Tuesday, September 14, 2010


My comment on the article in Grist, linked to above:

Denialists have doubled down, despite all evidence, for a few reasons - chief among them:

1. They are being paid by soulless corporations whose top executives are frantic that their obscene profits and hegemony would be threatened by a large scale transition to clean energy sources.

2. The evidence - the unprecedented heat wave in Moscow, the unprecedented floods in Pakistan, the unprecedented melting glaciers and Arctic - at least for millions of years - is too scary to acknowledge.

3. The overwhelming majority of scientists and environmental activists - and those government/military leaders in the know - have, for the most part, not been telling the truth, making it easy for people to take refuge in denialism.

In what way have scientists and activists and politicians not been truthful?

They are pretending it's not too late to avert this trainwreck.

The scientists are innately reticent. They do not like to make dire predictions or unequivocal connections between weather and global warming, it goes against everything in their training and inclination. And besides, they are frightened by what they know.

The environmentalist organizations are worried about scaring people and causing apathy - and losing funding. Who would contribute to the Audubon Society if the trustees were honest about the prospects for birds? How many greenwashing dollars would corporations give to the World Wildlife Fund if they came out and said we are doomed if we don't stop burning fuel NOW?

The politicians and military are worried about anarchy. They won't tell people their food supply is in jeopardy, because in 3...2...1... that would result in food riots.

So none of them are being honest but Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin and Inhofe know, with a stupid but visceral certainty, we are not going to solve this existential threat by smoothly transitioning to electric cars and florescent light bulbs as promised. If there were to be any hope to avert mass starvation and extinction, we would have to make drastic, radical sacrifices that they are not willing to make.

Our unsustainable lifestyle, based on endless growth, consumption, and borrowing, will therefore come to an inglorious end as, willfully blind, we drag down most of the other species who have shared this magnificent, beautiful paradise with us - into the realms of an unimaginably horrific, uninhabitable climate.


  1. High praise indeed from the master of brevity!!

  2. Oh Gail.. you are so right.
    There are denialists and then there are obstructionists and distractors. There is such a difference between the victims and perpetrators of denial... so many of us are victims of our own denial. But the real evil comes from those who promote falsehood... usually for their own benefit. People have been exploiting others forever... however it is only recently that the physical situation is such that so many others are harmed. We are directly harmed by carbon combustion.. no matter who and where it is happening.


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