U.S. Global Warming Denial Will Help China Overtake America, Experts Warn

ABC News: U.S. prestige falling as world has ‘pretty well given up’ on any American leadership facing climate change.

The legendary Peter Raven has a must-see ABC News interview. Bill Blakemore has a terrific piece on it, “Global Warming Denialism ‘Just Foolishness,’ Scientist Peter Raven Says.”

Raven and biologist Paul R. Ehrlich co-invented “the bedrock concept of co-evolution,” in 1964.  Raven tells ABC bluntly

“It’s not a matter of conjecture anymore,” he said. “Climate change is the most serious challenge probably that the human race has ever confronted.”

Raven quickly summarized the virtually unanimous understanding of the world’s climate scientists and other responsible experts about the great upheavals manmade global warming is now producing.

Blakemore has a great video interview of Raven “in the now world-famous, immense and exquisite gardens that .. he had turned into an expansive vision of what a peaceful and balanced world could look like — a sort of international botanical metaphor.”

Raven talks warming starting around 2:15:

He slams denialism, as Blakemore explains:

America’s Prestige Damaged by Its Climate Denialism; World Has ‘Given Up’ on Hoped-for U.S. Leadership

“Two years ago,” Raven added in his email, “the world was hoping for U.S. leadership on this question, global climate change, and now it has pretty well given up, with us as the only hold-out nation on the science.”

An extensive “disinformation campaign” in the United States about the scientific solidity and gravity of manmade global warming has been described in detail by a number of academic analyses and extensive professional journalistic enquiry.

For example, “Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues From Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming,” by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, details how ideological, political and fossil fuel industry interests have been able to confuse and intimidate many leaders in legislature and media.

Blakemore notes that other  leading experts have made a similar warning of the risks posed to this country of allowing its science, climate, and energy policy to continue  to be captured by the deniers:

Also dovetailing with this and Peter Raven’s assessment that “the world has pretty much given up” on American leadership in climate, Christiana Figueres, the head of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) used even stronger language, speaking of the “tragedy” of the U.S. position:

The tragedy of the position that the U.S. is taking is that not only does it act here in a way that is not particularly ambitious, but the more tragic part about it is the U.S. is cutting off its possibilities to be a leader in this field, to be a leader in green technology (and thus) to create jobs,” Figueres said. “The U.S. is losing leadership to China.”

So we lose moral leadership — which will become an increasing threat to our so-called “soft power” as the full impact of climate change begins to kick in over the coming decades and the world sees our  intransigence as a major reason for inaction.

And we lose the chance to be a leader in the single biggest job creating sector of this century — carbon-reducing technologies and strategies.

And we undermine science education, another key component of a successful 21st-century economy. As Former presidential candidate Jon Huntsman told ABC’s Jake Tapper back in August:

I think we ought to be straight up and rational and stick with the facts.   And when we have a body of science, listen when — you know, if you had 98 out of 100 oncologists, cancer doctors, who basically said the following course of treatment is  going to be good for prostate, breast or colon cancers, we would all salute and say finally we have a consensus among the scientific community.

We raise up our young people we tell them to get a good education and tell them to move forward and solve the great challenges of today, find a cure for cancer, make the world a better place. We then get the results are willing to jettison it and to shun it?   I just think that’s the wrong direction.

The Daily Mail headline on the ABC interview of Raven is “Global warming denial in U.S. will help China overtake America, says top scientist.” When the Daily Mail criticizes you for denialism, you know you have gone way overboard.

32 Responses to U.S. Global Warming Denial Will Help China Overtake America, Experts Warn

  1. John Tucker says:

    As much as I complain about China’s pollution now they have verbally and industrially committed to a future of aggressive science based policies to combat greenhouse gases.

    Using reason and argument we should have arrived at that far before them and be well on our way to facilitating the inevitable decisions the rest of the world would make.

    But that didn’t happen. We listened to doubt, fear and unreasoned argument in our collective energy decisions and have recently only marginally accepted a reasonable science based approach to critical decisions.

    Bad leadership, populist validation and oversimplification of argument and a timidly silent real intellectual community worked in tandem to sink us.

  2. John Tucker says:

    In their own words:

    Full Text: Report on the Work of the Government (12) (Xinhua)
    08:18, March 16, 2012 ( )

  3. M Tucker says:

    Today we have SE Cupp easily pushing aside Alex Wagner’s attempt to argue in favor of science; even when Cupp’s “science” expert is Rick Santorum.

    Today we have Fred Singer claiming that Michael Mann’s work has been “discredited.”

    That is just today from a few sources. The folks you need to persuade that US leadership is vitally important for US security and for its economy, DO NOT CARE.

    Oh, when China stops burning ever greater quantities of coal to produce electricity I will worry about its possible leadership on climate change. The wind and solar economy is a different issue (you can be a world leader in renewable energy and still be the world leader in GHG emissions) and again, the folks you need to persuade that US leadership is vitally important DO NOT CARE.

  4. Paul Magnus says:

    “Now, do this simplest of arithmetic: two-and-a-half-times 0.8.
    It equals 2.0, the upper limit of increased temperature the world’s nations have agreed they will try to stick to.
    In other words, even if humanity limits warming to the level nations have agreed on, that would still be 2 1/2 times the warming we’ve already got.
    Even if the world’s significant greenhouse emitters were to somehow achieve an upper temperature limit of 2.O (which would mean their taking far more drastic action than all countries combined are now promising to do) that would still mean we are in a world with two-and-a-half times the increase we are already experiencing.
    And as the temperature goes up, releasing more energy into the atmosphere, the accumulation of severe weather events that cause suffering of various kinds is not expected by scientists to increase in a ”linear” way, but “exponentially,” growing ever more frequent, and ever more severe.
    This simplest of math underlies all encounters here at this 17th annual global climate summit.

  5. prokaryotes says:

    Watch this movie and imagine the captain stands as a metaphor for the USA, when it comes to climate change action.

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Your point regarding the moral cowardice of the scientific and intellectual communities is so very true. That the bad succeed in the absence of resistance from the good, motivated, one can only assume, by fear and trepidation at the prospect of getting down in the mire with practised pigs, is an old truth, never more bitterly plain than now. Scientists etc ought to be an intellectual elite in any sane society, but in capitalism the one and only leading caste tolerated is self-selected on the basis of greed and unscrupulousness, hence our predicament.

  7. Mike Roddy says:

    ABC’s coverage here could be an important indicator. They haven’t exactly wrapped themselves in glory in the past, but maybe MSM is finally waking up. It’s unlikely it’s their conscience- more like worrying about alienating young viewers- but we’ll take it.

    Losing tech edges to China is bad, but we will have much bigger problems on our current course. Climate refugees will no longer be meek, and will arrive on our shores in a bad mood. Someone is going to be blamed for global catastrophe, and we are currently the top candidate.

  8. Leif says:

    It is clear to me that the Ecocidal Fossil and Extraction Industries along with the Right Wing of the GOP as well as the Tea Baggers that endorse them are a National Security threat and need to be outed.

    Permaculture can show a crack in a quickly closing door.
    36 min. but rewarding.

    But we need time…

  9. prokaryotes says:

    Great video and very wise words. Also this is a great garden, really a master at work.

  10. The U.S. is falling behind in most areas, with the exception of military hardware production.

    However, that doesn’t mean that China, despite it’s investment in and proported adherence to climate research, will offer the world much hope. They’re building umpteen coal-fired plants per year, and buying huge quantities of coal from Australia, Columbia, and, if we can’t stop them, the U.S.

    So it’s nice that they are beginning to talk the talk, but, if history is any lesson, it will be surprising if they walk the walk of clean energy.

  11. Leif says:

    I have often pondered what the Military would look like and what the consequences would be if they transformed themselves from a killing machine to a Permaculture development machine. With the full expertise of science to maximize local conditions. To use CB’s for excavation and construction of solar, wind, communications and security until communities could fend for themselves. In an apolitical/capitalistic Green Awareness mode not a outsource Blackwater mode. A humanitarian mode, not a “let’s see how many billionaires we can make” mode.

  12. John Tucker says:

    He needs to be out enjoying that “expert advisor” money. He sold his soul and trashed his legacy for it.

    Not to mention his near criminal defense of second hand smoke.

  13. John Tucker says:

    Thought this was interesting too:

    Exporting China’s e-bike marvel

    In 1998, China commenced mass-producing electric bikes indigenously with 56,000 units made by a dozen producers. The world that year produced 42 million motorbikes, almost all fuelled by fossil fuels. By 2010, China had 2,000-odd manufacturers producing 30 million electric units a year to feed a rapidly-growing annual global market of US$12 billion.

    Unlike other export-oriented industries, China consumes 80% of its own production. It has over 150 million electric bikes on the road, ( )

  14. prokaryotes says:

    This too – relevant:

    Mobility scooters becoming ‘credit crunch runabouts’

    And this month Renault starts delivery of it’s Twizy “Scooter – Buggy” which in one version can be driven without a drivers license!

  15. Sasparilla says:

    Nice to see this on ABC and thanks for posting it Joe.

    If climate change starts to chain beyond humanities control the US and the Republican party, in particular, would be blamed for the deaths of billions with a hatred reserved for few entities in history.

    I personally don’t think we’ll get to that. Here in the U.S. we have a good base in place – the general populace knows climate change is real, its bad and wants action on it (just doesn’t want action bad enough to overcome the forces of greed and avarice holding things back in Washington). That’s a good place to start from.

    As climate change effects continue to get worse and worse in the coming years there will come a tipping point where the US general population will rate climate change as requiring action “now” and they will knock open the damn in Washington.

    Seeing what’s happened with the weather coverage over this winter and spring and the direct US media communication that this is climate change in action – has given me much better hope we will see the day in the years ahead when a majority of the US population finally has enough and makes climate change action occur. JMHO of course.

  16. Wile E Coyote says:

    So China, the king of coal, has the prestige of being the leader in preventing global warming?
    Verbal commitments worth about as much as pious signing of toothless treaties (as in Kyoto).
    The daily mockery of one’s opponents reminds me of Rush Limbaugh and Bill Maher, so I suppose this blog has good company in the comedy realm.

  17. John Tucker says:

    ohhhhh noooooooooo………….

  18. prokaryotes says:

    It gets better …

    Transition To Electric Cars Inevitable? China Is Forcing Gas Prices UP!!

  19. Max says:

    I remember that in the Democratic primaries one of the reasons that Obama won the primary and not Clinton is because of Obama’s vote against the Iraq war-Clinton had voted for it-during a time of rally round the flag voting for it had seemed the politically expedient thing to do-a few short years later-it revealed itself to have been the wrong stance. It won’t be long before a great many politicians who deny AGW will find themselves discredited and the anger will be great.

  20. Todd says:

    The USA is still the superpower of PV technology and product development, and the rest of the world will be the main befefactor even while climate denialists dominate the public discourse in USA. If China profits most from this, as long as the rate of global PV deployment continues to grow in a significant way, then so be it.

  21. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    If China can hold it together, then her domination of world affairs is almost inevitable. China is so close to the brink of chaos, but sees the problem. The US is further back from the edge but cannot see it.

    Why oh why does the US have to make China’s rise so much easier. We destroy our finacial dominace with war after war. We seem to have given up on academic excellence, scientific domination will follow. With perhaps the exception of Australia the US is alienating it’s friends.

    Moral superiority has gone, the US was the best but now claims to be better than the worst.

  22. Raul M. says:

    Saw an interesting idea the other day.
    The commentator wrote a little bit about the need for freedom to do the right thing about the environment.

  23. Timeslayer says:

    “but maybe MSM is finally waking up”

    I really doubt it, because these one-off stories never turn into sustained serious coverage of climate change, which of course is what a responsible media would give us.

    We don’t have a single responsible mainstream media outlet in the US. The Brits on the other hand have at least a couple, in the BBC and the Guardian.


  24. james says:

    Timidity?! What a complete load. Where were you during the Bush junta’s direct assault on climate scientists? See if your memory is conveniently short. The Republican congress critters including Hatch, Inhofe and Cole piled on.

  25. Mike Roddy says:

    You could very well be correct, Timeslayer. Our media landscape is so grim- journalism organizations give Andy Revkin awards all the time, for Christ’s sake- that I was probably guilty of wishin’ and hopin’.

  26. prokaryotes says:

    On current course the earth will decrease it’s capacities to grow foods and Lovelock suspects optimistically that only 1 billion can be fed. Also there will be more food riots and anarchy creeping into societies. And then there is a growing group of climate refugees.

    Sometimes i try to imagine how the military will tackle the threats of this future. One thing is certain, they have to do a lot of helping in disaster situations and could be transformed to supply clean energy in areas with power outages. Also there could be task force for certain emergencies, like radioactive contaminated areas, like damaged nuclear plants.

    Though they could be used still for whatever missions ofc, but why would someone start a war on the other site of the planet if all are busy with pure survival? I think motivation will change and in the best cases we have a united afford with global carbon negative affords. Here again the military could play a key role.

    In this regards, the following video is a must watch

  27. Timeslayer says:

    I’m afraid so Mike. Without exception, every US newspaper is utterly terrible. And I see no chance that any of them are capable of improving themselves, because they don’t even understand the purpose of their profession.

    Most citizens, including most liberals, still think the New York Times is a fairly liberal newspaper. It’s not. The New York Times paradigm of “objectivity” is essentially to let any “important” person say whatever he or she wants, without exercising any judgment in order to let the reader know what is true and what is false. In practice, Republicans benefit FAR more than Democrats from this idiotic paradigm, since Republicans these days simply lie all the time. But under the New York Times model, which propagates their lies, they are still treated as a serious party. And so they remain.

    That’s just one of several fundamentally wrong practices employed by the New York Times as a matter of routine. Yet most liberals continue to read and applaud the New York Times, as if it doesn’t insult their intelligences on a daily basis. It’s beyond frustrating, to say the least.


  28. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Australia is not a ‘friend’ of the Empire. Empire’s do not have ‘friends’, they have vassals, and none is more compliant, more obsequious, more groveling than Australia, led as it is, by some of the most laughable specimes of the quaintly misnamed Homo ‘sapiens’ that one could ever imagine.

  29. Paul Magnus says:

    How a nation fools itself… so it can claim the high ground … with corrupt morals. History and human nature.