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The Sky Really Is Falling

Article by Chris Hedges. What do our eco-inclined readers make of this?
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The rapid and terrifying acceleration of global warming, which is disfiguring the ecosystem at a swifter pace than even the gloomiest scientific studies predicted a few years ago, has been confronted by the power elite with two kinds of self-delusion. There are those, many of whom hold elected office, who dismiss the science and empirical evidence as false. There are others who accept the science surrounding global warming but insist that the human species can adapt. Our only salvation—the rapid dismantling of the fossil fuel industry—is ignored by both groups. And we will be led, unless we build popular resistance movements and carry out sustained acts of civil disobedience, toward collective self-annihilation by dimwitted pied pipers and fools.

Those who concede that the planet is warming but insist we can learn to live with it are perhaps more dangerous than the buffoons who decide to shut their eyes. It is horrifying enough that the House of Representatives voted 240-184 this spring to defeat a resolution that said that “climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare.” But it is not much of an alternative to trust those who insist we can cope with the effects while continuing to burn fossil fuels.

Horticulturalists are busy planting swamp oaks and sweet gum trees all over Chicago to prepare for weather that will soon resemble that of Baton Rouge. That would be fine if there was a limit to global warming in sight. But without plans to rapidly dismantle the fossil fuel industry, something no one in our corporate state is contemplating, the heat waves of Baton Rouge will be a starting point for a descent that will ultimately make cities like Chicago unlivable. The false promise of human adaptability to global warming is peddled by the polluters’ major front group, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which informed the Environmental Protection Agency that “populations can acclimatize to warmer climates via a range of behavioral, physiological, and technological adaptations.” This bizarre theory of adaptability has been embraced by the Obama administration as it prepares to exploit the natural resources in the Arctic. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced recently that melting of sea ice “will result in more shipping, fishing and tourism, and the possibility to develop newly accessible oil and gas reserves.” Now that’s something to look forward to.

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3 replies »

  1. I think that dismantling the state would drastically cut fossil fuel consumption, at least in personal automobiles and the trucking industry. The amount of energy we consume driving on and maintaining our vast freeway and street systems is down right ridiculous. Without those subsidies, we’d be living in Traditional Cities, probably.

    http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archives/2011/050111.html

    City dwellers use far less energy per capita than suburbanites. I think if we focused on saving people money by creating highly energy efficient, aesthetically pleasing and fun urban environments then we’d be taking a huge step toward cutting green house gas emissions.

    I’m all for no growth economics and living a happy, fulfilled life rather than reaching for what we can’t afford, anyway.

    http://www.newworldeconomics.com/archives/2009/041909.html

  2. The author of the New World Economics site has an interesting hypothesis: as you pack people into urban environments they spend more money on “experiences” and less money on useless crap because A.) Square footage to store stuff, warehouse stuff, and shelf space for stuff is expensive in the city and B.) urban environments are a lot of fun. So you end up walking to the corner restaurant to eat dinner with friends, where the most expensive inputs are non fossil fuel burners such as the chef’s skills and the pleasant atmosphere, rather than drive to Wal Mart and by a plastic piece of crap made on the other side of the world. Complete speculation on his part, but it makes sense to me.

    I also wonder how much of trans oceanic shipping is due to backwards economic policy. Like minimum wage and welfare in this country which basically ensures the poor remain out of work and no minimum wage and no welfare in SE Asia, where all of our manufacturing jobs are going.

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