Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Could US energy politics go Category Five?

At some point time in time, most likely soon, you are going to see something happen that will be big enough to snap the ordinary American right out of their climate change complacency.

It may not just be one big event, it could be a confluence of a number of different events. Perhaps a harbinger of this is when journalists start to regularly use extreme weather metaphors to describe politics and industry. Raymond Learsy of the Huffington Post believes he sees a perfect storm brewing over energy.
:::[A Perfect Storm Is Developing Around Energy Policy: Friedman On TV, Gore In Our Gut]

The speculation about Gore's political ambitions are flying fast and furious. But regardless of whether Gore decides to run again, I sense that something akin to the perfect storm is developing on the issue of energy policy. With $3-a-gallon (and rising) gasoline, an emerging consensus that global warming is real, and a growing sense that Big Oil's hand-in-glove relationship with the administration and Congress harms the average American citizen, Al Gore's return to the public stage may be the critical spark that finally lights a fire under the American electorate.

And yesterday Bill Blakemore of ABCNews announced he also believes he detects a perfect storm in the making. It seems an elm tree has been uprooted and has fallen across the driveway of the White house by a literal storm, and this has served to focus the so called "debate" on global warming. :::[A Perfect Storm Descends Upon The Nations Capital]

June 26, 2006: A perfect storm of drenching rain, irony, political rancor, public fear and - at the last minute like a fierce stroke of lightning - word from the highest court in the land, descended on the nation's capital today.

This storm - pulling in many parts of the global warming emergency - also broke through the White House perimeters and helped bring down a century-old elm tree, laying it across the driveway.

It seems even Mother Nature is not adverse to using the odd bitingly ironic metaphor to make her point. Denying access to and from the White House by use of an uprooted elm (possibly planted by a significant American in the good old days of 'for the people, by the people') until the U.S. Supreme Court announces that it will indeed hear the case brought against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the grounds that it should have regulated carbon dioxide emissions in order to combat global warming.

How poetic and pithy a protest is that?

Not quite as poetic as the license George W Bush takes with the truth when he holds that there is a scientific global warming debate on whether global warming is man-made or natural. In what is a departure from the way US media generally cover global warming and politics, Blakemore takes the President to task for propagating propaganda:

"I have said consistently," answered Bush, "that global warming is a serious problem. There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused. We ought to get beyond that debate and start implementing the technologies necessary...… to be good stewards of the environment, become less dependent on foreign sources of oil"

The President - as far as the extensive and repeated researches of this and many other professional journalists, as well as all scientists credible on this subject, can find - is wrong on one crucial and no doubt explosive issue. When he said -— as he also did a few weeks ago - that "There's a debate over whether it's manmade or naturally caused" - well, there really is no such debate.

At least none above what is proverbially called "the flat earth society" level.

Not one scientist of any credibility on this subject has presented any evidence for some years now that counters the massive and repeated evidence - gathered over decades and come at in dozens of ways by all kinds of professional scientists around the world - that the burning of fossil fuels is raising the world's average temperature.

Or that counters the findings that the burning of these fuels is doing so in a way that is very dangerous for mankind, that will almost certainly bring increasingly devastating effects in the coming decades.

I grew up in a county subject to big thunder storms, every summer day at 3:00pm for 15 minutes the rapidly darkened heavens would open up on an otherwise sunny sky. On occasion one got a sense during the build up of the storm that it was going to be a much bigger one than usual. You could smell the electricity in the air, taste it in your mouth (tastes like blood), and feel the beginnings of a tingle on the back of your neck. And you just knew you were in for one serious doozy.

That's kind of how it feels now, but on a global dimension.

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