate in those regions. Because plants give off water vapor, this water vapor as seen in the Amazon and Congo regions of this earth cause a lot of rainfall. There would be no huge fires in California or Oregon or Washington state, there would be no drought in California’s breadbasket which feeds not just a lot of the United States but other parts of this globe. There would be no drought in the corn and wheat crops preventing harvests that could feed the entire planet. There would be no thirst whatsoever in the United States. I also mentioned diverting most of the freshwater that is being discharged into the Gulf of Mexico from the Mississippi River. There are 100s of square miles of dead area from the freshwater being discharged into the Gulf. So, if you diverted a lot of that water to say, the mistake Lake, which is called the Salton Sea, and other reservoirs in the desert regions, you could transform the entire desert area into lush and green farmland which would give the United States a very temperate climate. It would also open up areas to inhabit that are currently uninhabitable.

    Pretty simple, just get an infrastructure program in place and put folks to work! They’d be saving their lives and everyone else’s!

    Too bad, I’m just an uneducated lout that likes to pipedream I guess, but man cannot learn from history, and man will eventually destroy himself as I said earlier.

  17. One of the tools that Trumpistas use to expand their power is a list that the Whitehouse put together of Trump’s “accomplishments”. There are two kinds on the list. One are economic actions directed at increasing stock market indices that measure if the Ponzi scheme that we call “the market” is still able to reward those who don’t have to work. The other are things that weaken government and especially government means to ensure that corporations balance rewarding customers, workers, investors, tax payers, future humans (environment), the communities at all levels that they impact, and earth’s natural resources.

    The logic is simple. The big Republican donors are the people who live off of their wealth and don’t have to work. Trumpistas don’t even pretend anymore to serve workers in any way.

    One thing that’s always been true of Ponzi schemes including “The Market” is that they are never sustainable. Never. All of the communities that corporations serve beside investors are being starved of the wealth that only they produce. That’s what is of necessity at the end of the run. No more growth is possible.

    Investors in politicians are whipping the horses that they own to death with donations trying to squeeze blood from stones but there’s no more blood to legitimately give. Very sad but absolutely true. Mr Ponzi has met the inevitable end. Only stealing money from workers is left as a means to feed the beast so that is what Trump brought to the table. The Constitution is trod on more every day as owned politicians do their tired tricks to feed the beast that they invited to the table.

    In a few weeks we will choose between managing the changes that are necessary to avoid a catastrophic collapse, a “soft” landing, or pretending it’s not coming and crashing.

    Choose well. A very long relentless future depends on it.

  18. Trump is not the Republican candidate for president; he is the Nazi candidate for president, as is evident from his openly stated plan to stay in office if defeated at the polls – even telling us how he plans to pull it off. I didn’t spend time in the South Pacific in WW II defending democracy from fascism to return here to find a fascist on the ballot, but thanks to gutless Republicans in search of eternal power, such is the case. So called Republicans are advised that coups can be met with counter coups; Munich beer halls have their counterpart.

    As a Nazi Trump should be disqualfied from participation in politics but should he actually win the electoral vote, expect the EU and others to rightly disavow the result, as the EU is doing with Belarus, and I as a citizen will do, considering how with his voter suppression tactics he “won.”

    As to climate refugees, I wrote elsewhere a year or two ago that we should keep our eyes on the overcrowded continent of Africa (which is already moving north to Europe), noting that if Trump thinks that several thousand refugees from Central America is a problem, just wait until 60 million Africans show up at Ellis Island.

    The world (if we survive fascism, terminal capitalism, pandemics, Kochism and fossil fuel bribes of politicians) is headed for a racially homogeneous future. What our political economy will look like (assuming survival of the race) is beyond my pay grade what with AI in the then mix. Perhaps robots will decide humans (since they are all on welfare) are expendable.

  19. And who gets the last laugh? As time marches on, it will be the oligarchs like Trump and Icahn and the Kochs and their heirs who can afford to buy up the few remaining habitable patches of the planet and hire mercenaries to keep the rest of us at bay. But eventually the air becomes unbreathable and the water undrinkable and the food unobtainable and the last laugh becomes no laughing matter even for those with all the wealth. Democracy was mankind’s last chance and we have failed it miserably. Its systemic challenges may prove beyond repair.

  20. I always thought the Environmental Movement should have stayed focused on Pollution in lieu of global warming or climate change. Pollution is real time detectable, global warming and climate change not so much.

    The deniers could and do point out the planet has had wide variations in climate the so-called Medieval Warm, the Little Ice Age, etc. Pollution is more obvious at the time it happens. The Mega-Corporations have intervened time after time to attack strong pollution standards and let off the hook those corporations that do pollute.

    Pastor Pence’s family business evaded responsibility. https://www.chicagotribune.com/business/ct-pence-family-gas-stations-indiana-20180713-story.html

  21. Republicans: I’ll see your facts and raise you five propagandas.

    Democrats: I fold.

    Republicans: Rake the table clean of all the money, show their cards, which are weak, and laugh all the way to their offshore bank.

    Next game…
    Democrats: I ante five facts.

    Republicans: I see your five facts and raise you twenty propagandas.

    On and on it goes.

  22. The current occupant has serious mental illness and is slipping further into the depths with each passing hour. We must vote and he must go ASAP! This is really, honestly, who we were not intended to be. Remember: Vote blue and just as important is this simple reminder…MASK IT OR CASKET!

  23. Most of us have been living in a fool’s paradise; and as fools we continue to believe we can actually control our destiny. Where we are now in this country reminds me of the brilliant portrayal of events in the old black and white movie “Ship of Fools” Regardless of how politics frames our choices climate change is and will continue to shape our lives and sooner rather than later. I am not a world traveler but i have an innate sense of survival and understand nothing lasts forever. We have taken our freedoms for granted and each day that unfolds shows us how powerful large numbers of worldwide dissenters can be during the perfect storm. And this is a perfect storm. Voting may or may not be the answer to this mess but it’s all we have right now. I pity us all.

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