"Billionaire polluter David Koch: Global warming is good for you"
But why does NY Magazine reprint his disinformation without question?
Global warming could be good for the planet, Koch says. “A far greater land area will be available to produce food.”
This is the big pull-out quote from a profile in New York Magazine of the billionaire polluter behind the Tea Parties, whose family outspends Exxon Mobil on climate and clean energy disinformation.
NY Mag gives Koch free rein to spread that disinformation, with not a single quote by any scientist disputing it. Of course, if conservatives continue to listen to Koch and the groups funded by him, like the Cato Institute and Heritage Foundation — and block all efforts to get off our current emissions path — then we are headed towards very high concentrations of carbon dioxide, which will dramatically reduce the land available to produce food, even as we add another 3 billion mouths to feed (see “Intro to global warming impacts: Hell and High Water“).
Rising sea levels will wipe out some of the world’s richest agricultural land, which is near the coast and deltas, while forcing more than 100 million people inland. At the same time, the inland glaciers will shrink sharply, reducing the flow of rivers to tens of millions of people in Asia. And then we have projections of moderate drought over half the planet (at 850 ppm). A NOAA-led study similary found permanent Dust Bowls in Southwest and around the globe on our current emissions trajectory (and irreversibly so for 1000 years). Future droughts will be fundamentally different from all previous droughts that humanity has experienced because they will be very hot weather droughts (see Must-have PPT: The “global-change-type drought” and the future of extreme weather).
That’s why Scientific American asks “Could Food Shortages Bring Down Civilization?” But NY Mag doesn’t ask any such questions. It just reprints his nonsense without question. Brad Johnson of Wonk Room has more:
In a recently published New York Magazine profile, pollution billionaire David Koch lies about his support for tea-party radicalism, cracks racist jokes, and denies the threat of global warming. One of the wealthiest men in the world, Koch has used his billions for decades to promote the extremist, anti-regulatory, right-wing political groups like Americans for Prosperity that now organize under the Tea Party banner. “I’ve never been to a tea-party event,” Koch told reporter Andrew Goldman, even though he hosted AFP’s “Defending the American Dream” tea-party hoopla in Washington, DC, last year.Fueled by his fear that the greenhouse gas pollution generated by Koch Industries might be limited by government regulation, Koch promotes a fantasy about benefits of a changing climate:
Koch says he’s not sure if global warming is caused by human activities, and at any rate, he sees the heating up of the planet as good news. Lengthened growing seasons in the northern hemisphere, he says, will make up for any trauma caused by the slow migration of people away from disappearing coastlines. “The Earth will be able to support enormously more people because a far greater land area will be available to produce food,” he says.
Unfortunately, Koch’s pollution really is heating the planet, and the consequences are grave. With less than one degree C of average warming, heat waves, extreme storms, droughts, sea levels, ocean acidity, wildfires, and flooding are already on the rise. In the unregulated world of global warming pollution envisioned by Koch, the planet’s average temperature will increase five to ten times more than existing warming, with a significant chance of a runaway greenhouse effect. As warming passes 7 degrees C, possible within this century, half the world’s inhabited area will become uninhabitable, literally too hot for the human body to survive. The world’s coral reefs will go extinct, as will about fifty percent of the species on the planet.
The IPCC analysis of global warming’s impact on agriculture found that even if destructive changes in extreme events or the spread of pests and diseases are ignored, agricultural yields will decline in the poorer regions of the world under relatively minor warming. Events like the record Russian heat wave that has destroyed 32 percent of its wheat crop and sent global prices skyrocketing will become commonplace. As temperatures increase more than 3 C, global productivity will decline, the American heartland turned to a permanent Dust Bowl, coastal areas consumed by rising seas, the world’s glaciers melting into memory. As the David Koch-funded Smithsonian Human Origins Initiative warns, global warming is an “experiment” that is “likely to create entirely new survival challenges” for the entire human race. Quite simply, Koch’s happy scenario of a greenhouse planet comfortably sustaining human civilization is not based in fact.
Koch’s sense of humor is as regressive as his politics. “I played basketball when you could be white and be good,” Koch joked about his college days, though he made sure to tell the reporter, “I’m not a racist. I’m very broad-minded.”
Remember that Koch funds the Smithsonian exhibit that whitewashes danger of human-caused climate change. But as the NY Mag profile makes clear, such greenwashing was desperately needed by poor victimized David Koch:
Earlier this year, he found himself attacked for being the financial engine of the largely white, largely male, very angry crowds that were gathering in towns across the country””a few waving overtly racist or menacing anti-Obama signs””to protest the president’s proposed health-care bill and other issues. Koch denies being directly involved with the tea party”””I’ve never been to a tea-party event. No one representing the tea party has ever even approached me”””but he and his brother Charles were being accused of supporting the group through an affiliated conservative organization. Rachel Maddow had effectively called Koch the tea party’s puppet master. “The radical press is coming after me and Charles,” he said. “They’re using us as whipping boys.” Burnishing his reputation was no longer his concern; now, it seemed, he needed to save it.
Shame on the Smithsonian for taking his dirty money — and especially for such a dreadful exhibit.