Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Climate Change Is Already Wreaking Havoc in America's Backyard

From the Guardian via Alternet:

Once a distant threat, climate change is a present-day danger, the report warns in stark language.

The scientists singled out sea-level rise, especially in Miami, drought and wildfires in the south-west, and heavy downpours as the biggest threats confronting Americans. The report, intended to be the definitive account of the effects of climate change on the US, is expected to drive the remaining two years of Barack Obama's environmental agenda.

“What this report shows is that climate change is happening now in our own backyards,” Thomas Karl, the director of the climatic centre at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the Guardian. “There are a number of changes that have become faster and more apparent and stronger than we first anticipated.”

More here.

I put global warming deniers into two categories.  

The first category is comprised of capitalists.  I'm not talking about people who simply support capitalism.  I mean real capitalists, people with buttloads of money, people who very likely accept the science on global warming, but who also just don't care because dealing with it potentially means a loss of revenue, and, in any case, they're filthy rich so they can probably shield themselves and their families from the worst aspects of climate change--that global warming in the long run also means that they may very well face revenue losses, anyway, because the phenomenon will DEFINITELY be disruptive to capitalism as an economic system overall, is simply not considered; capitalists are notoriously oriented toward short-term gain, which creates a sort of cognitive blind spot when it comes to the long run.  In short, capitalists are the ultimate selfish sociopath-assholes, and that's why they deny global warming, even though they might actually believe it in private.

The second category is comprised of conservatives, you know, normal Americans who would rather die than ever vote for a Democrat.  And, actually, that's a pretty key point in considering this.  By and large these people deny global warming simply because, in their minds, they associate it with Democrats and liberals--I mean, it gets complicated, with some understanding that dealing with climate change means government interference in the economy, which they hate almost as much as they hate liberals, but with others not thinking it through at all and simply denying it because they hate liberals.  Either way, though, it's all about personal identity, anger, and hate.  They strongly and tribally identify with conservatism, ergo anything "liberal" is of the Devil.  It doesn't matter whether something is actually liberal.  If they think it's liberal, they hate it.  So they absolutely reject global warming as some sort of liberal plot against "freedom" or some such.

I mean, the "skeptics" HAVE to be understood in this way because global warming really is happening.  The scientific consensus is overwhelming.  And it's happening RIGHT NOW.  Anybody who denies it is either sociopathic and doesn't care, or his identity and world view makes accepting reality virtually impossible.  What this all means, of course, is that when you put the economic might of capitalists together with the over-the-top zeal of hate-driven conservative boots on the ground, you get just enough political opposition to prevent any real action on the matter from being taken.  

That is, all rational and psychologically well adjusted Americans, you know, most people, understand how freaking dangerous this is, how we're essentially fiddling while Rome burns, but a minority of evil and/or deranged Americans have gone out and done the right-wing equivalent of environmentalists chaining themselves to trees.

How the hell are we ever going to pull ourselves out of this one?