Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quote of the Day

The rapid and terrifying acceleration of global warming, which is disfiguring the ecosystem at a swifter pace than even the gloomiest scientific studies predicted a few years ago, has been confronted by the power elite with two kinds of self-delusion. There are those, many of whom hold elected office, who dismiss the science and empirical evidence as false. There are others who accept the science surrounding global warming but insist that the human species can adapt. Our only salvation—the rapid dismantling of the fossil fuel industry—is ignored by both groups. And we will be led, unless we build popular resistance movements and carry out sustained acts of civil disobedience, toward collective self-annihilation by dimwitted pied pipers and fools.

Those who concede that the planet is warming but insist we can learn to live with it are perhaps more dangerous than the buffoons who decide to shut their eyes. It is horrifying enough that the House of Representatives voted 240-184 this spring to defeat a resolution that said that “climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare.” But it is not much of an alternative to trust those who insist we can cope with the effects while continuing to burn fossil fuels. . . .

– Chris Hedges
"The Sky Really is Falling"
May 30, 2011

Related Off-site Links:
Deadly Tornado Crashes Through North Minneapolis – Bill McAuliffe, Randy Furst, Paul Walsh and Heron Marquez Estrada (Star Tribune, May 23, 2011).
Joplin Tornado Leaves Thousands With No Place to Call Home – Kevin Murphy (Reuters, May 30, 2011).
A Link Between Climate Change and the Joplin Tornadoes? Never! – Bill McKibben (The Washington Post, May 23 2011).
Ocean's Acidification is Latest Manifestation of Global Warming – Robin McKie (The Observer, May 29, 2011).
Global Food Crisis: Counting the Real Cost of Biofuels – Alex Evans (The Guardian, May 31, 2011).
Vatican-Appointed Panel Warns of Climate Change Associated Press (May 10, 2011).


Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, all very amusing! But what about the real problems - such as the fact that virtually every single western government has run out of money and has no idea how to get more?

Michael J. Bayly said...

Amusing?! How do you work that one out, EH?

And how is the destruction of the planet's life support systems not a, if not the, real problem that we need to address?

Also, I don't think the problem is a lack of resources or "money," but the systems and structures we've allowed to develop that unfairly determine the distribution of resources and money.

As Rania Khalek notes:

"In the Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein thoroughly documents how wealthy elites often use times of crisis and chaos to impose unpopular policies that restructure economies and political systems to further advance their interests. She calls these orchestrated raids on the public sphere in the wake of catastrophic events, combined with the treatment of disasters as exciting market opportunities, 'disaster capitalism.'

"While catastrophic events, such as natural disasters or terrorist attacks, are difficult to predict, economic disasters are not. With this in mind, it's difficult to deny that the economic crisis has been somewhat manufactured to serve as a pretext for draconian cuts into social programs that the corporate state has long been eyeing. On it's face, this theory seems conspiratorial, however a brief review of recent history demonstrates a trend of intentional crisis generation."

Also, you may find this article of interest.



Mark Andrews said...

I don't know. This chart I found on the NOAA web site seems to show a downward trend, even to the layperson like me, in the number of tornados, even as average global temperature has been increasing. See http://lwf.ncdc.noaa.gov/img/climate/research/tornado/tornadotrend.jpg

I see if I can find a peer reviewed article that describes what's going on in this chart.

Michael J. Bayly said...

That's interesting, Mark. According to this site the number of tornadoes hasn't increased but the "statistics are going up."

Apparently in the 1950s there were 4,793 tornadoes reported in the US. In the 1980s, there were 8,194.

This particular site doesn't consider climate change a factor but rather the fact that more people now live in or travel through the most tornado prone parts of the country. Also, today there are better means of reporting severe weather, including tornadoes.



Michael J. Bayly said...

Here's another interesting article:

"Tornado Outbreak Raises Climate Change Questions."