02 April 2017

I Have a Question for Climate Change Deniers: What Is It Going to Take?

It was a bad week for those who believe that the children (of all species) deserve a future — one with a viable biosphere and a survivable climate.

First, "President" T**** (I refuse to give his name airtime) decided to halt American momentum on the climate crisis. Is that ignorance? Stupidity? Negligence? Or just plain cronyism? (With his biggest crony being Putin, who cares not for the Russian people but for the Russian gas and oil industries and their continuing profits.)

Then we got word that the climate change denial group, the Heartland Institute, is sending their denialist drivel of a book (authored by three fossil fuel industry shills with PhDs), intended to seed even more doubt about anthropogenic global warming in the minds of the scientifically illiterate American public, to 200,000 science teachers throughout the United States. Good grief — no, bad grief. 

As I commented online about a Washington Post piece about this travesty of propaganda, there is a bright side. The Heartland Institute has just set the precedent that will allow us to send a copy of Al Gore's new movie, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, to 200,000 science teachers, too! After all, fair's fair. Thanks, Heartland.

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power trailer

I got up the nerve to ask Heartland Institute to explain their mindset given the climate change emergency we're facing down. Another commenter wrote: "You do know of course that in a matter of time, very distant time, the sun is going to burn up and that will bring about the end of life on earth as we know it. Our piddling carbon footprint in the grand scheme of things means very little."

My response? "So in the near future, you don't care what kind of world we're leaving the children? Because the sun's going to burn out in a few billion years?" (I was glad to see that others suggested her comment was inane if not a little hard-hearted.)

I am really trying to understand a mindset that seems to put profit and greed ahead of life. I feel like I'm missing something. We can't drink oil, breathe "natural" (methane) gas, or eat coal. So why do so many North Americans continue to defend those industries ... at our peril?

To another Heartland supporter and climate change denier who likes the idea of spewing pseudo-science to teachers across the United States, I suggested that they follow the money. "If you do your due diligence, you'll soon discover innumerable links between the authors, fossil fuel and (for at least two of the three) tobacco companies, and 'think tanks' or other organizations (such as Heartland) funded in part by Big Oil or Big Coal (Exxon, Koch Brothers, Peabody, etc.). Even the person who wrote the forward for this second edition works for a lobby group 'funded by New Mexico oil and gas industry interests' (Sourcewatch). What the authors Bob Carter, Fred Singer and Craig Idso do (and continue to do with this publication) is called shilling."

The Heartland Institute Facebook page has a Ronald Reagan meme up top: "Government's first duty is to protect the people, not run their lives." Then why, I asked, isn't the American government protecting its most vulnerable citizens (its children) from the hellish future that is already being unleashed by climate chaos? I just don't get it.

On a friend's FB page, in a discussion of T****'s climate change policy devastation (and the suggestion that he's doing this for the profit), someone wrote: "Exactly gore has made what a billion off of climate change." [sic]

I flipped on the guy. I'm so sick and tired of people ranging on Al Gore. I wrote: "The man has probably done more to make us aware of the climate change emergency than any other living human being. Gore understands that the fastest way to curb greenhouse gas emissions is through market mechanisms, which can turn on a dime (which T****'s stupid tweets have proven). I don't agree with him on everything (I don't agree with anyone on everything!), but revolution takes a lot longer than people think -- and we don't have that time." I invited him to read The Planet-Saving, Capitalism-Subverting, Surprisingly Lucrative Investment Secrets of Al Gore.

But I couldn't stop there: "If you want to rang on someone/something, why not rang on the governments (i.e., taxpayers) the world over who are still giving trillions of dollars in direct and indirect subsidies to fossil fuel corporations every year! (And that's while they say that renewable energy companies should be able to stand on their own two feet. Gimme a break. Fossil fuel corporations have never stood on their own two feet. Society has always had to pay the social/health and environmental costs of fossil fuel pollution.)"

Another one that made my blood boil said that abnormally high snowpack in the Sierras proved that climate change is a scam and the California drought is over. Look, we all hope and pray for California that their drought will end (heck, Canada gets nearly 50% of its food from that American state, so you know we've got our fingers crossed for good luck), but it's not as simple as one horrendously rainy season (five deaths!) and a high snowpack. All those aquifers and reservoirs and wells are going to take years to refill.

What is it going to take for climate change deniers to see that their delay tactics are endangering us all? Oh well, let's face it. It's just been a bad and sad week for the climate.

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I would appreciate hearing your thoughts or questions on this post or anything else you've read here. What is your take on courage and compassion being an important part of the solution to the climate change emergency?