What if the GOP were the Climate Change Party?

(Ed note: This needs to be spread around… if you like it, pass it on!)

 

By James Thindwa
Some of us say what we believe, and believe what we say. Some of us even fight for what we believe. There are also those who claim to believe something or other, but won’t fight for it. That’s the way of the world. So let’s imagine a world only slightly different, with only the names changed to protect the guilty…
What If the GOP Was the Climate Change Party?
By James Thindwa
Imagine if you will, an alternative universe, in which the GOP believes in climate change, and the Democrats are the naysayers? How would a climate crusading Republican Party approach this most consequential issue?
In their customary hard-nosed fashion, the GOP would no doubt have made more progress on climate change—replete with tough regulations and high-minded international treaties—than we have seen so far. GOP politicians and talking heads would be making hay from all the horrible weather, beating the drums about the grave danger to our “national security” and way of life posed by climate change. They would be warning of gloom and doom and calling for—to hell with cap-and-trade—new legislation with stricter timetables for cutting greenhouse emissions, higher carbon taxes and stiffer penalties for polluters. And they would dare the president to veto it!
Republican politicians would be talking about climate change in town hall meetings, with obligatory reference to the increasingly ferocious tornadoes and hurricanes. “Climate change” and “green jobs” would become synonymous—a mantra seared into GOP political lexicon as Republicans declare that their legislation simultaneously creates jobs, limits greenhouse gases and stimulates the economy. Yes, Republicans would be ready to steamroll Democrats on this one.
For GOP leaders, Irene would be an opportunity to stoke the passions of environmentalists. They would urge activists to hold rallies in Washington and across the country. The GOP media machine—led by Roger Ailes at Fox—would parade environmental leaders on television and talk radio pontificating about local struggles to shut down polluting coal-fired plants, the imperative to raise CAFE standards for autos, insulate buildings and retrofit solar panels—the whole kitchen sink. Rightwing talking heads would be in full swing, prodding activists to hunt down “Democrat” lawmakers at “town halls” to demand they stop protecting Big Oil’s profits at the expense of our country’s future.
For GOP lighting rods like Michelle Bachmann and Sara Palin, climate change would be manna from heaven—red meat for the party faithful. They would be browbeating Democrats for standing in the way of strong regulations and shilling for corporate polluters (yes, they’d say it despite both parties’ footsy-playing with industry—they don’t care about the hypocrisy). Palin and Bachmann would be mocking Democrats for aligning themselves with a fringe element that hates science and would endanger our national security and the planet. Of course, GOP candidates would already have made climate change a central issue in the presidential election, and aiming to place it high up on the 2012 party platform.
GOP Vice-Presidential nominee Sarah Palin givi...

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As expected, GOP strategists would have learned how to capitalize on disasters from their successful experiment in New Orleans, where they quickly moved in after Katrina and expanded charter schools. Thus, a salivating GOP would seize this moment to remind all Americans affected by Irene that climate change is real and urge them to demand immediate congressional action.
For maximum impact, rightwing pundits would cite the Pentagon’s finding that climate change constitutes “a grave national security threat” and the military’s plans to cope. On Fox News Sunday, Bill Kristol would advise that invoking the military in this debate “is strategically brilliant” because Democratic are vulnerable on anything to do with “our men and women in uniform.”
On the O’Reilly Factor, Ann Coulter would taunt President Obama for lacking “the kahunas” to take on corporate polluters. She would point to Obama’s cozy relationship with the likes of Exelon, and his silence on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline. Sean Hannity would harangue the “liberal media” for ignoring the words “climate change” in their coverage of Hurricane Irene. Rightwing hothead and former UN ambassador John Bolton would announce on Fox his new campaign for a new international climate treaty. It would carry heavy sanctions—even military action—against countries that did not sign on.
Finally, GOP leaders would be all over the hypocrisy of Democratic governors for stoking hatred of government even as they, in this crisis moment, expect emergency relief from the federal government. On the campaign trail and in presidential debates, GOP candidates would use Irene to highlight the indispensable role of government not just in public safety, but in healthcare access, infrastructure investment, helping foreclosure victims and reining in predatory banks, and alleviating poverty—that silent but ongoing emergency for millions of women, men and children. They would forcefully explain to voters that paying taxes is not a subversive notion, but an act of patriotism.
(Are you listening, Democrats?)
Fortunately, James Thindwa lives very much in the real world, where he is a Chicago-based labor and community activist. He also writes for In These Times and serves on its board of directors.
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Lord Monckton: Bring out your Dead! « Climate Denial Crock of the Week

As far as I can tell, a “Climate Denier” is a person who is certain that global climate disruption (climate change, global warming, etc) is not happening. Climate Denial seems to have become an ideology, impervious to additional information or logical discussion.

For many years now Peter Sinclair and his Greenman Studio LLC have been providing clear, well researched counters to the sometimes outrageous statements made by these climate deniers, along with those who foster climate denial as a way to continue doing “business as usual”.

Lord Monckton in Washington, D.C.

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In this video, Peter has again focused on a recurring subject, once a darling of the climate denial organizations, Lord Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley. Lord Monckton is a hereditary peer, meaning that he comes by his titles mostly by way of birth. He often claims to be a member of the House of Lords, a situation that does not obtain, and was formally ended by Parliament in 1999. Lord Monckton likes to style himself an honorary member of the House of Lords, but the House of Lords does not agree are stepping up their efforts to stop Monckton’s false claims, saying “he is not and never has been a member and that there is no such thing as a non-voting or honorary member.”

Monckton is no stranger to controversy. In 1987 he proposed that AIDS victims be effectively placed in internment camps. In an article in The American Spectator he stated that, “there is only one way to stop AIDS. That is to screen the entire population regularly and to quarantine all carriers of the disease for life.Every member of the population should be blood-tested every month … all those found to be infected with the virus, even if only as carriers, should be isolated compulsorily, immediately, and permanently.” This would involve isolating between 1.5 and 3 million people in the United States (“not altogether impossible”) and another 30,000 people in the UK (“not insuperably difficult”). (Emphasis mine.) In other venues this man styles himself a conservative and what we would now call a Libertarian. *sigh*

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was a music...

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For those who are like me, of a slightly older generation, or even better, have grown up in Missouri along the Mississippi River just below Hannibal, Lord Monckton’s antics seem very familiar. For any of you who remember Mark Twain‘s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn you may recall the characters The Duke and the King. Unfortunately the 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley does not seem to have enjoyed a ride out of town on a rail, or perhaps tarring and feathering. It seems overdue to me.

It may be that his Lordship is running out of juice. Over the course of the last two years Lord Monckton has begun publicly referring to anyone who disagrees with his climate denial positions as being “Nazis” or “Hitler Youth”. Also, he has begun promoting his cure for all sorts of diseases, from including Graves’ Disease, multiple sclerosis, influenza, and herpes simplex. Somewhat ironically his PR people are also claiming that the therapy works on AIDS as well. I visualize a medicine show from a wagon in Lord Monckton’s future.

Please take a peek at Peter’s video, where not only do we get to see the Lord’s tour of Australia begin, but also get to hear a UK journalist experience “ambush” interviewing with “gotcha” questions by a member of the UK Royal Science Society.

June 27, 2011

I took a break from my new solutions video, which will be out soon. I just had to say something in regard to His Immaculate and Beneficent Highness Lord Christopher Monckton’s current tour of Australia.   We’re already hearing lots of exciting news, and I’ll cover it here as it happens.

For now, it turns out that The August and Exalted Lord Monckton ‘s scientific expertise is not limited to being the world’s foremost climate expert — he is also a medical practitioner of the highest caliber.

Bring out your Dead!!

What Sustainable Seafood? | Mother Jones

The world’s foremost certifier of safe and sustainable fisheries has just been slapped down in a new op-ed by a top-shelf collection of scientists in the latest issue of Nature. The problem is that the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is ignoring science in favor of bureaucracy, write the authors, researchers from the University of British Columbia, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and elsewhere.
The idea behind the MSC, which was established in 1997 by the World Wildlife Fund and Unilever (one of the world’s largest fish retailers), was to help consumers eat fish “guilt-free” by certifying fisheries. Today, major grocery chains—Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, and Europe’s Waitrose—carry the MSC’s blue check-mark label as a sign of seafood sustainability.

Julia Whitty has done a great job of boiling this down for us… follow the link to see more specifics from the scientific community’s concerns.

The Common Link with Climate Change, Peak Oil, Limits To Growth, Etc. – Belief Systems | Energy Bulletin

DENIAL/COGNITIVE DISSONANCE

Leon Festinger, seminal theorist in the area o...

Leon Festinger

Denial is a defense mechanism where a person is faced with a fact that is too painful to accept and rejects it instead, insisting that it is not true despite what may be overwhelming evidence. A related psychological concept is that of cognitive dissonance, originally coined by social psychologist Leon Festinger. Cognitive dissonance describes the negative tension that results from having two conflicting thoughts at the same time, or from engaging in behavior that conflicts with one’s beliefs.

From Wikipedia,

A diagram of cognitive dissonance theory

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The theory of cognitive dissonance states that contradicting cognitions serve as a driving force that compels the mind to acquire or invent new thoughts or beliefs, or to modify existing beliefs, so as to reduce the amount of dissonance (conflict) between cognitions. Experiments have attempted to quantify this hypothetical drive. Some of these have examined how beliefs often change to match behavior when beliefs and behavior are in conflict.”

Jared Diamond, in “Collapse” quotes the behaviour of people living below a dam that may break:

“Consider a narrow river valley below a high dam, such that if the dam burst, the resulting flood of water would drown people for a considerable distance downstream. When attitude pollsters ask people downstream of the dam how concerned they are about the dam’s bursting, it’s not surprising that fear of a dam burst is lowest far downstream, and increases among residents increasingly close to the dam. Surprisingly, though, after you get to just a few miles below the dam, where fear of the dam’s breaking is found to be the highest, the concern then falls off to zero as you approach closer to the dam! That is, the people living immediately under the dam, the ones most certain to be drowned in a dam burst, profess unconcern. That’s because of psychological denial: the only way of preserving one’s sanity while looking up every day at the dam is to deny the possibility that it could burst. If something that you perceive arouses in you a painful emotion, you may subconsciously suppress or deny your perception in order to avoid the unbearable pain, even though the practical results of ignoring your perception may prove ultimately disastrous. The emotions most often responsible are terror, anxiety, and grief.”

Reaching social limits to growth is potentially a world-sized dam break. It’s no wonder initial reactions to hearing how the world we know might change are met with skepticism. (Note: interestingly, and something I intend to explore on a subsequent post, is the concept of denial is related to the study of addiction.)

COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY

“Chocolate Cake?” “or Fruit Salad?”

Cognitive load theory suggests humans have a maximum capacity of working memory. At around 7 ‘chunks’ of information, our working memory maxes out and we can’t accept anything else without losing some of the previous ‘chunks’. Try remembering the following numbers 1-9-1-4-7-6-7-5-9-5-9. Its quite hard to do. But if they are rearranged in chunks 1-914-767-5959, it becomes much more manageable. Numerous studies have measured this phenomenon – a notable study by Shiv and Fedhorkhin asked a group of people to memorize a two digit number, walk down a corridor and at the end choose a dessert – either chocolate cake or fruit salad. A different sample of people were then asked to memorize a 7 digit number and walk down the corridor (while internally reciting this 7 digit number) and also choose a dessert. When required to memorize the 7 digit number, almost twice as many people chose the chocolate cake as in the sample only memorizing the 2 digit number – the implication being – ‘my short term memory is full – I cant access my rational, long term decision-making hardware – just give me the damn cake’.

Of course, in a society with cell phones, taxi-cabs, internet, coffee, soccer practice, Grays Anatomy, corporate ladders and a plethora of other chocolate cake-like stimuli, meaningful contemplation and education about energy depletion and our planet’s environment usually represents the fruit salad. Many people are just too cognitively taxed to take on much more.

Particularly useful way to sort things out… whether all aspects of the theory are correct, this works well when modeling the American People.