Fact Vs. Opinion

I watched the above Ted Talk the other day featuring journalist Michael Specter.  The talk focuses on people that refuse to listen to scientific facts, an example being those that are anti-vaccine.  The best part was when he talks about how people are entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

We have had a cold spell in Texas recently and the usual people talk about how this disproves climate change.  Anyone that actually reads about this subject knows that weather and climate are two different things.  If someone doesn’t want to do anything about climate change, it may be foolish at best, but that is their opinion.  However, if they deny that it is taking place, they are completely ignorant of the facts.  It is either that or they are knowingly telling a lie.

Here is a link to NASA and other scientific bodies that agree that climate change is happening and that man is causing it:

NASA and Other Scientific Groups Agree Man-made Climate Change is Happening

The Storm Of War

I just posted a link to an article in The New York Times about how climate change has been deemed a threat by our military.  Is it possible that our military might be right and that our civilian leaders, especially the right wing, who are tripping over themselves to deny climate change, could actually be wrong?  Could our leaders put our country, and the world, at great peril by not listening to the military?  Has anything like this ever happened before?

Strangely enough I just started a book called The Storm of War.  It is written by esteemed historian Andrew Roberts.  It has gotten great reviews not only because of the quality of Roberts writing, but also because of his excellent scholarly work doing research for this book.  One of the conclusions that Roberts comes to is that Hitler might have had a chance of winning World War II if only he had listened to the military.  Hitler was fighting a political war that was based as much on ideology as it was anything else.  His military leaders urged him not to start a second front against Russia.  However, Hitler was determined to have Lebensraum, or “living space”, for his Reich.  He also dedicated many needed resources towards The Final Solution that could have been used towards military aims.

Now don’t go getting your panties in a bunch.  I’m not comparing anyone to Hitler directly.  What I am saying is that when we deny cold hard facts for ideological reasons, we run the risk of defeating ourselves.

Military Deem Climate Change a Growing Threat

Military Deem Climate Change a Growing Threat

For those of you that still don’t believe climate change is real, you should read the above New York Times article about the new report the U.S. Military just issued stating that climate change poses a severe threat to our security.  The military has actually been talking about the risks of climate change for some time.  Two key paragraphs:

The CNA Corporation Military Advisory Board found that climate change-induced drought in the Middle East and Africa is leading to conflicts over food and water and escalating longstanding regional and ethnic tensions into violent clashes. The report also found that rising sea levels are putting people and food supplies in vulnerable coastal regions like eastern India, Bangladesh and the Mekong Delta in Vietnam at risk and could lead to a new wave of refugees.

In addition, the report predicted that an increase in catastrophic weather events around the world will create more demand for American troops, even as flooding and extreme weather events at home could damage naval ports and military bases.

Yahoo Dumps ALEC

Yahoo Becomes the Latest Tech Company to Drop ALEC

The above link is a bit of good news in the political world.  Yahoo has joined Google, Facebook, and Microsoft in dumbing their ALEC membership.  ALEC stands for the American Legislative Exchange Council.  They are an organization that has long stood in the way of their being any meaningful progress on climate change legislation among other things.  Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said:

“The facts of climate change are not in question anymore, everyone understands that climate change is occurring, and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place, and we should not be aligned with such people. They are just literally lying.”

To learn more about ALEC go here:

ALEC Exposed

The World’s Poor Will Suffer Worst From Global Warming

Global warming’s inequality problem: Why the world’s poorest nations are likely to get shafted http://www.salon.com/2014/09/22/global_warmings_inequality_problem_why_the_worlds_poorest_nations_are_likely_to_get_shafted/ via @Salon

This article is important, interesting,  and unfortunately true.  My dad has been dealing with this side of the issue for years now so I am fairly well versed in it.  This is also unfortunately a side of global warming the mainstream media almost never covers.  Global warming is a justice issue as much as it is an environmental one. 

Cursing for Climate Change

As predicted, many on the right are freaking the fuck out over Obama’s new climate regulations.  He wants to cut greenhouse gas emissions at power plants by 30% by the year 2030.  Of course the right is only framing things in terms of lopsided, bogus, outdated economic information.  The news is doing their usual he said/she said bullshit.  I think these new regulations are great news and I want to tell you why by telling you things that will happen if we don’t go forward with these and other regulations.  I am not going to use scientific language like parts per million or what have you.  I am going to curse…a lot!

 

  1. They are going to prevent people from fucking dying.  That’s right, if the worst of climate change happens people are going to die as a result.  Not only are they going to die, but they will die because we were immoral and refused to do anything to help them.  These regulations are a good start in helping people.  How are they going to die?  Climate change will bring bigger storms, lead to droughts in countries that are already impoverished, and create wars over valuable resources like water.  Who says that climate change will create more war?  The fucking Pentagon!
  2. They are going to prevent more people from fucking dying and getting sick.  Another thing that rarely gets included in right wing think tank’s estimations is how much we already pay in terms of asthma and other respiratory disease from power plants.  Even if you are the kind of selfish bastard that doesn’t care about foreigners, poor people, or animals, you probably give a shit about your kids and their friends. 
  3. Animals are going to fucking die.  Climate change is going to increase the extinction rate.  Don’t just say goodbye to polar bears, say goodbye to a whole host of animals you grew up with as part of earth as you knew it! 
  4. The oceans are going to become way more fucking acidic.  They are already on their way.  Coral reefs, fish, and other species are going to disappear.  The only thing left will be fucking jellyfish.  Think of how much life comes out of the ocean.  Think of how much of our food source comes in some way from the ocean.  In the words of Bill Paxton in Aliens, “Game over man!” 
  5. Storms are going to become way more powerful.  We will get hurricanes that make Hurricane Sandy look like a fucking wet dream.  The other day in the news I saw a fire tornado!  When was the last time you saw that shit! 

 

Those are just several of the things that these regulations are trying to prevent.  This is one step out of many that need to be taken.  As Slavoj Zizek says in his brilliant movie The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, “Why is it easier for us to imagine the end of life as we know it than to make a few small changes to our economic system?”  We need to wake up and realize that not doing anything makes us immoral mutants of the highest fucking order!  When poor people and all of our fellow citizens of the earth, animals, and entire ecosystems are at risk, why are we not doing even more to confront this problem?  It’s because those that are greedy and have something to lose control a large amount of the information we are getting.  It is high fucking time we ditched being classy and laid it out there what is going to happen.  Because what is going to happen if we do nothing is fucking obscene in the truest sense. 

EPA to Cut Power Plant Emissions

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/02/epa-carbon-rules_n_5428632.html

The above link is to a Huffpo article that talks about the new regulations to cut carbon emissions at power plants by 30% by the year 2030.  One thing that you never hear mentioned by right wing think tanks and organizations like the Chamber of Commerce, which thankfully is briefly mentioned in this article, is how much air pollution costs us in terms of health.  If we are going to figure out how much such and such costs the economy, we also need to figure out the negative costs that air pollution has on our lives aside from just climate change, which is bad enough.  How many more people go to the hospital for respiratory illnesses, how many more people develop asthma, and so on?  The World Bank estimated in the 90’s that in China, and China’s air pollution has only gotten worse since then, that in one year alone (1997) there were 178,000 deaths as the result of air pollution and valued health damages at 5% of GDP.  When certain groups start going apeshit about the costs of these new regulations ask yourself if they are including these social costs in their calculations.  

The information concerning China can be found here:  

http://www.oecd.org/environment/cc/2053233.pdf