The Seas Are Rising, and the Tea Party Fiddles While Rome Burns

Although I realize I’m preaching to the choir in this venue, most likely read by like-minded souls whose intelligence understands that science should be taken seriously beyond the gadgets/consumer products one can purchase (I’ve noticed that right-wing types don’t “doubt” the viability of their cellphones or HDTVs, only the things that take some greater imagination to digest), the latest midterm elections and the triumph of the idiocracy has me feeling rather gloomy for our future. Here’s a couple ‘graphs from a good piece in today’s NY Times about melting glaciers/icepacks, at this url:

“Such doubts have been a major factor in the American political debate over global warming, stalling efforts by Democrats and the Obama administration to pass legislation that would curb emissions of heat-trapping gases. Similar legislative efforts are likely to receive even less support in the new Congress, with many newly elected legislators openly skeptical about climate change.
A large majority of climate scientists argue that heat-trapping gases are almost certainly playing a role in what is happening to the world’s land ice. They add that the lack of policies to limit emissions is raising the risk that the ice will go into an irreversible decline before this century is out, a development that would eventually make a three-foot rise in the sea look trivial.”
“As a scientist, you have to stick to what you know and what the evidence suggests,” said Gordon Hamilton, one of the researchers in the helicopter. “But the things I’ve seen in Greenland in the last five years are alarming. We see these ice sheets changing literally overnight.”
Now consider some recent scenarios from the midterm elections: Republicans bragged about how they discount climate change theories, usually with the caveat that “we don’t know” that the climate change, if it’s happening at all, is human-driven. The Tea Party agenda flatly denies the need for rapid movement on climate change. Often the argument is something to the effect of “It will cost too much. It will cost jobs! It will raise taxes!” All of which is to argue for a “business as usual” approach, which many climate change scientists (and writers) argue is the worst thing we could be doing right now. Which is what we are. Obama’s administration is failing in this respect, but I won’t go brain-dead (or giggling like a nitwit, ala Jon Stewart) and blame Obama alone: To effect any change he must have the cooperation of many legislators and bureaucrats, not to mention business interests who, by lobbying vigorously, with millions of dollars, can also effectively stymie any progress or change. “Major elements of the administration’s program won support from both parties on Capitol Hill and were signed into law recently, but amid a larger budget impasse, Congress has not allocated the money President Obama requested.”
So right now, we’re failing. Not for the weaknesses of one man, but for the weaknesses of our entire government/business community.
Where’s the hope? I don’t know. But our idiocracy is failing us now, when we most need it to make sound, forward-thinking decisions. Maybe I’m just pessimistic this morning. Maybe I should read another Harry Potter book and chill. Or watch Avatar again and imagine myself as a big blue person riding a pterodactyl wannabe.

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