Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘climate denial’

From Gary Peters, more food for thoughts:

Americans are clueless, and most politicians prefer to keep them that way.  James Kunstler put it more flamboyantly a short time ago, saying that “The fog of cluelessness that hangs over North America about the gathering global oil crisis and its ramifications seems to thicken by the hour.”  Not long ago I saw a bumper sticker that said, “Why is Our Oil under Their Soil?”  Though it cannot be found in our constitution, Americans assume that the right to cheap gasoline is one of those “unalienable rights” that they’ve read about but can’t quite remember where or when.
 
One question I like to ask Americans when they talk about oil is this:  When do you think oil production in the U.S. will reach a peak?  Most everyone guesses many years into the future, with five years from now being about the lowest figure that I’ve gotten in reply.  When you tell them it peaked in 1970 they are generally dumbfounded or think you are just kidding.
 
If you want to carry this a step farther, ask them what they think the population of the U.S. was in 1970–they probably won’t have a clue, but it allows you to point out to them that even though oil production peaked in the U.S. in 1970 and has declined ever since, we have subsequently added another 100 million people to the nation, which is one of the reasons that we so desperately need to import oil in huge quantities, no matter what.  In 2007 the U.S. consumed an average of 20,697,540 barrels of crude oil per day, but produced only 8,487,080–an average shortfall of more than 12 million barrels per day, which had to be imported.
 
When Senator McCain tells you that he wants the nation to be energy-independent, make sure that he can tell you how he is going to do that.  If we could double our production of crude oil, a physical impossibility no matter what stories you hear about ANWR or the California coast, we still would be far from oil independence.  Where is the straight talk?
 
Americans think of themselves as a fair people, but seem unbothered by the notion that though we have just under five percent of the world’s population, we consume about 25 percent of the world’s crude oil.  Even President Bush admitted that we were addicted to oil, though he never followed up on that statement or tried to cure us or at least to get us into rehab. 
 
When George W. Bush was sworn in as our 43rd President, on January 19, 2001, Brent crude was selling for $26.23 per barrel; this morning it was selling for $134.64.  As Robert Scheer recently noted, “No President has been more brilliant in destabilizing the politics of oil-producing countries from Venezuela to Russia and on to the key oil lakes of Iraq and Iran.
 
With the price of gas now above $4.00 across the U.S., people are finally beginning to feel the heat–we are not only a nation addicted to gas, we are a nation so dependent on it that we have seldom stopped to think about it.  Worse yet, it comes at a time when house prices are falling thanks to a pathetic runaway abuse of subprime mortgages and other unreal fiscal irregularities, which created first an amazing housing bubble and now a drastic removal of air from it.
 
With respect to the intertwined problems of global warming and our profligate use of fossil fuels, neither presidential candidate has stood up and told Americans the truth:  The lifestyle that we have today is not sustainable.  Energy expert Vaclav Smil noted recently that “Today there is no readily available non-fossil energy source that is large enough to be exploited on the requisite scale.” Richard Heinberg recently wrote that “Addressing the core of the problem means letting go of growth; in fact, it means engaging in a period  of controlled societal contraction characterized by a stable or declining population consuming at a per-capita level far lower than is currently taken for granted in the industrialized world.”  This message may be much closer to the truth than anything current politicians are saying, but we can’t remain in denial.  In 1949 Aldous Huxley wrote that “The human race is passing through a time of crisis, and that crisis exists, so to speak, on two levels–an upper level of political and economic crisis and a lower level crisis in population and world resources.”  Almost sixty years later his words still ring true, and we are still living in denial.

Read Full Post »

Barbara Boxer, one of the four senators to sponsor the Climate Security Act, touts it as:

the world’s most far-reaching program to fight global warming, instituting an economy-wide cap on emissions that would cut greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by 2020 and slash emissions by nearly 70% by 2050. In addition to fighting global warming, our bill will provide cleaner air, greater energy efficiency, relief for consumers, and the alternative energy choices that American families deserve — significantly reducing America’s dependence on foreign oil.

Opposing senators, such as vocal climate denier James Inhofe, see it as a threat to the welfare of the American people:

Any action has to provide real protections for the American economy and jobs, and we must protect the American families. Any action should not raise the cost of gasoline or energy to American families, particularly the low-income and elderly who are most susceptible to energy costs.

For an objective view, I turned to a recent analysis from NRDC and The International Resources Group. According to that report, the Lieberman-Warner Bill will greatly:

  • reduce our oil consumption and imports
  • increase our clean energy production, and electricity from renewables,
  • increase the number of fuel-efficient vehicles
  • increase our energy efficiency
  • all at a minimal cost to our energy system, less than one half of one percent
  • benefit companies that lead the transition to clean and efficient technologies
  • contribute to the creation of jobs, manufacturing opportunities, and spark innovation
I have always trusted NRDC on all green matters. This one is no exception.

 

Read Full Post »

For all of us climate deniers, in various states, as in here and here and here, Meryn Stol found a new argument, for why we should all care, and take quick action, no matter what:

Donald Brown is Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics at Penn State University, and the head of the Collaborative Program on the Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change, as part of the Rock Ethics Institute.

I could see a series of climate ethics workshops with decision-makers both in the business and policy fields. For instance, the next G8 Environment meeting could open up with a climate ethics session led by Donald Brown. This way, the debate would rightfully shift to a deeper level, that of underpinning values. Any other thoughts?

Read Full Post »

Someone very dear to me has been reminding me that nature’s got its ways, and that we, humans better listen. Someone very dear to me is suffering from a weakened heart, as a result of too much exercise and not enough food. She was in the hospital two weeks ago, and got out, barely out of the danger zone. Forgot the doctors’ orders, and started walking, and biking all over town, like before. A visit to the doctor yesterday brought some sobering news. My loved one’s heart is showing signs of weakening again, and a second hospitalization is on the horizon. That, she does not want. The memory of her first stay in the hospital, and how horrendous that felt, is still very fresh. Finally, she is hearing what her heart has been trying to tell her, and she is taking steps to heal. It’s taken that much for her behavior to change. 

My point is we can only ignore nature’s callings for so long. Our planet is heating up, sending us distress signals all over the place. Many of us are listening, but not really. It is business as usual. Driving, flying, whenever we feel like it. Firing up new coal plants to power our consumption habits. Building new and bigger homes. Drilling for more oil. Eating daily Happy Meals. Like my loved one, we need an experience akin to her first hospital stay. Something extremely unpleasant, that makes clear, the connection between our old behavior and the inevitability of personal disaster if we do not change. 

Of course, this begs the question of, can anything be done to change such a course of events? Can humans be reasoned into a wiser course of action, sooner, and without having to pay the unnecessary costs of  their foolishness? Psychology teaches us that the first step is to become conscious of our thoughts and our actions. There needs to be a public discourse around the personal dimension of climate denial. I have spent many posts in this blog, exploring that aspect, using myself as subject for such self-exploration. That is just a start. Other psychologists, journalists, bloggers, meditators, need to jump in and expose further, the various mental blocks of the climate denying mind.

Read Full Post »