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Open Thread And Cartoon Of The Week: ‘Blind Faith Of Climate Change Deniers Endangers Us All’

By Joe Romm  

"Open Thread And Cartoon Of The Week: ‘Blind Faith Of Climate Change Deniers Endangers Us All’"

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Opine away!

Two-time Pulitzer Prize-winner David Horsey had a cartoon and column in the L. A. Times this week, “Blind faith of climate change deniers endangers us all.” Here’s an excerpt:

Great harm is what comes from denying scientific facts about 21st century issues. That is the concern of the second Newsweek article. Written by Mark Hertsgaard, author of “Hot: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth,” it documents a stark threat to mankind’s food supply:

“By 2050, scientists project, the world’s leading wheat belts — the U.S. and Canadian Midwest, northern China, India, Russia, and Australia — on average will experience, every other year, a hotter summer than the hottest summer now on record. Wheat production in that period could decline between 23 and 27 percent, reports the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), unless swift action is taken to limit temperature rise and develop crop varieties that can tolerate a hotter world.”

Hertsgaard takes the reader to North Dakota, where climate change has forced production of durum wheat from the east into the west of the state. Ironically, farmers are now bumping up against the oil boom in western North Dakota that is gobbling up farmland, sucking up vast quantities of water and flaring huge amounts of natural gas into the atmosphere, thereby exacerbating the ongoing rise in global temperatures that are threatening not only wheat crops, but rice and corn as well.

Yet, even though the consequences of climate change are becoming frighteningly obvious and, as Hertsgaard writes, “scientists at both the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency linked the record heat and drought of summer of 2012 with man-made climate change,” far too many conservatives cling to a blind faith that climate science is a hoax. Doug Goehring, North Dakota’s Republican agriculture commissioner, is typical of them all. Rather than believe the science, he says, “I believe an agenda is being pushed.”

Yes, it is — but it is the agenda of oil companies and other extracting industries that will not let a looming peril to humanity get in the way of their profits. And it is the climate change deniers in Congress and in state governments who faithfully push that agenda and will not be dissuaded, even by a host of angels.

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73 Responses to Open Thread And Cartoon Of The Week: ‘Blind Faith Of Climate Change Deniers Endangers Us All’

  1. Robert Callaghan says:

    Green power people sell hope not truth.
    http://physics.ucsd.edu/do-the-math/2012/08/battery-performance-deficit-disorder/

    Many Greens soft-sell the threat hoping to keep the cash flowing. But, people are not going to pay more for gas and heat unless the crap is scared out them.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFY31MIubG4

    Hansen direct deposit dividends is the only idea that has hope. If governments, NGOs and corporations get their greedy little hands on that C02 tax then we are truly finished.

    • Superman1 says:

      The ‘truth’ probably lies between the lectures of Kevin Anderson and Guy McPherson. If one reads between the lines of their statements, it is apparent there is no way we will escape global climate catastrophe. In theory, there is a slight chance; in practice, no way.

      But, many of the blog site monitors and posters are climate activists. Their main goal is to gain recruits. And, the way you gain recruits is by saying ‘Yes I can’, rather than ‘No I can’t’. So, that’s what we see here: messages of ‘hope’ that have no basis in reality.

      • prokaryotes says:

        There are many things we do not know yet. Ofc, if we do not start acting (phase out of fossils) today we will see a self fulfilling kind of climate event going to manifest.

  2. Eric Timar says:

    We need green youth “travel” soccer leagues — Part 2. I’m hesitant to bother you pros with this, but nonetheless this should be easy, low-hanging fruit; and many, many parents out there will understand it, I think.

    Includes scary maps!

    Thanks, and peace.
    https://erictimarbooks.wordpress.com/2012/12/14/we-need-green-youth-travel-soccer-leagues/

  3. prokaryotes says:

    It is time to put Climate deniers and Climate action delayers on trial for crimes against humanity.

    Because they threaten the survival of our civilization.

    • Robert Callaghan says:

      Obama and Clinton kill children all the time.
      Banks launder drug money and walk.
      Bush and Cheney ignore the world court.
      Over 5 million killed in the Congo since 1998.
      Over 2 million children killed for
      high-tech conflict minerals.
      Nobody know, nobody cares.

      • prokaryotes says:

        I do not agree with most of the content, however the difference between your examples and mine is that the entire civilization is at stake, not just people affected by a local conflict(Whoever is responsible for that).

        • Robert Callaghan says:

          If Obama and Bush can kill thousands of people and get away with it, then that speaks to the entirety of so-called civilization.

          • prokaryotes says:

            The last time i checked, Obama ended the war in Iraq and is about to end the war in Afghanistan. Yes, there are still 160 or so individuals in Gitmo but really this is not the scope here.

      • Michelle M says:

        Classic distraction. You don’t have a cogent argument, so you through in something irrelevant to start an argument on a completely different tangent.

        • Robert Callaghan says:

          Kissinger and Obama get a Nobel Peace Prize while killing thousands of innocent people. They do not get prosecuted for anything. If they get away with that how can we expect anyone else to get prosecuted? How can you say that is not a cogent argument. I don’t mind criticism when it makes sense.

        • Carol says:

          The anthropogenic ruination of the earth/atmosphere and wars . . these are interrelated.
          At the root of destruction lies out of control greed fueled by ego(some would say sociopathy), the assertion of power over other beings/things and objectification.
          Whether it be the natural world, women, minorities, indigenous populations; domination (which requires objectification) over the world and it’s inhabitants leaves a trail of destruction.
          There are many people who care. People who have compassion and courage and lead their lives by a strong moral compass that guides them. People who value all creatures of this earth and many who would die to protect them. Sadly, it does not seem like this is enough . . . . .

    • Climate Hawk says:

      I totally agree. Fossil fuel industry leaders and their craven government servants collude to commit the gravest of crimes.

      • Mike Roddy says:

        Deniers and fossil companies need to be held accountable in an international court. This could happen in The Hague, or even the court of Tuvalu or Baffin Island.

        Executives should face criminal charges for crimes against humanity. If they refuse to appear, they can be convicted in absentia.

        The Tillersons and Kochs will hide behind their walls and private security, of course, and not appear. That’s OK- the charge needs to be on the record, with a detailed list of charges.

  4. Andy Olsen says:

    Climate deniers are analogous to the appeasers of fascism in the run-up to WWII, leaving us unprepared and cutting our defenses for the gathering threat.

    • Superman1 says:

      There are parallels between climate change now and appeasement then, but I’m not sure yours is correct.

      The history of this country is to attack at the earliest stages when the Left is on the move, but to ‘hold back’ when the Right is on the move. This applies domestically as well as foreign. In the late 30s, this country was ‘isolationist’; very few people wanted to get involved in the War. Many businesses were dealing profitably with Germany, and the population felt that the oceans would protect them.

      After Germany attacked the USSR in late June 1941, Roosevelt had a dilemma. If Japan joined Germany in the war against the USSR, the Axis might achieve a quick victory, given the progress the Germans were making at the start of the war. Therefore, Roosevelt made a move that turned out to be quite brilliant (except from the perspective of those Americans who lost their lives or were wounded severely). He froze the assets of the Japanese, cutting off most of their oil supply, and essentially forced them to initiate war. Given the wars Japan was already fighting in Asia, they chose not to get involved fighting the USSR as well. This allowed the USSR to use its Siberian reserves to turn the tide at the Battles of Moscow and Stalingrad, and eventually prevail. Britain came out of the War weakened, and Germany and the USSR were devastated. The USA came out strong, and became the economic and military leader of the world.

      In climate change, the ‘deniers’ are today’s version of the America Firsters, who were vocal about non-intervention. But, as the vast majority of Americans were for non-intervention until we were attacked at Pearl Harbor, today the vast majority of Americans are for ‘non-intervention’ in making the sacrifices necessary to eliminate fossil fuels and ameliorate climate change. We may pay ‘lip service’ to climate change by our responses to polls, but when it comes time to making real sacrifices to turn the tide, we are AWOL. The politicians realize this, and do nothing.

      While some people believe we need a modern-day Pearl Harbor to rouse the public from their lethargy, I suspect by the time an event of that magnitude occurred, it would be far to late to avoid catastrophe. I’m not sure that it’s not far too late already.

  5. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Friday Lunch at the Lantern: A Disheartening Story.

    The Lantern is a watering hole in downtown Naperville, IL. The “FREE BEER TOMORROW” sign behind the bar accurately establishes lack of ambiance. The sassy waitresses only act to enhance loud, bawdy atmosphere. It’s an engineers dream for a “burgers and brews” Friday lunch with compadres. And so it has been, a regular Friday lunch time gathering place for engineers since Bell labs opened its Indian Hill location in the 60′s.

    I personally have been a regular since those heady, pre divestiture days of the mid-70′s – back when Bell Labs was unofficially recognized as a national treasure. PHD’s performed research while MS’s did designs with the aid of BS’s. Bell Labs had a running total of patents that exceeded one per working day since it’s inception on West Street in NYC nearly a century ago. Names like Black, Bardeen, Brattain, Schockley, Penzias, and Wilson made life changing discoveries and inventions like the feedback amplifier, the transistor, television, digital telephony, and cellular technology. They were even the first to listen to the miniscule background radiation left behind by the Big Bang.

    Today the Indian Hill location that was once a Bell Labs site, then a Lucent location, is now an Alcatel-Lucent facility, and is likely in its death throes. But we continue to meet regularly at the Lantern, even though we are now spread over several area employers – a sign of the economic times. Yesterday was our XMAS 2012 lunch, with a mere eight attendees – three from the mother company, Alcatel-Lucent.

    Early on one of the Alcatel-Lucent gents started badgering one of the other Alcatel-Lucent gents about his belief in “that global warming bullshit”. My rabbit ears singled out the offensive comment from within the din. I turned my head toward him across the table and said, “Really?” “Global warming bullshit?” “Really?” His response:
    “Yes bullshit. It’s not real. And even if it is real, what could be bad about having Florida’s climate instead of Chicago’s?”
    Me: “How about drought? Would that be bad?”
    He: “We wouldn’t have drought. We get plenty of rain here.”
    Me: “No! Seriously, drought! We would have chronic drought!”
    He: “That’s just some alarmist bullshit.”
    Me: “No! That’s just a projection by some actual scientists!”

    At that point several of the others jumped in, acting as peacemakers. We decided to agree to disagree, as disheartening as it was. My argumentative opposition most likely has at least a masters degree in engineering or computer science. He is not a redneck, but I’d wager that he gets his information from Fock Snooz and/or the rest of the right wing media – perhaps WUWT.

    Sorry about the length of my little story. Thanks for reading.

    • Mike Roddy says:

      I enjoyed that story, Dennis.

      People get fed lies by the media, and nobody is giving this issue the attention in deserves. There are remedies available.

    • Carol says:

      Dennis,
      Thanks for the story. I had a similar experience (15 years ago!) at another watering hole that is not far from The Lantern–the Country House.
      3 cheers to you for trying to educate! Lots of college educated people in DuPage County which does not necessarily translate into wisdom as illustrated by your story.
      I used to ride my horse through the fields/woods of Naperville pre-McMansion/strip mall days. It was a beautiful place.

  6. Nell says:

    If I understand it right, we’re experiencing the consequences of ~40 year old emissions, and by 2050 what’s in the atmosphere now will be realized.
    And given melting permafrost, ice free arctic, etc., I wonder how well we understand what current emission really are.

    Call me an alarmist, but it’s appropriate to be alarmed when facing extinction.

    • Superman1 says:

      Go to Guy McPherson’s Web site/blog. He has already thrown in the towel, and believes we cannot avoid extinction, sooner rather than later. Most of his posters agree, and they view the impending catastrophe the way a Stage 4 cancer patient accepts his limited situation after denial has ended.

  7. Paul Klinkman says:

    The issue isn’t exactly blind faith. In the old Soviet Union, nobody at all had blind faith in the Soviet system. They just kept giving it lip service because that’s where the power was. Privately, the hypocrisy of Soviet Communism died from 1000 popular jokes.

  8. Will Fox says:

    “Wheat production in that period could decline between 23 and 27 percent.”

    Not to trivialise the problem, of course – but I’m sure advances in technology could easily compensate for this.

    Vertical farms, anyone? Drought-resistant crops made by advances in biotech? Artificially-grown meat? Food grown in space? etc. There are plenty of imaginative solutions.

  9. I wonder if some deniers are really true believers. I surely seems that way.

    “Thirty-six percent of Americans say that the severity of recent natural disasters indicate that we are at the precipice of Jesus’ second coming and the end of the world, according to the survey, released by Public Religion Research Institute.” (full story here: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/12/13/survey-one-in-three-americans-see-extreme-weather-as-a-sign-of-biblical-end-times/comment-page-1/

    If they are welcoming these events to release them to heaven, how might they vote to preserve the earth?

  10. prokaryotes says:

    Chasing Ice movie reveals largest iceberg break-up ever filmed http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHmxBmA7tQo

  11. prokaryotes says:

    Mississippi river faces shipping freeze as water levels drop
    Navigation has become treacherous as the worst US drought in half a century brings water levels close to record lows http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/14/mississippi-river-shipping-levels?CMP=twt_fd

  12. prokaryotes says:

    Imports drive up UK carbon emissions
    CO2 footprint grew 10 per cent from 2009 to 2010, reversing a 19 per cent decline the previous year http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2232107/imports-drive-up-uk-carbon-emissions

  13. prokaryotes says:

    Extreme weather more persuasive on climate change than scientists
    AP poll shows that events like superstorm Sandy are succeeding with climate sceptics where scientists have been failing http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/dec/14/extreme-weather-climate-change-scientists

  14. prokaryotes says:

    Coastal communities bear the brunt of climate change: report
    KARACHI, Dec 14: Changes in weather conditions over the past two decades have aggravated the miseries of coastal communities living below the poverty line. Besides, the existing nexus between political and economic elites who tend to take undue privileges by controlling resources make matters even worse, says a report published by the World Wide Fund for Nature-Pakistan (WWF-P).
    http://dawn.com/2012/12/15/coastal-communities-bear-the-brunt-of-climate-change-report/

  15. prokaryotes says:

    NASA has an excellent website on climate http://climate.nasa.gov/

  16. prokaryotes says:

    This week my YT channel broke the 500k viewer mark (in roughly 12 month). Though i noticed a slight up in viewers since around summer, which probably means more people becoming interested in the topic of climate change. Though most views come from a handful of videos.

    https://www.youtube.com/user/ClimateProgressWorld?feature=mhee

    For a comparison, ClimateCrocks channel has 5 times that but exists since may 2006. Why his excellent videos have often below 20.000 viewers is a bit of a puzzle to me. Maybe because the name Climate Crock is not directly tied with climate change? http://www.youtube.com/user/greenman3610

  17. prokaryotes says:

    Climate Change — The “800-year lag” unravelled https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQ3PzYU1N7A

  18. BillD says:

    One post above noted the potential for a large decline in wheat production. The current issue of Newsweek has a three page article on “the end of pasta” pointing out that wheat production is going down due to climate change. In some cases, the problem would be reduced if farmers moved their farms west or north, but that is not so easy. Just like species solving climate problems by moving northward–that was not always possible even in prehistoric times before humans altered the landscape. The faster the changes, the less likely that species or farmers will successfully adapt to the change.

  19. David B. Benson says:

    Maybe these Audi designs will actually be useful:
    https://www.audi-mediaservices.com/publish/ms/content/en/public/hintergrundberichte/2012/09/17/audi_future_lab__mobility/audi_future_energies.standard.gid-oeffentlichkeit.html
    The idea of using excess electricity to produce methane might well hold promise.

  20. Paul Magnus says:

    These crazy times…

    Superstorm Sandy’s Toll On Mental Health Emerges Among Survivors

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidferris/2012/03/31/is-climate-change-a-mental-health-emergency/

  21. prokaryotes says:

    James Hansen on President Obama and Carbon Pricing http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gs4k9tuZzOA

  22. prokaryotes says:

    Pricing Carbon Conference – Dr. James Hansen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6EX4v5vvlAk

  23. prokaryotes says:

    The Winter That Wasn’t

    It is early winter, in the year of the Winter Heat Wave, 2012. There has been day after day of temperatures into the 60’s. The sun-filled, passive solar house is heating to the mid-70’s everyday and the adobe walls radiate back their heat into the evening. We make small fires at night, not because we necessarily need the extra heat but more to light up the nights that are dark and long.

    The mountains are bare – bare as in zero snow all the way to the tops. Down here in the valley at 7,500 hundred feet, the ground is still not frozen. Confused plants aren’t sure if they are supposed to grow or die.

    I don’t recognize my very familiar gardens despite our having lived and grown together for 36 years. It is so warm I still need to water the arugula and fall planted crops; at least those within reach of the well. These plants should have begun their winter rest in damp, frozen ground months ago. In the best of winters they would already to have lain under snow for at least a month, the snow providing insulation as well as wetness. http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/12/14/the-winter-that-wasnt/

    The New Mexico Winter Heat Wave:

  24. prokaryotes says:

    The Truth About Global Warming – Science & Distortion – Stephen Schneider http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=4_eJdX6y4hM&NR=1

  25. prokaryotes says:

    Locked greenhouse gas in Arctic sea may be ‘climate canary’
    Undersea methane hydrate deposit is the shallowest yet found. http://www.nature.com/news/locked-greenhouse-gas-in-arctic-sea-may-be-climate-canary-1.11988

  26. Colorado Bob says:

    Extreme droughts in North Africa are killing Atlas cedar from Morocco to Algeria. Heat and drought are battering the high-elevation tropical moist forests in Uganda, mountain acacia in Zimbabwe and centuries-old aloe plants in Namibia. Tropical forests of Malaysia and Borneo have also suffered significant death. Drought has also lambasted the tropical dry forests of northwest and southwest India, fir in South Korea, the junipers of Saudi Arabia, and pine and fir in central Turkey. Extensive areas of forest in two regions of China have now been recognized as being at a high threat of mortality in the ensuing years. Russia too has identified 187.8 million acres of high-threat forests whose trees are severely stress by drought. Australia has seen widespread death in acacia woodlands and eucalypt and Corymbia forests. New Zealand has documented drought-induced death in high-elevation beech forests. Oak, fir, spruce, beech and pines across Western Europe are dying too.

    http://www.statesman.com/news/news/opinion/halter-global-warming-fatal-to-earths-trees/nTWzW/

  27. prokaryotes says:

    Was Superstorm Sandy a Result of Climate Change? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFM98okhyss

  28. prokaryotes says:

    Unsafe Security
    A sociologist aptly analyzes our failures in top-down protection.

    In addition to urging people to be more reasonable about potential threats, Molotch makes a strong case for optimism and kindness. Treating every air traveler as a potential terrorist and every Hurricane Katrina refugee as a potential looter is dehumanizing. Molotch argues that we do better as a society when we trust and respect people more. Yes, the occasional bad thing will happen, but 1) it happens less often, and is less damaging, than you probably think, and 2) individuals naturally organize to defend each other. This is what happened during the evacuation of the Twin Towers and in the aftermath of Katrina before official security took over. Those in charge often do a worse job than the common people on the ground.

    While that message will please skeptics of authority, Molotch sees a role for government as well. In fact, many of his lessons are primarily aimed at government agencies, to help them design and implement more effective security systems. His final chapter is invaluable on that score, discussing how we should focus on nurturing the good in most people—by giving them the ability and freedom to self-organize in the event of a security disaster, for example—rather than focusing solely on the evil of the very few. It is a hopeful yet realistic message for an irrationally anxious time. Whether those government agencies will listen is another question entirely. http://reason.com/archives/2012/12/12/unsafe-security

    • Merrelyn Emery says:

      Molotch is on the money. When left to themselves, people organize on the second design principle that produces cooperation. All our cultures need a rapid reorganization to that principle from the current first principle that produces competition and conflict, ME

  29. Frank Zaski says:

    To slow world-wide emissions, we need to cut out import of goods from distant countries, particularly China.

    At least 8% of China’s emissions are generated producing goods for the US. And China emits four times as much CO2 as the U.S. for every unit of GDP. Dirty coal and oil plants generate 70% of Chinese electricity vs. 36% in the US.

    Sea shipping is responsible for 18-30% of the world’s NOx, 9% of SOx and 4% of all climate change emissions and US imports account for the largest single country proportion. From China, it is 11,000 miles round trip for a ship, burning highly polluting bunker fuel, and thousands of miles for diesel burning trains and trucks to deliver.

    So, the moral of the story is:
    Don’t buy imports, particularly from distant countries
    Put pressure on our “Made in China” importers (Wal-Mart, Target, etc.) to buy US, at least demand a low carbon footprint from their overseas suppliers

    • Jay Alt says:

      I believe the benefits also go like this-
      For each $3.33 spent by all American families on US goods,
      it translates into 10,000 American jobs.

    • Superman1 says:

      The moral is:

      The closer we come to the resource footprint we had when we first appeared on this planet, the more self-sustaining we become. That means small communities, self-reliant self-sustaining. The exact opposite of how we are organized presently.

  30. Alex Smith says:

    Audio of 17 minute film “Arctic Methane – Why Sea Ice Matters” here:
    http://www.ecoshock.org/downloads/climate2012/ES_AMEG_LoFi.mp3

    Clips of Cambridge polar ice expert Peter Wadhams, NASA’s James Hansen, Natalia Shakhova from the University of Alaska, and David Wasdell, founder of the Apollo-Gaia project.

  31. Spike says:

    There is extremely stormy weather reported from Scotland in recent days. Nothing unusual for Scotland I thought, but the effects on sea defences suggest this was of a fairly singular magnitude:

    Gerry Hughes, chairman of the North Berwick Harbour Trust Association, said he believed the storm was the worst in more than 100 years. He said: “This was a massive storm causing damage to sea walls that have stood for 150-odd years.The wind strength wasn’t all that high, but the sea was absolutely beyond understanding. In the harbour you have a 40ft sea container that was washed approximately 200m, took away some fencing, and went straight into the harbour.There were also sea defence boulders weighing up to 200 kilos washed 150m along the esplanade, so that gives you the size and some sort of scale of the energy of the whole thing.”

    Other areas report damage:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-20739484