Thursday, May 19, 2005

Climate of Denial

While I was in the Food Coop a little while ago, I looked down at the magazine rack and saw a cover with Uncle Sam with his funny flag top hat burning and turning into little tufts of smoke.

It is the June Mother Jones with a special called As The World Burns

It is, if you will excuse the expression, a barn burner.

Here are the stories:

Climate of Denial: Introduction
By Bill McKibben

One morning in Kyoto, we won a round in the battle against global warming. Then special interests and pseudoscience snatched the truth away. What happened?

Some Like It Hot
By Chris Mooney

A dose of doubt trumps years of solid science, but skepticism doesn’t come cheap. ExxonMobil is spending millions to sustain an echo chamber of global warming denial.

Snowed
By Ross Gelbspan

Why the “balanced” media would rather promote paid flaks and fantasy than report the biggest story on earth

The McKibben piece begins:

"Finally, from behind the closed doors, word emerged that we had a treaty. The greens all cheered, halfheartedly—since it wasn't as though the agreement would go anywhere near far enough to arrest global warming—but firm in their conviction that the tide on the issue had finally turned. After a decade of resistance, the oil companies and the car companies and all the other deniers of global warming had seen their power matched.

Or so it seemed. I was standing next to a top industry lobbyist, a man who had spent the last week engineering opposition to the treaty, huddling with Exxon lawyers and Saudi delegates, detailing the Venezuelans to change this word, the Kuwaitis to soften that number. Right now he looked just plain tired. "I can't wait to get back to Washington," he said. "In Washington we'll get this under control again."

At the time I thought he was blowing smoke, putting on a game face, whistling past the graveyard of corporate control. I almost felt sorry for him; it seemed to me (as sleep-deprived as everyone else) that we were on the brink of a new world.

As it turned out, we both were right. The rest of the developed world took Kyoto seriously; in the eight years since then, the Europeans and the Japanese have begun to lay the foundation for rapid and genuine progress toward the initial treaty goal of cutting carbon emissions to a level 5 to 10 percent below what it was in 1990.

You can see the results of that long Kyoto night in the ranks of windmills rising along the coast of the North Sea, in the solar panels sprouting on German rooftops, and in the remarkable political unanimity in most of the world on the need for rapid change.

Tony Blair's science adviser has repeatedly called global warming a greater threat than terrorism, but that hasn't been enough for Britain's Conservatives; the Tory leader (the equivalent of, say, Tom DeLay) rose last summer to excoriate Blair for moving too slowly on carbon reductions.

In Washington, however, the lobbyists did get things "under control." Eight years after Kyoto, Big Oil and Big Coal remain in complete and unchallenged power. Around the country, according to industry analysts, 68 new coal-fired power plants are in various stages of planning.

Detroit makes cars that burn more fuel, on average, than at any time in the last two decades. The president doesn't mention the global warming issue, and the leaders of the opposition don't, either: John Kerry didn't exactly run on solving the climate crisis.

The high-water mark for legislative action came in 2003, when John McCain actually managed to persuade 43 senators to support a bill calling for at least some carbon reductions, albeit much lower than even the modest Kyoto levels.

But given that it takes 60 votes to beat a filibuster and 66 to override a veto, and given that the GOP has since added four hard-right senators to its total, it's safe to say that nothing will be happening inside the Beltway anytime soon."

The cut line on the cover says it pretty well.

Think tanks and journalist funded by ExxonMobil are out to convince you

global warming is a hoax.

Then, just a couple of days ago, I found this story

Britain faces big chill as ocean current slows
The Sunday Times - Britain
May 08, 2005
Jonathan Leake, Science Editor

CLIMATE change researchers have detected the first signs of a slowdown in the Gulf Stream — the mighty ocean current that keeps Britain and Europe from freezing.

They have found that one of the “engines” driving the Gulf Stream — the sinking of supercooled water in the Greenland Sea — has weakened to less than a quarter of its former strength.

The weakening, apparently caused by global warming, could herald big changes in the current over the next few years or decades. Paradoxically, it could lead to Britain and northwestern and Europe undergoing a sharp drop in temperatures.

Such a change has long been predicted by scientists but the new research is among the first to show clear experimental evidence of the phenomenon.

Until recently we would find giant ‘chimneys’ in the sea where columns of cold, dense water were sinking from the surface to the seabed 3,000 metres below, but now they have almost disappeared,” he said.

“As the water sank it was replaced by warm water flowing in from the south, which kept the circulation going. If that mechanism is slowing, it will mean less heat reaching Europe.”

Such a change could have a severe impact on Britain, which lies on the same latitude as Siberia and ought to be much colder. The Gulf Stream transports 27,000 times more heat to British shores than all the nation’s power supplies could provide, warming Britain by 5-8C.

In the past we could see nine to 12 giant columns forming under the shelf each year. In our latest cruise, we found only two and they were so weak that the sinking water could not reach the seabed,” said Wadhams, who disclosed the findings at a meeting of the European Geosciences Union in Vienna. "

This is exactly the event that the movie The Day After Tomorrow depicted.

It is the event that the Pentagon has a plan for.

It is how mankind is sleepwalking to the end of the Earth .

Remember the headline in the Onion on 9.12?

This headline should read.

Holy Fucking Shit.


And speaking of Denial,

Watch a member of Parliament

give the Senate the spanking it richly deserves.

This will help with the rest of your day.

Watch it.



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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved how you gave us a bone at the end with the Galloway piece.

7:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jeezus. this does feel like a movie.

9:37 AM  
Blogger austinmuse said...

So, what on Earth or Web can we do? Dire warnings without suggested action deplete the adrenals!

9:59 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

Dear Muse. I don't know how to be more specific or adamant. WE need to form a new a new contract with ourselves.

It is my position that we need to create global coops consisting of tens of millions of people who want to act in concert to protect themselves, effect change, counteract corporate hegemony, and begin to create a global consciousness.

Write your congressman, demonstrate in the streets, do whatever makes you feel better, but this will only deplete our energy. You can focus on our nation state if you wish, but that only plays into their chinese handcuffs.

We must focus our energies in an organized, productive, and creative way.

According to my counter, about 25,000 readers have been exposed to these words:

With the advent of advanced global communication, new forms of social contract can be created which transcend the geographic state. These new cybercoops or cyberstates will bring humankind to higher levels of cooperation and understanding.

I have been writing this blog for more than six months now and although readership is fairly high these days, there is relatively little action.

I stand ready.

Do You?

Any of You?

e mail me at earthfamilyalpha@hotmail.com

10:16 AM  
Blogger OZ said...

correction on previous post.

I have about 25,000 page views, not readers in 6 months.

10:31 AM  

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