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Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:11 PM

CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE



(The heck with it - I wrote this and it's important enough that I want to share this on DU)
(It's also amazing to see this finally re-enter the national conversation)

CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE

One of the most pernicious aspects of our politics of the last decade is the common-sense defying notion that somehow climate change is a political issue. With no posturing, I must tell you that every time I stop to reflect on that reality, I am amazed by it.

That a small but determined cadre of power-brokers succeeded in convincing a substantial portion of the electorate that this was a political issue - with two actual sides - represents an enormous triumph of propaganda, branding, and labeling over the most essential form of self-interest we all share - the desire to live safe and secure in our own homes.

The point is that we are all in this together. The effects cannot be consigned to some generation far down the road - we are not making an economic gamble played against a distant future; we are validating a short-sighted gamble wagered against our very own destruction.

Climate change must be removed from the partisan political equation. The desire to address climate change needs to be elevated to universal consensus, like, say, the value of proper prenatal care. There are no boogeymen on the left who "advance" climate change for some nefarious end. We're fucking terrified. That's all. No endgame, except that we want us all to live. No endgame, except that we fear dystopia.

We must work as a country and then as a world to meet this problem with a probing will uncompromised by the harrying classes. And while, emotionally, I would like us to look back on this war as silly, that is unimportant in this immediate present. What we must do is look at this war as over.

No one is in this to harm you. We simply believe that to address anything that impacts climate change in a manner that fails to address, you know, climate change, has reached the point of inexcusable insanity, violence upon reality, and unacceptable danger.

The waves crashing over our doorsteps are evidence enough. Both sides must put down their swords and we need to work in earnest toward whatever form of global rescue is still possible. Climate change can no longer be a "political football." I suspect that in many cases this will fall on deaf ears, but if the explosions, the levee breaks, the crashing tides, the uncontrollable rushing sound of the tunnels flooding - if these things cannot break through a willful silence, we will all drown together. And then what a unifying issue this will all be.

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Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply CLIMATE CHANGE IS NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE (Original post)
jsmirman Nov 2012 OP
DCBob Nov 2012 #1
Dyedinthewoolliberal Nov 2012 #2
jsmirman Nov 2012 #3
Amonester Nov 2012 #14
jsmirman Nov 2012 #17
OneGrassRoot Nov 2012 #4
jsmirman Nov 2012 #7
malaise Nov 2012 #5
jsmirman Nov 2012 #9
Speck Tater Nov 2012 #6
jsmirman Nov 2012 #8
Speck Tater Nov 2012 #10
jsmirman Nov 2012 #11
MoonRiver Nov 2012 #12
jsmirman Nov 2012 #15
AverageJoe90 Nov 2012 #13
jsmirman Nov 2012 #16
Brent Deck Nov 2012 #18
uppityperson Nov 2012 #20
pinto Nov 2012 #21
bluesbassman Nov 2012 #22
Brent Deck Nov 2012 #23
uppityperson Nov 2012 #27
bluesbassman Nov 2012 #28
uppityperson Nov 2012 #31
DirkGently Nov 2012 #19
Kaleva Nov 2012 #24
spanone Nov 2012 #25
0rganism Nov 2012 #26
Zoeisright Nov 2012 #29
jsmirman Nov 2012 #33
jsmirman Nov 2012 #34
joshcryer Nov 2012 #30
Lady Freedom Returns Nov 2012 #32

Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:12 PM

1. exactly.. i cant stand it when people say it is.

its science.

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:14 PM

2. You are right

and the first thing we'll hear about is how much it will cost to address the issue If we don't do something now, the Earth will do it for us.

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Response to Dyedinthewoolliberal (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:18 PM

3. And yet I'm hopeful that this may finally move the gears

that have been trapped in rust for far too long.

New York City is finally talking about taking this issue seriously. The investment there will be significant and impossible to miss.

Then there will be two choices:

Ignore that New York sits like a castle inside its system of protective dykes and gates (the post earlier on Hartford's storm protection was educational) or

Realize that this is a clarion call that everyone is fucked if we don't do more than just build barriers.

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Response to Dyedinthewoolliberal (Reply #2)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 08:13 PM

14. And of course, how much it will cost NOT to address the issue...

will evah cross their brain cells...

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Response to Amonester (Reply #14)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 09:29 PM

17. I did just hear Bloomberg say he doesn't believe in dykes and sea gates and the like

which is pretty maddening.

People like him are precisely those we need in NYC to protect ourselves from what it is too late to avoid.

But I'm glad that he's taking a stand on the broader problem -

because the cost - and this is painfully obvious - will be devastating in both human lives and loss of property of a kind that we won't be able to rebuild from so readily.

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:21 PM

4. Excellent. Thank you! K&R n/t

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #4)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:24 PM

7. Thanks - it was a late night screed written during storm-related sleeplessness

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:22 PM

5. Well said

Rec

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Response to malaise (Reply #5)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:49 PM

9. Thanks, malaise

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:23 PM

6. I disagree.

 

As soon as the radical right says "This is a political issue" they have made it into a political issue.

As long as oil industry giants are paying politicians to push their agenda, it IS a political issue.

While it SHOULD NOT be a political issue, the reality is that it has been made into a political issue, and trying to deny that reality, or define it out of existence, or to complain that it shouldn't be that way, ignores the fact that turning it back into a scientific issue has to be a political issue.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #6)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:28 PM

8. I think you're missing my point

I'd ask you to read it again to see if you see what I'm saying, but I'll assume you read it carefully.

The title is a twist on what that headline might mean to you at first.

The piece stands for the proposition that anyone making a political case against reality is guilty of a grievously immoral form of misanthropy, even by the standards of politics.

This war needs to be over and their propaganda needs to be tossed in the dustbin with the stuff from the Flat Earthers.

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Response to jsmirman (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:49 PM

10. I agree with you: "their propaganda needs to be tossed in the dustbin"

 

And THAT will have to be a political process.

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Response to Speck Tater (Reply #10)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:57 PM

11. And the success of that political process can only happen when their nonsense

is discarded as nonsense.

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 07:58 PM

12. The human species is on death watch because of global warming.

I don't think there is a 'pro-human extinction' political party, but I could be wrong.

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Response to MoonRiver (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 08:44 PM

15. That nails it - are we going to stand for a "Pro Human Extinction" party any longer? Enough!

I'm sorry to say that there is one, and it is the current Republican Party.

Enough is enough, and the will of the people needs to force them to stop making this a political issue when it's not.

Teen pregnancies are bad. Infant mortality is bad. Contagious diseases are bad. And climate change is a threat to our existence. These should all be treated as fundamentally accepted truths.

ENOUGH!!!

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 08:00 PM

13. Thanks, J.S. This is indeed the truth, no doubt about it.

 

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Response to AverageJoe90 (Reply #13)

Thu Nov 1, 2012, 08:46 PM

16. I just hope the message is starting to come through

it's heart-wrenching for me to see the news get worse and worse in my home city, and yet it is marginally uplifting to hear public officials start to speak seriously about the most serious problem of our time.

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:04 PM

18. Climate change has been politicized by both the right and left.

Liberals and conservatives alike have staked out untenable positions, unhindered by the burden of rational thought. Right wingers refuse to acknowledge that global warming exists, or that humans are the cause. Left wingers are certain that global warming threatens our existence and that human activity is the cause, and that the only solution is to curtail human activity.

Neither faction is willing to address the fact that the cause of climate change is immaterial to the task of finding a solution.

Those on both the far right and the far left seem to be taking the position that if global warming is caused by nature, it does not require intervention, even if the result holds disastrous consequences for the human race.

During the debates leading up to the 2008 Presidential election, Joe Biden chastened Sarah Palin that, if you don't know what causes global warming, you can't do anything to fix it. Biden’s comment, while crowd-pleasingly reasonable on its face, was scientifically unsupportable.

By that logic, a person who wakes up to find himself behind the wheel of a car hurdling at high speed in the wrong lane of a highway cannot use his brakes or steering wheel to avoid collision with oncoming traffic, simply because he cannot remember how he got into this predicament. For many problems, global warming likely among them, the solution has no connection to the cause of the problem.

An analogy more appropriate for those who believe they "know" the cause of climate change would be that of a driver heading at high speed toward a curve bounded by a steep cliff. According to current political thought, the only option open to that driver to save himself from peril is to take his foot off of the accelerator and hope the car slows down soon enough on its own. The brake pedal is not even an option.

If climate change poses a true threat to humanity, and I am persuaded that it does, then it should be addressed on that basis alone, without regard to its cause. We should be seeking the most effective and cost-effective means of applying “brakes” to prevent a climate induced catastrophe.

No rational human being, and certainly no climate scientist, can reasonably argue that any proposed reduction in combustion of fossil fuels will produce any meaningful benefit in our lifetimes.

Addressing the challenges of climate manipulation will require a difficult discussion of tough issues. Sadly, until things get much worse, it seems unlikely that either Republicans or Democrats will be ready for that discussion.

Brent Deck

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Response to Brent Deck (Reply #18)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:15 PM

20. Not quite right. If you are hurtling down the road because your foot is on the accelerator, it would

behoove you to take your foot off the accelerator.

You are saying finding the cause of a problem is immaterial in finding a solution. I guess you are a "treat the symptoms and don't worry about the cause" sort of person.

"a person who wakes up to find himself behind the wheel of a car hurdling at high speed in the wrong lane of a highway cannot use his brakes or steering wheel to avoid collision with oncoming traffic, simply because he cannot remember how he got into this predicament. For many problems, global warming likely among them, the solution has no connection to the cause of the problem. "

Again, if their foot is pushing the accelerator down, figuring that out and stopping doing that might be a good start. Your analogy is lacking in logic.

Figuring out causes AND solutions is how problems are solved.

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Response to Brent Deck (Reply #18)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:16 PM

21. What are your suggestions?

"No rational human being, and certainly no climate scientist, can reasonably argue that any proposed reduction in combustion of fossil fuels will produce any meaningful benefit in our lifetimes."

"We should be seeking the most effective and cost-effective means of applying “brakes” to prevent a climate induced catastrophe."

Both comments vaguely suggest an alternative. Thanks.

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Response to Brent Deck (Reply #18)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:20 PM

22. So let me see if I understand your position...

If climate change poses a true threat to humanity, and I am persuaded that it does, then it should be addressed on that basis alone, without regard to its cause. We should be seeking the most effective and cost-effective means of applying “brakes” to prevent a climate induced catastrophe.

No rational human being, and certainly no climate scientist, can reasonably argue that any proposed reduction in combustion of fossil fuels will produce any meaningful benefit in our lifetimes.


Then you counter with:

Addressing the challenges of climate manipulation will require a difficult discussion of tough issues. Sadly, until things get much worse, it seems unlikely that either Republicans or Democrats will be ready for that discussion.


So what are you trying to say here? You indicate that the "cause" of climate change is not important, then cite an example that most certainly is a contributing factor yet addressing it would do no good in your opinion, and then you finish by saying we need to discuss tough issues. I'm really not getting what you're trying to promote here.

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Response to Brent Deck (Reply #18)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 09:42 PM

23. Not an expert

Thanks all for you comments.

My basic point is that those on both the far right and the far left seem to be taking the position that if global warming is caused by nature, it does not warrant any intervention, even if the result of inaction holds disastrous consequences for civilization. Each group appears willing to place adherence to its own cult’s religious dogma above the welfare of humanity. Rather than arguing over the cause of climate change, they should be discussing what to do about it. If carbon restriction is the best solution, then so be it.

Uppity: Thanks for correcting my spelling.

My second point is that our climate is complex, and I suspect unstable. That is, presuming carbon is a major culprit, one of the greatest causes of global warming may very well be.... global warming. The warmer it gets, for example, the more 24-hour CO2 comes from our vegetation and compost relative to the amount sinked by photosynthesis during daylight hours. Dunno how that all balances out, but I'm certain it is too complex for simple analysis. Complex enough, perhaps, to blur the distinction between cause and effect.

Pinto, etal: I'm not a climate scientist, but I am capable of simple arithmetic. If climate change gets to the point of impending doom, it is clear that waiting decades just to SLOW the rate of warming through conservation efforts will be unacceptable. Any timely solution will likely require more pollution, not less. Perhaps emitting nucleating particulates in the atmosphere will help. Maybe ammonia. Maybe we can wait for a volcanic eruption to come to our rescue. None of these are good choices.

I would hope that someone with better knowledge of the subject than I will chime in.

After the Gore/Bush debacle of 2000, Congress mandated electronic voting machines to make the voting process more "secure". Knowing that these very same morons will be making decisions regarding climate does not give me an easy feeling.

It's hard to resist being reactionary in times like these.



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Response to Brent Deck (Reply #23)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 10:06 PM

27. What spelling did I correct? Did you even bother to read my post? Figuring out causes and solutions

is how problems are solved.

"spelling"? wtf?

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Response to uppityperson (Reply #27)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 10:24 PM

28. You used the correct "hurtling" in your subject line, he used "hurdling".

I would assume he took that as you correcting him.

As to his thesis, I still do not know what he is trying to get at other than it appears he leans toward global warming as a more or less natural trend that may or may not need discussion. Possibly he may also be advising us that in the end we can all just pray for nature's intervention, or just tuck our heads as far between our knees as possible and kiss our butts goodbye.

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Response to bluesbassman (Reply #28)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 11:04 PM

31. Huh, teach me to be anal about my spelllling

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 03:09 PM

19. Hear, hear. Glad to see this point arising from Sandy's floodwaters.


Watching Cuomo tiptoe through the ridiculous minefield trying to talk about it without actually saying "climate change is real" was a fascinating study in just how crippled our ability to discuss even scientific fact has become in the age of fact-proof political rhetoric.

A lot of other facts aren't really political issues either. We all know tax cuts don't pay for themselves or spur economic growth. But the Rachel Maddow Show just reported that the Congressional Research Service just withdrew a report on that very fact under Republican protest. She went through a litany of non-partisan fact reporting that's been quashed by Republicans because of the inconvenient truths therein.

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 09:55 PM

24. I think that all that can be done is people try to prepare to adapt.

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 09:56 PM

25. tell that to the republican party

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 10:03 PM

26. too late to stop it, we have to focus on mitigation now

We've farted around waiting for the answers while the big oil companies paid unqualified scientists to lie like rugs about the causes of climate change. Now it's too late to be proactive. From here on out, for the next 50 years, might as well face it: we're reacting to shit we cannot prevent.

Countries like The Netherlands have some excellent technology for handling high water that we'll just have to start looking into for our coastal metropolitan areas. People are going to have to be prepared to move away from the lowlands, or pay the unsubsidized cost of homeowner's insurance.

Elevation is about to become a big selling point for houses in threatened areas.

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 10:47 PM

29. Sorry, I'm not "putting down my sword".

The other side is hell bent on destroying the world so they can make a few more bucks. I'm fighting them with every thing I have.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #29)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 12:41 AM

33. Not a put down my sword type. Post is a suggestion to cut off their heads.

My point is that this needs to be ripped away from them as a political issue. It's time for this to be reasserted as a HUMAN issue.

And the assholes pushing back against that politically need to be drummed out by all marginally awake Americans who recognize that their rhetoric claims to be looking out for large groups in the electorate, but their target is YOU, YOU, YOU, ME, AND ALL OF US WHO LIVE ON THIS EARTH.

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Response to Zoeisright (Reply #29)

Mon Nov 5, 2012, 12:44 AM

34. And the above is my meaning regarding putting down the swords.

Both sides should put down their swords - theoretically. As in, it should be patently obvious that the war is over and it is time for the common sense to win. Climate Change is real.

But if they insist on continuing their bullshit fight, yes, we should lop off their fool heads.

Sorry if that was unclear in the OP. It was originally written at 5 in the morning.

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 10:49 PM

30. In principle I agree. However, the only solutions are political.

How else do you change the way we use energy but politically? Can't do it any other way.

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Response to jsmirman (Original post)

Sun Nov 4, 2012, 11:36 PM

32. It is time for people to wake up and smell the coffee on this.

It is now everyone's issue. I still can't believe so many people still won't see that it is real.

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