Friday, December 04, 2015

Meanwhile Back in Paris (Political Update)

Five-Thirty-Eight Science has a neat little listicule about the Paris conference, highlighting a significant change that came to light on the first day: the new support for climate crisis response by Russian president Putin.  Previously only joking about it, he now calls it a serious threat to humanity.

Also at the start of the conference, China released its report on the expected effects of global heating on that vast nation.  It's pretty grim.  That China even conducted an environmental assessment is revolutionary, but that the leadership made it public to the world at the Paris conference began is highly significant.

While even Putin has seen the heat, and even China is facing up to the realities, Republicans in the U.S. remain not only intransigent but active politically in opposing any climate crisis response.  Conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks invoked the "thought police" that keep sensible GOPers from voicing their acceptance of climate science.  Jonathan Chiat riffs on this column, saying it's actually worse than that, and supports his oft-repeated analysis that in the R party today "the kooks are the Establishment."  The political consequences are clear: "if you're voting Republican next year, you're either getting somebody who is a member of the climate thought police or is afraid to disagree with them."

Paul Krugman takes much the same line in a Friday column. It begins:

Future historians — if there are any future historians — will almost surely say that the most important thing happening in the world during December 2015 was the climate talks in Paris. True, nothing agreed to in Paris will be enough, by itself, to solve the problem of global warming. But the talks could mark a turning point, the beginning of the kind of international action needed to avert catastrophe.

Then again, they might not; we may be doomed. And if we are, you know who will be responsible: the Republican Party."

Krugman agrees with Chiat that a vote for GOPers in the next election is a vote against addressing the climate crisis, but worries that the media won't report it that way, that in the usual attempt to appear even-handed, the media will fuzz it and even bend facts to make the issue seem more even.

 "But I hope I’m wrong, and I’d urge everyone outside the climate-denial bubble to frankly acknowledge the awesome, terrifying reality. We’re looking at a party that has turned its back on science at a time when doing so puts the very future of civilization at risk. That’s the truth, and it needs to be faced head-on."

The Times also editorializes against the latest GOPer congressional attempt to harass climate scientists and leave the false impression that they are hiding something in their analysis that shows there was no pause in global heating.  The data that led to that conclusion is public.

A different kind of politics continues in Paris, where activists struggle to maintain a presence within restraints due to the terrorist attacks.  A highly creative and subversive series of skillfully contrived and very pointed fake ads showed up in billboards and kiosks in Paris, indistinguishable from the actual ads at first glance. Mashable reproduced several, that attack the hypocrisy of corporations, governments and individual leaders affecting the climate crisis.  Getting deeds to match words is important, and these activists are keeping feet to the fire.

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