Hurricane Florence, the latest worst-storm-ever has been pounding and flooding the Carolinas five days as I write this, which reminds me of the warning from astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe it.”
Or not such a good thing in this instance, considering that in 2012 North Carolina passed “legislation that actually bars state agencies from crafting policies based on climate science models that warn of devastating sea-levels rise due to human-caused global warming,” according to Jessica Corbett of Common Dreams. She writes, ”The law required state and local agencies to rely on historical linear models – rather than findings that sea-level rise is accelerating because of human activity that produces planet-warming emissions—and limited the scope of the commission’s research to prevent long-term projections. Even before it took effect, the measure was intensely ridiculed. Comedian Stephen Colbert sarcastically remarked: ‘If your science gives you a result you don’t like, pass a law saying the result is illegal. Problem solved….’
“Democratic state Rep. Deborah Ross told Reuters: ‘By putting our heads in the sand literally, we are not helping property owners. We are hurting them. We are not giving them information they might need to protect their property. Ignorance is not bliss. It’s dangerous.””
Coincidental with last week’s latest super-storm – and there was a more powerful typhoon in the Pacific – was a Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco. California Gov. Jerry Brown, who co-hosted the meeting, blasted President Trump’s climate-change denying, pro-pollution positions, saying “that Trump will be remembered on climate change as a ‘liar, criminal, fool – pick your choice,’” according to the Huffington Post’s Mary Papenfuss.
California has the fifth largest economy in the world – along with some of the strongest anti-pollution measures. Evidently, working toward a cleaner environment is not as detrimental to prosperity as grab-and-go polluters would like us to believe. The HuffPost article continues, “’When Trump says, in effect, ‘”We like more methane going into the air,”’ that is highly destructive, very highly destructive,’ Brown said. ”He characterized Trump’s designs to dismantle environmental protections as a ‘major assault on the well-being of the people of California and America and the world. It borders on not only insanity but criminality.’”
Another speaker at the Summit was actor Harrison Ford – who, while not a scientist, has often portrayed one in films. Lee Moran, also of the Huffington Post, reported on Ford’s rallying cry “to ‘stop giving power to people who don’t believe in science, or worse than that, pretend they don’t believe in science for their own self-interest….They know who they are. We know who they are….’
“Ford warned ‘the future of humanity was at stake,’ and everyone, whether ‘rich or poor, powerful or powerless,’ would ‘suffer the effects of climate change and ecosystem destruction.’ The ‘greatest moral crisis of our time’ was that ‘those least responsible will bear the greatest costs,’ he said.” Ford added a colorful not-ready-for-newsprint phrase about how out of luck we are facing the approaching climate catastrophe.
His warning is genuine, however, according to Dr. Mayer Hillman, senior fellow emeritus of the Policy Studies Institute. Reporting on an interview in the Guardian, Common Dreams quotes Hillman as saying, “We’re doomed. The outcome is death, and it’s the end of most life on the planet because we’re so dependent on the burning of fossil fuels and the capitalist economic system that ensures that dependence will continue.”
Common Dreams continues, “In his interview with the Guardian, Hillman indicated that he was giving his final word of warning to the world population, calling his statement his ‘last will and testament.’ “’I’m not going to write anymore because there’s nothing more that can be said.’”
That was in April. In August Common Dreams offered additional testimony “In the new report—titled ‘What Lies Beneath: The Understatement of Existential Climate Risk’ —authors David Splatt and Ian Dunlop, researchers with the National Centre for Climate Restoration (Breakthrough), an independent think tank based in Australia, argue that the existential threats posed by the climate crisis have still not penetrated the collective psyche of humanity and that world leaders, even those demanding aggressive action, have not shown the kind of urgency or imagination that the scale of the pending catastrophe presents.”
Al Gore, the man who should have been president, was right in titling his first book “An Inconvenient Truth.”
There’s too much money to be made through rampant pollution for the carbon kings to care about the long-term damage to the environment. They like things the way they are, and they have the funds to buy the legislators to maintain the status woe. The intensification of hurricanes and typhoons are irrelevant to those with multiple homes they can change with the seasons, their whims or to stick the federal government – that’s you and me, bunky – with profitable travel expenses.
So, the climate-change deniers in North Carolina are already in line for their relief. The next bigger-than-ever-before storm will make its appearance soon. And we should remember what Aldous Huxley said: “Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
(Gary Edmondson is chair of the Stephens County Democratic Party. Contact them at scdpok.us )