By Citizen Green
If you’ve been hoping that the climate changes predicted by scientists were off in some distant future belonging to our children, think again. Catastrophic events due to global warming have escalated during the last year, already devastating the lives of 385 million people. In the past year we’ve experienced more severe weather events than ever before in human history. Evidence of climate crisis has arrived in the form of unprecedented floods, droughts, fires, and record heat waves. And it’s not going to subside – in fact it’s just getting going.
Look at this partial list of disasters since 2010:
– A great flood in Australia covering a land area larger than France and Germany combined – Nightmarish fires and drought in western Russia resulting in the deaths of 56,000 people due to heat and toxic CO2 smoke
– One million square miles of the Amazon rainforest hit with drought
– This year in June nearly half of China was hit with massive drought conditions
– 20 million people were affected by floods in Pakistan
– In South Korea water levels from floods reached the 4th story of high-rises
– Floods displaced 2 million people in Colombia
– In India last month floods submerged hundreds of villages
– The largest storm ever to make landfall, super typhoon Megi, hit the Philippines in October, 2010 affecting vast areas of Asia and eastern Europe
– Devastating mudslides and floods in Brazil caused great loss of life and property
– The hottest temperatures ever recorded in China reached 122°; in Iraq it got up to 127°
If you think “well, that’s happening far away in remote parts of the world where disasters always occur”, think again. Climate crisis is occurring right here at home right now.
In the US, in the past year we’ve already seen:
– More than 3,000 daytime records for heat, but even more night time record highs
– Record flooding of the Mississippi
– Nashville, Tennessee experienced a “once in 1,000 year” rainfall causing the largest flood in its history; people there had no flood insurance because no one expected to need it
– A record number of homes have been destroyed in Texas due to colossal wildfires fanned by relentless drought (and no amount of praying from Rick Perry slowed down the fires)
– In June, in only a few days more than one million acres were ravaged by wildfires in Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, California, Georgia, as well as Texas
– In Arizona 50 mph winds pushed a 10 foot wall of flames toward a populated area, forcing 7 thousand people to flee; drought and high winds fed the flames
– A 65,000 acre wildfire is devastating the Boundary Waters in northeastern Minnesota, one of the most beautiful areas in the US; acrid smoke is reaching southern Wisconsin and Illinois
– We’re experiencing a record wildfire season with more than 4.3 million acres burned, with thousands of people being forced to evacuate
According to Tom Tidwell, the director of the US Forest Service, “we’re seeing prolonged droughts, we’re seeing more weather extremes.”
In addition, we’ve experienced the 10 hottest years on record since 1998. 2010 was the hottest year ever recorded.
The Deniers: The Petroleum Industry’s Strategy
After reading these facts, don’t you find it curious that this global calamity is not getting more coverage than Anthony Wiener’s stupid blunders? There is a reason for this. For the past 20 years the petroleum industry has orchestrated a campaign of doubt and denial of climate change, employing the services of the same criminal outfit used by the tobacco industry to deflect the scientific evidence that cigarettes cause cancer.
The Marshall Institute, a so-called conservative think tank, is behind the strategic campaign to deny climate change. Frederick Seitz, a high profile physicist, co-founded the Marshall Institute. This demon gained earlier notoriety for his support of the Viet Nam war. In bed with the government, he received numerous awards and honors for his ties with the military industrial complex. Seitz favored a “muscular military strengthened by the most technologically advanced weaponry.”
Seitz’s Marshall Institute was hired by the tobacco industry to manipulate public attitude toward the tobacco-cancer connection. They calculated that it would not be necessary to disprove the science that linked cancer and tobacco. It would be enough to plant seeds of doubt in the public mind. Because of Seitz’s disinformation campaign, it took decades for public opinion to accept the science of the cancer-tobacco link. During this period 100 million people died from tobacco related causes.
The Marshall Institute had been used by the Reagan administration to defend funding for Star Wars, claiming that the Soviet Union represented a viable threat. The Soviet Union fell within less than a decade.
Today the Marshall Institute is funded by the petroleum industry. With funding from the carbon polluters, the Marshall Institute uses a similar strategy to deflect the science of climate change from public discourse. Their strategy involves creating an atmosphere of uncertainty, using loud, abrasive members of the radical right, high profile figures who have been thrust into the public eye with oil money. These people, like Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin, mock the scientific evidence of climate change. News sources like Fox provide a stage for manufacturing doubt. They persuade that without sound science, it makes no sense to take preventative measures.
While the climate change deniers charge that scientists are confused about their data, in fact, there is consensus about climate change among 97-98 % of the leading scientists in the world’s major research institutes. Here is some of the rhetoric the deniers use, which you have no doubt already heard:
– The earth is cooling
– The science is wrong
– CO2 isn’t dangerous
– That’s Goregate stuff
– The scientists manipulate the data, they disagree, don’t believe them
In another article coming soon, we will explore how pollution is causing these climate catastrophes. All this information and much more can be found online at the Climate Reality Project. On September 14-15 Al Gore, the founder and chairman of the Climate Reality Project, hosted a 24 hour streamed presentation of the current state of climate change on ustream. This historic event had 24 presenters from 24 time zones in 13 languages, all sharing one message about the Reality of Climate Change. Each presentation had a slide show with facts about climate change, along with a clear, easy explanation of the science of climate change from Bill Nye. A panel discussion followed, with scientists and humanitarians who are working to get the urgent message out about climate change. http://climaterealityproject.org/video/