The Carbon Kings’ Suicide Plan

Here’s what will make America great again: Drill more oil wells. Dig more coal. Make bigger cars. Drive more. More, more, more. This is what the carbon billionaires and most Republicans recommend.

Why do the carbon kings want these things? Because it will bring them more money. As if they needed it. They seem incapable of understanding that what they propose will plunge the entire world into an unstoppable nightmare for all future generations.

We have global warming.
We are causing it.
It is very serious.
It is too late to stop it.
It will get worse.

The first realization that the planet is on a doomsday course came decades ago, perhaps around the time of the first Earth Day in 1972. In 1981, NASA scientist James Hansen told Congress about it, which Congress ignored, just as they ignored Al Gore later.

The course of scientific study of climate change both widened and sharpened radically since that time, with the widespread adoption of computers and numerous other increasingly accurate scientific instruments, including orbiting satellites that take numerous kinds of measurements with extraordinary precision. Many thousands of scientists are now involved in the study of planetary changes. There are without question unknowns in so vast an inquiry, but the information gathered since those earliest years has become massive, and so conclusive that it is virtually unchallengeable. We have global warming. We are causing it. It is very serious. It is too late to stop it. It will get worse.

It’s not that there was never any controversy among scientists. There was, and still is. Controversy is about the details of this incredibly complex situation, and the exact consequences, but it was never about the central finding of global warming. A simple graph (here) showing temperature change over a century or so tells you all you need to know. But admitting that we had created a monster was just too much for the carbon kings to own up to. Besides, it might spoil their billion-dollar party we are paying for.

For decades the carbon kings fought this proof.

For decades up until the present the carbon kings have fought this simple proof, as if it were someone’s casual opinion. They spent millions of dollars on propaganda that falsely claimed that climate change was a liberal or scientific conspiracy, or that it was unproven, or that there was huge “controversy”. Since Republicans decreed it was “bad for business”, denial became a semi-official plank of the party. Even in the last days before the presidential election, as hurricane Sandy bore down on the East Coast, Mitt Romney sneered that Obama was concerned about “so-called” climate change, whereas he concerned himself with “real” issues—while denying the headlines that stared at him daily.

When rising temperature, flooding, blizzards, hurricanes, prolonged heat waves, and swarms of tornadoes could no longer be ignored, the carbon kings changed their claim, saying that this was natural, not the product of human activity, and there was no reason to change anything. But they can no longer make that claim, and they seem surprised.

In the end, it doesn’t matter what they claim, because what we are experiencing makes their claims irrelevant. We can see for ourselves the folly of denial.

It is hard to imagine a more irresponsible lie
than to deny a preventable disaster
equivalent to the crash of a large asteroid.

It is hard to imagine a more irresponsible and deadly greed-driven lie than to deny the preventable worldwide disaster that thousands of scientists around the world had shown so conclusively is coming. And the carbon kings have not given up yet. To this date, most carbon-producing industries are still promoting increased use of the products that have already locked us into irreversible decline. In fact, we may well be locked into the catastrophic equivalent of the crash of a large asteroid, or the violent and lasting eruption of a major volcano, both of which have occurred in the distant past, wiping out much of life on the planet. That doesn’t seem to concern them.

Their arrogance and greed is beyond belief.

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Those who profit from oil and gas production, and other industries that contribute to global warming, can continue on this suicidal course only as long as we let them. Yes, they have the money and all the power than comes with the money, but if the 99 percent unite in their common interests — and keeping the planet habitable is surely a common interest — then we can stop global warming. But we’ve always been divided …

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    • I’d say the “division” comes almost entirely in the form of Republican denial.

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  2. We have had now 372 consecutive months where the planet has been hotter than the month before. Think about that idea for a minute – then stretch it out over the next fifty years…most of the southern half of Canada had no snow last winter. No snow! My 75 yr old mother who lives on a farm that routinely got to -30-40F in the winter, had no snow last year, and the coldest night was -10 (and only on occassion). She is actually frightened by what she is seeing happen to nature.

    Republicans (and conservatives here as well) are not only greedy, they are nihilists and/or Christian Book of Revelation freaks who want to bring on the end times. China sold a record 19 million cars so far this year – up 30% from last year. Better bunker down. It’s going to get a lot uglier before it starts getting better.

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    • @S.J. Hines – The secular Republicans call it “creative destruction,” a complete misreading of Schumpeter, but hey, a misreading that serves as a justification.

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  3. In terms of climate change, the news over the weekend only got worse:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/03/world/emissions-of-carbon-dioxide-hit-record-in-2011-researchers-say.html?hp

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