Friday, January 15, 2016

Climate Change

I didn't watch the GOP debate last night but I did read the Factcheck review of some of the statements presented by the candidates.  The most appalling seemed to be Trump's depiction of the Syrian refugees as predominantly young men, the bias being that, as young males full of testosterone, they would tend to be extremist and/or terrorist.  Not sure how much of that perception is jealousy, in that The Donald will be 70 years old this year, or whether all males of that age group should feel insulted.  Of course, he may be just worried that these young men will take all the landscaping and construction jobs which means he might have to hire some in the future!  In any case, the facts are that approximately 50% of the refugees, are women, and about 25% more are children, which puts the percentage of males over 18 at 25%.  Certainly, all politicians like to create bad guys to justify their rhetoric, it is just a shame, especially in this age of instant data retrieval, that when a candidate makes a statement like that, he/she is not called on it, immediately, because, unfortunately, there are many listeners suffering from xenophobia who will nod in agreement at his lie, and use it to further justify their discriminatory beliefs.

I received a survey by email from my federal representative last week, asking me to choose 3 topics which I hoped the president would touch on in his final State of the Union.  Glaring in its omission was climate change, although there was an "environment" category listed, last on his list.  I don't think it farfetched to say that my rep has been instructed by the GOP establishment to never use the phrase climate change in any mailings or correspondences.  I hope I am wrong, but I doubt if the subject was debated at either the main debate or the 2nd tier debate which occurred earlier.  It is obvious the most far reaching, potentially most catastrophic issue that faces America, and the planet, is a non-starter for the Republican Party.  I imagine that the recent Paris talks which produced some optimistic promises of greenhouse gas emissions reductions, will not be part of the GOP platform other than a vow to not participate.  Electing a Democratic president becomes even more critical knowing that Congress will remain a snake pit of short term thinking dinosaurs.

Interestingly, in the January edition of National Geographic there are articles on our national park system and the continued polar ice meltdown.

Oddly, our park system, which was began in the late 1800's, was championed by President Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican.  Of course, the parties' philosophy has changed dramatically since then, and it is the Democrats who spend more effort to protect the national park system from the logging, mining and energy industries.  Perhaps I exaggerate, but it seems clear to me that when clean water and air, come up against the prospects of business and profit, the GOP is consistent in their stance to sell out to the highest bidder.  The fact that those same people donate large sums of money to the GOP election war chest completes the cycle.  From oil in the arctic circle to natural gas in Pennsylvania to mineral rights all over the country, corporate greed to take the most out of the land in the name of cheaper energy rules the day, despite the devastation those activities cause to the natural landscape.  Of course, it is easy to get behind such strategies when you don't live in the effected communities, and don't have to deal with the polluted air and water, and the health consequences which result from those poisons.  Perhaps a few well placed oil and natural gas wells in the backyards of certain GOP elected officials and presidential candidates might change their perspective.

The polar ice meltdown, another favorite topic of the GOP to not discuss, was dramatically described, in pictures, words and statistics.  Less "old" ice floes (ice packs which last multiple years), thinner winter ice, earlier seasonal ice melts, longer ice free seasons, all are documented in the article.  Predictions that there may not be any polar ice in the summers within 30 years seem likely.  Not withstanding the fact that the polar bear may not survive this change, and that the ecosystem which relies on the cooling and freezing cycle may be disrupted, what effects the reduced planetary cooling effect that polar air provides will cause, and the rising sea levels from continued melting will create, range from significant to devastating.  It is obvious to all but those scientists hired by the energy industry, that climate change is causing the polar ice melt, and that the larger tracts of sea water will absorb even more sun light and heat, increasing the pace of the warming trend. We will reap what we sow in the next 50 years, and all that garbage spewing from the GOP presidential candidates about concern for the coming generations, is just that, garbage.

I sometime wonder if the GOP establishment also has a ban on magazines such as National Geographic, the better to keep its members in a bubble of plausible deniability.


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