Posts Tagged ‘Climate Change Denial’

The Water Will Come front cover(The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World, by Jeff Goodell. Little Brown, 2018, 340 pp., $28.00)


It’s easy, even if you accept the science, to think of global warming as an abstraction, because, as regards the human perception of time, it’s a long term trend. That’s true even in many places which are already being affected, such as Southern Arizona, which is projected to suffer the highest temperature increases of anywhere in the lower 48.

We’re already experiencing drastic warming. Last year was the warmest ever here, we had our hottest June ever, with three days at 115F or above (46C), and we had almost no winter (well, what passes for winter down here: It’s below 70? Break out the parkas!).

The change in the weather is already affecting vegetable and fruit tree planting seasons here: What I and other gardeners used to plant in October, we now tend to put off until November (hottest ever last year). Or December. (It was so warm this winter that I’ve put off buying and planting a peach tree until this fall, hoping for cooler weather then.)

So, I’m already affected by long-term temperature increases, if only as a minor annoyance. But most people here don’t garden, are caught up in daily life, and find it easy enough to ignore gradually warming temperatures — at least until the next 116 or 117F day, which they’ll promptly forget once it cools down even slightly.

But it’s not so easy to ignore global warming in other places, specifically low-lying coastal areas and islands.

Hence the value of Jeff Goodell’s latest book, The Water Will Come. It serves as a timely reminder to those of us who live inland, those who are climate-change deniers, and those with head-in-the-sand attitudes living in low-lying coastal areas, that climate change (with a focus on ocean warming and sea level rise) is all too real, is already having drastic, destructive effects in some areas, and that the destructive effects will get worse, especially if we don’t do anything to mitigate them, while we still can.

Goodell, in plain, “just the facts, ma’am” prose, explores what’s already happening in places as diverse as Alaska (Inuit villages falling into the rising sea), Miami (ever-worse flooding), and the very low-lying Marshall Islands (which will disappear). Goodell does this through not only presenting the scientific facts, and through descriptive passages, but also through interviews with many local people who provide graphic illustrations of the effects of sea level rise on daily life.

While that’s valuable, I wish Goodell would have spent more time on mitigation efforts and ways of reducing CO2 emissions in the short term. But that’s not the point of The Water Will Come — those are topics for other books. Goodell’s point is that we have a real problem, and we need to start addressing it now.

If there’s one real fault with The Water Will Come, it’s that Goodell gives the Obama Administration, and Barack Obama himself, a complete pass in regard to dealing with climate change (and everything else). There are several passages in the book dealing with Goodell’s interviews with Obama Administration officials, and one with Obama himself, and the tone in those passages borders on worshipful.

Given how awful Donald Trump is, there’s a tendency on the part of liberals to venerate Obama while ignoring the fact that he was a lousy president who betrayed those who voted for him.

When he had real power, with big majorities in both houses of Congress during his first two years, what did Obama do? He produced a grossly inadequate stimulus package that was just large enough to save the big banks, but not the millions upon millions who’d lost their jobs and homes — for them, he did next to nothing; he pushed through a grossly inadequate healthcare measure (Michael Moore called it a “quarter of a loaf” measure) that was designed to preserve the parasitic healthcare insurance industry and big pharma; and beyond that, he didn’t even try to accomplish anything significant regarding climate change or much of anything else. (For more on Obama’s betrayal of the people who voted for him, see “Obama and His Base: An Abusive Relationship, part 3.“)

(I mention all this for two reasons: 1) one always suspects, generally correctly, that when writers treat politicians reverentially, it’s because they’re not fully doing their jobs — as Frank Kent famously said, “The only way a reporter should look on a politician is down”; and more importantly 2) because, if we elect another business-as-usual, corporate Democrat in 2020, it’s a good bet that his or her response to the climate crisis will be, as usual, very inadequate.)

But aside from the Obama worship, there’s little to dislike in The Water Will Come. The book is a useful reminder and illustration of the seriousness of the global warming problem, how bad its effects already are in some places, and how much worse those effects are likely to get — especially if we don’t start making real changes now.


by Chaz Bufe, publisher See Sharp Press

It’s escaped general notice, but climate change deniers are helping to ensure the financing of present and future  jihadi movements, and the emergence of new ones. How? When you think about it, it’s pretty damn obvious.

The climate-change-denial industry is a bought-and-paid-for creature of the fossil fuels corporations (notably Exxon) and right-wing billionaires (notably the Koch brothers) who derive much of their income from oil, coal, and natural gas.  Its sole purpose is to sow disinformation and confusion about climate change; its pundits and spokesmen claim that there’s a “controversy” about climate change, when the overwhelming majority (95%+)  of climate scientists and scientific studies of climate have concluded that climate change is real and is a major threat to the planet.

To that end, sowing confusion and disinformation, the oil industry and right-wing billionaires finance “think tanks” (e.g., The Heartland Institute and The Heritage Foundation) that provide “experts” to deny scientific fact in the media, and an organization (ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council–a group of lobbyists, corporate executives and subservient legislators) designed to enshrine the corporate agenda in state law.

In one particularly revealing and egregious example of its priorities, ALEC is attempting to have states roll back or abandon their renewable energy mandates, and it has attempted, notably here in Arizona, to have the corporation commission discourage individuals from installing photovoltaic systems on their homes.

But why would the oil industry and its lackeys do such things? The answer is obvious: to keep the U.S. (and the rest of the world) dependent on fossil fuels so that the energy companies can wring every last dollar from the sale of oil, coal, and gas, as sea levels rise and the world slowly roasts.

Well, guess what. Guess who else profits massively from oil sales: Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.

As has been widely reported, the primary bankrollers of Al Qaeda, ISIS (now mostly self-financing), and Al Nusra were/are the rich oil families from those countries. As long as the world remains dependent on oil, and oil prices remain high, the members of those oil-profiteer families will have plenty of money to continue financing murderous, medieval, anti-Western, anti-American jihadis.

In the end, it’s pretty damn simple:  supposedly patriotic climate change deniers are engaging in what is in effect a treasonous activity–in their reckless pursuit of private profit, they’re helping to ensure the funding of  present and future jihadi movements.