Denial of Climate Change About to Get a Lot Harder

Behold the death spiral of Artic sea ice:

Have you ever seen a frozen lake thaw? There’s a gradual thinning, a few open patches and a lot of mushiness, and then bam! Ice-free lake. The transition seems sudden when it comes.

I think a similar transition is coming for those who don’t believe in climate change. Instead of mushy ice giving way to dark, open water, it’s going to be mushy thinking giving way to dark, horrified clarity: Oh, shit.

Climate change is real. It’s here. This is our generation’s Pearl Harbor, and the bombs are falling.

Update: I neglected to link to it originally, but this piece by Dan Farber was actually what got me thinking about the metaphorical similarity between a thawing lake and Republican denial of climate change: Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water: Crossing the Partisan Divide on Environmental Issues.

4 Responses to “Denial of Climate Change About to Get a Lot Harder”

  1. enkidu Says:

    …it’s going to be mushy thinking giving way to dark, horrified clarity: Oh, shit.

    Climate change is real. It’s here. This is our generation’s Pearl Harbor, and the bombs are falling.

    I’ve been thinking of writing this as a post a while back, but since you mention this idea again… not to invoke Godwin’s Law, but I wonder about struggles against a clear evil. How does one conduct oneself in a battle that must be won? Surely there are ‘rules’ to war, the Geneva Convention, honor, decency, pity. But also savagery, brutality and murder, for that is the essence of war, ‘making the other poor bastard die for his country’.

    A few hypotheticals: so let’s say we are engaged in a great war, on a battlefield new and most unlevel, where we don’t have all the answers or all the certainty that would make for good decision making. We face a merciless tyrant of unspeakable inhuman misery and woe: global calamity. What tools are ‘right’ in this struggle? Is a gun OK? A bomb? An A-bomb? What about coersion? Torture? What about lies, deception?

    I think it is clear that we can’t simply divide the list into admissible and inadmissible, there is also a list of actions, weapons and tactics that might be conditionally OK ‘in extremis’. For an extreme example, the use of atomic weapons on Japan. But what about torture? In WWII, we prosecuted Japanese soldiers for torturing allied troops with water torture (water boarding). 60 years later, we debate whether torture is OK, with Rs lined up behind the w years record and IND and Ds lined up as opposing torture as antithetical to our society.

    What about lies? Deception played a big part in WWII. One of my favorite stories is about the spy who washed ashore. The man who never was, or Operation Mincemeat. A classic misdirection effort that the Bad Guys fell for and certainly helped win the war (put whatever value you want on that assistance, but saved lives [allied for sure, axis debatable]). Was it wrong to trick the Nazis?

    So if Climate Change is our generation’s Pearl Harbor, how do we respond? Mssr Gleick either received some information and entered into some level of deception to obtain more damning ‘evidence’ of malfeasance. Or he made up that overview doc out of whole cloth, lies, spit and vinegar to obtain more damning (but real) evidence etc. I understand he’s done real harm to the ‘warmist’ (eye roll) cause, but he felt the cost/benefit calculation was worth it. I’m not so sure, but I do know the case isn’t closed. The condemnation for his acts show a scientific community that prides itself on being better, cleaner, more noble and… right.

    But, what if a noble effort, a good and righteous effort just isn’t enough to save human civilization from biosphere catastrophe?

  2. shcb Says:

    Good post Enky, and not just that we have met at least cyberly. I think we are at that turning point, or at least close. My question is what about those of us that think it is mostly natural (hopefully more on that tonight) if we across that line is it ok for skeptics to engage in similar tactics since we feel it will do serious damage to economies?

    This has been my point for a while, are we in a crisis or a problem mode? I think that is the question that has to be answered and answered truthfully before either side decides how unethical we can get justifiably.

  3. shcb Says:

    also, both sides used torture in wwII, the side that lost got prosecuted and the side that won didn’t, spoils of war.

  4. knarlyknight Says:

    Enk, you have stumbled on the nut of extremism: a person who thinks that a major loss or some crisis is imminent or that the suffering from deprivations has no foreseeable ending will be motivated to take extreme actions to radically alter the status quo or current course of events. One need only refer to Mitten’s ridiculous hail-mary press conference admonishing statement by the Embassy of the United States in Cairo.
    Did anyone else notice that Mittens is a horrible actor when trying to play the role of a caring human and decisive president?
    Interesting chain of events, especially the part where the Administration disavows the statement then Mitten’s tries to say it was the administration’s statement.
    Silly Mitt, those tricks are for kids.

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