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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Global warming and climate change...the elephant denied in the room

Yesterday's news that 2012 was the hottest on record in North America will likely go unnoticed, uncontemplated, unreflected upon and all of that with a silence befitting the stealth bombers and drones that fly around dangerous regions, searching for terrorists among others.
The capacity to deny, reject, refute, and completely block information that reliable and respected scientists have been providing for at least three or four decades, by those we call leaders, in the political sense, is tragically remarkable. While President Obama has succeeded by executive order in getting the auto companies to raise the gas mileage on vehicles they will produce going forward, he would not have been permitted to accomplish even that modest gain if he had had to rely on Congress to pass a law. Not only is the United States the great gun warehouse, the giant prison developer, the most violent country in the world, it is also one of the world's primary polluters, and seems oblivious to its own carbon footprint, at least in those quarters like the Republican party and the conserative Democrats mostly from the South.
  • Too many other pressing issues and/or
  • it is not humans but only nature that is causing the rise in temperatures and the increase in the number of violent weather incidents (from a normal of 3 or 4, we are now experiencing 12-14 each year, in the last two or three), and/or
  • there is no money for climate change and global warming (because we spent it all in two unpaid wars, an unfunded prescription drug bill and an unwarranted tax cut) and/or
  • we cannot impose a "carbon tax" on business,  because they will not be able to pay and will go under, generating even more unemployment, and/or
  • why should either Canada or the United States have to reduce carbon emissions while India and China refuse...and/or
  • the global economy cannot support significant moves to reduce the human output of CO2 because there is already too much poverty, unemployment and inequality and such an initiative would cause a seismic shift in costs and business failures...and/or
the list of excuses runs longer than ESPN's Brent Musberger ogle of a young co-ed, the girl-friend of the winning quarterback in the Alabama-Notre Dame football game and it is equally as offensive, if not more so.
We are collectively, silently, pitifully, and tragically frying in a furnace of our own making, a furnace to which we cling ever more tightly as the dangerous warning signs pound our individual senses with mounting data. (If you think that metaphor is melodramatic, and offensive, it is intended to be one more wake-up call to demand that our political tone-deaf leaders take responsible and reasonable action today and everyday of their current mandate to curb the impact of our obsessive pursuit of "a strong economy and jobs" and blend into their (our) equation, a significant factor of prevention.
And as we watch a trickle of small, incomplete and almost child-like political steps, by well-educated, competent and yet frightened leaders in areas like taxes, and military purchases and prison growth, most of them either unnecessary or misguided, while the really large issues like global warming and climate change remain a growing elephant in our collective living rooms, we are becoming more sceptical that as a species we are interested in our own, and our childrens' and grandchildrens' survival!
What will it take to bring official national capitals like Ottawa and Washington to pay attention?

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