Late-Stage Climate Denialism
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.
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.