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Post Climate Change: The Clock is Running Out
Created by John Eipper on 07/09/19 7:21 AM

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Climate Change: The Clock is Running Out (Tor Guimaraes, USA, 07/09/19 7:21 am)

Timothy Brown (July 7th) stated that he is "confused on climate change and what must be done immediately to save the human race." Apparently, Tim is not the only one confused.

The problem has been noticed by scientists for decades but as should be expected, at first the scientists were arguing over whether or not the problem was real and needed to be addressed. A few years ago the much-maligned UN recruited a large multinational scientific group (1300 I believe) to answer such questions. The consensus was that it is real and quite serious; however, in practice the bad results from climate change were barely beginning to show and the related industries were just too powerful for any preventive government action.

Today it has become obvious that the climate change related industries (coal, oil, gas, etc.), similar to what the tobacco industry did for cancer and lung disease, remain careless mankind-destroyers just to gain short-term profits. They have even persuaded the Trump administration to attack science itself and fire scientists providing evidence about climate change. Indeed, it is very confusing not to be able to trust your own government on a critical issue.

To add to the confusion, the climate change problem is multidimensional and very complex. Today the results from climate change are very clear and getting worse: weather patterns have changed, producing widespread drought and flooding, bigger storms, sea rising with many millions permanently dislocated from sea shores all over the world. These problems have become serious enough that many states, counties, and local communities have taken matter into their own hands. With severe costs and turmoil, we can survive these problems in the short term but not in the long term, even after we are willing to take serious action.

Thus, today the most serious problem (which required action decades ago) and now might already have become too late, comes from some positive feedback loops. For example, as the average temperature rises because of increased CO2, methane, etc. other natural, uncontrollable and massive sources of such gases (melting Arctic tundra, the oceans, etc.) of these gases will participate in further warming the climate. That is why we are late or quickly running out of time as our leaders continue to suffer from paralysis by greed, ignorance, and pure stupidity. Last, this is a world problem, thus we must have a worldwide solution.

JE comments:   What strategies would help to remove climate change from politics?  At present, at least in the US, one's position on climate change is a political litmus test.

Can you imagine a "position," say, on heart disease?  Exactly.  As a society, how do we get to the same point with climate change? 

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  • How Do We Take Politics Out of the Climate-Change Crisis? (Tor Guimaraes, USA 07/11/19 4:12 AM)
    John Eipper astutely noticed that US culture equates one's position on climate change with one's politics.  He asked me off-Forum, "how can the CC debate be 'elevated' to something separate from politics?"

    Unfortunately, today the evidence of the results from climate change (widespread drought and flooding, bigger storms, sea rising with many millions permanently dislocated from seashores all over the world) has become increasingly obvious.

    Thus it will take a very special leader and group of followers to continue to deny the obvious. Amazingly, the last G20 meeting showed that under Trump our beloved nation has become the only (denying) voice in the wilderness. However, by firing scientists warning about CC, or perhaps hiring "alternative facts scientists," or possibly even cooking the data, the deniers can try to delay the inevitable. Yet you cannot fight the truth effectively for very long and the evidence is everywhere. Soon, but very likely too late, politics will shift from denying CC to what emergency measures we should take to mitigate the disasters from CC. Soon the Republican Party will realize that letting Trump be himself will cost them dearly in terms of credibility, and will cost our nation a heavy price.

    JE comments:  But Tor, such arguments will only further entrench the position of the deniers.  Perhaps climate change (CC) could be packaged/spun as a matter of national security?  Or as a theological imperative?

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    • Climate Change Crisis and Theology (Tor Guimaraes, USA 07/14/19 4:44 AM)
      Commenting on my post of July 11th, John Eipper raised some relevant questions: "But Tor, such arguments will only further entrench the position of the Climate Change deniers. Perhaps CC could be packaged/spun as a matter of national security? Or as a theological imperative?"

      It is true that religious fundamentalists (CC deniers in this case) do not listen to reason. Historically they never did and probably never will. However, today you don't hear too many people believing that the Earth is flat or the center of the solar system, etc. Similarly, when too many people get hit by rising seas, forcing them to relocate from their homes to emergency places, even these religious people will start changing their minds. Even if they don't, we all have to live with the results anyway.

      Regarding "Perhaps climate change (CC) could be packaged/spun as a matter of national security?" That is a tough sell, since the whole world including our rivals are in this CC together. In a way the scientists have been warning us for years that the climate might turn out to be our worst enemy, but we don't perceive the national security threat.

      Framing the CC issue "as a theological imperative" could be a powerful motivation, but has some major counter-indicators for success. Historically we have had a few groups whose religions view the Earth as their mother, to be respected and kept free from pollution. However, all the major religions to a great extent have ignored the CC issue altogether and I see no sign of re-direction. On the contrary, many religious people seem to thrive on the concept of Armageddon and seem to welcome the end of the world.

      JE comments:  We've never explored the Armageddon angle of climate change.  "End of world" scenarios typically involve human warfare or divine wrath.  Is anyone aware of doomsday theologies that specifically touch on climate change?  What was the Flood of Noah's time other than a dramatic example of CC?

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