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Late-Stage Climate Denialism

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I know it seems repetitive to keep talking about the climate, but until the dismal US Gallup climate numbers begin to more closely resemble reality, it’s not possible to say too much about it.

In the past few weeks, I’ve heard several people repeating arrogant, ignorant energy misconceptions and climate denial talking points. Ironically they’re all right-wing members of my former church. These are all exact quotes from recent online discussions.

I’d be a rich man if I had a nickel for every time one of these “maroons” told me the Earth regenerates oil, or some suppressed “Tesla” technology for “free” energy will save us, or there’s “trillions” of barrels of oil “environmentalists” are preventing us from tapping:

There are trillions of gallons of oil that environmentalists (such as you, perhaps?) oppose drilling for.

Why?

Maybe you can answer why they oppose drilling for oil reserves in the United States when we have more oil within our borders than in Saudia Arabia.

Maybe they mean “mining, scooping and heating” not drilling? Because the only way you get multi-hundred billion barrel oil reserve numbers in the US is if you count oil shale and tar sands deposits. Which can’t be extracted without using copious amounts of water and either natural gas heat (more CO2 emission) or nuclear reactors (no, really). Whether denying climate science or dramatically exaggerating US reserves, these people are hanging onto their entitled lifestyles and outmoded economics with white knuckle grip:

…citing statistics from  one’s favorite politically correct scientists, does not necessarily indicate a correspondence with Reality. Whether there is new oil or not, is a topic that is still open to debate. Furthermore, there are some that support the abiotic oil theories…Yale Ph.D., Robert M. Schoch, also has a good article in Jan/Feb Atlantis Rising mag entitled, “Politics, Money, and Science”, in which he generally agrees with “global warming” but questions the causes which can be both natural and artificial factors…according to Antony Sutton, who wrote a paper on this topic before passing, there is so called “future” alternative technologies that are already here,  have been for many decades, and has been largely suppressed by the establishment. I can copy his paper if folks interested.”

Anything but just use the completely available knowledge of renewable energy we already have to create our own electricity and fuel and reduce the carbon content of the atmosphere. Next, there are the political hoaxsters, who think climate change was cooked up by the UN:

Climate change caused by man and carbon emissions is a devious hoax designed to further control and impoverish America.

Then there’s this confused rant about global government, eugenics, chemtrails, and the HAARP experiment:

…it looks to me that the concern being promoted over climate change is more of a strategy to manipulate people into complying more and more with the concept of ‘global governance’ by a ‘power elite’ composed of corporate and eugenicist interests. A couple of issues that I have not seen brought into the discussion around ‘climate change’. Actually, one of them, the subject of ‘chemtrails’ or geoengineering, has been brought up but as a mitigation effort rather than a contributor to the ‘problem’…The other topic is the HAARP arrays. HAARP functions by beaming high voltage energy into the Ionosphere, thereby heating it up. Wouldn’t heating up the atmosphere of the Earth cause warming?

It’s one thing for people to be misinformed, even willfully so. But this global conspiracy garbage is off the hook. Back to the data, scientists have been clear about man-made climate change since the 1950s as this 1956 presentation by corporate giant General Electric shows.:

We see the effects around us as species (including humans) are displaced, food and export crops (including tea and coffee) are affected, water dries up, weather patterns shift in seemingly bizarre ways that actually jive with detailed models and predictions going back decades. These are physical responses to a physical system which has been knocked severely out of the Holocene equilibrium in which our species evolved.

Here is what I don’t understand. The climate system doesn’t care about our squabbles or disagreements or our profits. What are right-wingers going to try to repeal next, the law of gravity? I fail to understand what is so anti-American about global cooperation on an issue that affects everyone ? Why is it that people want to ignore billions of tons of carbon human industry pours into the atmosphere and instead blame a *radar station?* Such ideas are laughable even in the unlikely event they were true, as their comparative climate forcing potential would be off by at least 6 orders of magnitude. [3.6 megawatts at the HAARP station vs. global fossil energy production in the multi-terawatt range.]

Such glaring math errors aside, the best predictor of a persons’ acceptance or denial of climate change facts is their political and religious affiliation. Why is that? Why does being in favor of liberty or the ‘constitution’ or believing in God mean we have to tear up the Earth and burn wasteful and polluting fuels and reject science? Is that really what it means to be free? Or are republicans and libertarians so ideologically driven that they’d rather stick to their guns even if it means being shills of the global fossil industry?

Imagine if other scientific questions were decided by whether or not they made a quick profit. The worst part is, I know it’s nearly completely pointless to say anything about it. Nearly 100% of the time, climate denialists come back with standard propaganda points and conspiratorial nonsense, and then I end up blocking them so I don’t waste my time in a fruitless argument. They’ll go right on their merry way thinking it’s AOK to eat all the meat in the world, and burn all the fossil fuels in the world–devil may care about carbon emissions.

In the Carbon-Watchers vision man is an evil carbon-emitting entity. Eventually, if these fanatics have their way (are you one of them?) your house will be taxed, or you will be penalized (imprisoned?) when you go over the “Allowable Carbon Emissions” for your city. Do you really want that?

Well, I just want people to live within our planetary means. Otherwise, I guess some cosmic tooth fairy is going to have to just come along and fix the Earth so we don’t have to do anything, or give up anything. Or we could just remake our food and energy systems into something that’s far more practical, productive and harmonious than what we have.

The willful ignorance and straw-grasping of the pro-carbon lobby (and their shills) in the face of such high stakes is utterly infuriating.

But if the resounding and overwhelming conclusion of the world scientific community and every national scientific body hasn’t convinced them, all I’m going to do is piss them off. So bring it on.

When we fix the climate (transition off fossil energy in earnest) we will fix our economy, and not before. The fossil crash is already well underway. The economies of nations are so intertwined with each other that they will never again be separated. We will see a new globalized money system taking shape as the US dollar falls out of favor as the world’s reserve currency. This will be because of our unsustainable trade deficit, tax cuts, and budget deficits started 30 years ago by Reagan and continued under every subsequent President except Clinton. The only way for the US to come back to any semblance of stability and prominence is through a green technology revolution similar to the computer/productivity revolution that got us out of the 1982 recession. If we don’t jump on it fast, China will eat our lunch. They might eat it anyway, because they are not only moving aggressively on green tech, they are leveraging their newfound wealth to modernize their infrastructure and the US is not.

As we see, globalization in other areas hasn’t slowed a bit. UN backed military action is now the rule rather than the exception. The world responded deftly to the Libya crisis. We need to globalize carbon regulation, and it would be in our extreme self-interest to do it immediately. There’s nothing like a dramatic rise in the cost of meat or fossil energy to get people to cut down their use and switch to healthier substitutes. Given the right global price incentives on food and energy, we can produce these substitutes profitably and return our nation and the world to prosperity. It would not only make us wealthy, it would feel really, really good.

Climate deniers may well decide to keep whistling past Earth’s graveyard as long as they can. I wish it were a fringe position, but all you have to do is look at the Gallup poll to see that 48% of Americans now disbelieve the science–with increasingly insane rationalizations. But what they can’t say is they weren’t amply warned. They may be slitting their own throats, but they’re slitting ours too, and we will all bleed out together. And what I won’t do is sit and quietly watch that happen.

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Comments (9 comments)

Thomas / March 28th, 2011, 1:06 pm / #1

You know BlackSun, I actually blogged about this subject recently on my own site. This article has provided me with some food for thought, I feel that you make some important points. In fact, I really wish I had seen it earlier, prior to posting my own article!

Best wishes 8-),

cars2scrap.

Lord Asriel / March 29th, 2011, 8:32 pm / #2

Just sitting here looking at some incredible mountains up here near Lake Louise, thinking, why doesn’t Archangel Michael just kick the shit out of these climate change deniers who are so ignorant it is beyond belief. I made the call to him to do it but I don’t think he really exists, so I think I’ll just have another beer. We have the same problem up here in Canada, in fact we have an election on right now and the Conservatives have many climate change deniers in it, and they may win a majority, if Archangel Michael doesn’t kick their heads in soon. I did tell him how corrupt and stupid they are so if he exists, they will lose. If they win he does not exist, because if any archangel or angel for that matter does exist they would be very protective of Mother Earth and the religious right wing are the sworn enemies of the World Mother, not doubt about that. I am in his retreat right now and have spent more time in his retreat than any keeper on the planet, so I should have some pull around here, I have a special relationship with him. He told me the other day he is going to kick the living shit out of the religious right wing nuts and for me to tell them there is a can of whoop-ass going to opened up on them any day now! Go Michael go!

Now on to some serious stuff. A few hundred miles north of me is an area the size of Florida called the Alberta Tar Sands or the closest thing to Mordor on Earth. Here they rip up the Boreal forest and strip mine the land to get at the dirty oil. The fact they exist at all tells us one thing, and that there is very little conventional oil left in North America. There is almost or more oil here than in Saudi Arabia, but the environmental footprint is huge, they have to use one barrel of oil to get out two barrels of oil, where in conventional oil drilling it’s closer to one barrel used to get one hundred barrels out. The glaciers up here where I am are melting at an incredible rate, way faster than anyone had thought possible.

Sean there are two types of right wing deniers out there. One, the libertarians who look at environmentalism as another form of governmental intervention and can’t stand any form of it. The second type is the religious right wing nuts that are so stupid that they may just be the missing link between monkey and man. Put them both together and you have the Republican Party or here in Canada the Conservative Party. Isn’t it strange how libertarians work with these religious nuts when their real goal is to create a theocratic dictatorship, where the libertarians will all end up in concentration camps if they don’t follow the rules of the phoney Bible. Politics sure makes strange bedfellows; it’s an unholy alliance.

Six books I would recommend to help anyone understand what is going on, and to get a grasp of the incredible depth of ignorance, stupidity and outright deception and corruption that we are up against. You will be very angry when you read these books.

1. Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by Eril Conway and Naomi Oreskes. The title tells it all.

2. The Pagan Christ by Tom Harpur. A great book that exposes the Bible and Christianity as a rehashed Egyptian myth, written by a former Anglican priest, a Rhodes scholar, and a professor of Greek and New Testament at the University of Toronto. To all religions that rely on the Bible, it’s all over, the jig is up.

3. The Armageddon Factor by Marci McDonald. The Armageddon Factor is from a Canadian perspective but it shows how the theocratic agenda in the US is being copied in Canada.

4. The Republican Noise Machine by David Brock. The title tells it all.

5. The Trouble With Billionaires by Linda McQuaig & Neil Brooks. Basically it shows how the extreme concentration of wealth in the hands of a few is bad news for democracy.

6. It’s the Crude, Dude: War, Big Oil and the Fight for the Planet by Linda McQuaig. Here is what Noam Chomsky says about it, “With a keen eye and a grim wit, McQuaig’s perceptive inquiry into the world’s energy system strips away layer after layer…[It] is an urgent wake-up call that should- and must- be read and acted upon without delay.”

BlackSun / March 30th, 2011, 9:51 pm / #3

Excellent, Lord Asriel. Points well taken and also very witty. Good book suggestions. Thank you!

Say Hi to Mike for me if you run into him in Banff. And tell him to please stop pouring those vials of black carbon on the Earth, anyway. Our job's hard enough as it is.

Jeff / July 17th, 2011, 8:41 am / #4

I am interested in alternative energy for a reason other than "saving the planet'. My wallet. Alternative energy is getting to the point that it now is economically justified. As more and more people "invest" in the technology of "solar power" and passive solar heating by orienting their houses towards the south, etc., more companies will be able to operated to provide physical goods and technological support.
If you "believe" in global warming, you should be stockholders in alternative energy companies and , if you can afford it, have your home equipped with a photo-voltaic system for your home power needs. This will advance the cause MUCH more than calling me names (I have been called lots of things by left-leaning people). As more people invest in alternative energy companies, the prices of their goods will go down due to the PROFIT going up in mass-producing goods to provide for the retailler to sell. EVERYBODY WINS!

Jeff / July 17th, 2011, 8:54 am / #5

I am interested in alternative energy for a reason other than "saving the planet'. My wallet. Alternative energy is getting to the point that it now is economically justified. As more and more people "invest" in the technology of "solar power" and passive solar heating by orienting their houses towards the south, etc., more companies will be able to operated to provide physical goods and technological support .http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8BQpciw8suk

Jeff / July 17th, 2011, 8:55 am / #6

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMqc7PCJ-nc&fe...

BlackSun / July 17th, 2011, 9:09 am / #7

The incentives are still set up all wrong for renewables. If you want a market based solution, you have to ensure users of fossil energy are paying the full externalized costs. If that were the case, no one would need to be concerned about saving the planet. (Since fossil fuels are vastly more expensive–estimates of up to $900 per ton of Carbon pollution). And it's not the planet we should be concerned about, it's ourselves. By encouraging the headlong rush to deplete natural capital over the past two centuries, we've set ourselves up for an unprecedented resource crisis. This is a recipe for severe economic stagnation and even potential violence.

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