People still deny climate change?!

Nothing quite shocks me like the fact that people still deny the reality of climate change.  I know there will always be fringe nutters who will believe any nonsense fed to them – and apparently, if you listen to people like Sharron Angle, there’s a lot of ridiculous things going on in the world.  However, it stuns me whenever I realize there are people that actually, really still believe that climate change is some sort of leftist conspiracy.

It seems that while many of these right wing nutters (many of whom, not shockingly, are also deeply religious nutters as well) heard about the scandal now known as “Climategate” (by the way, can we get rid of the -gate meme? It’s fucking stupid), most seem totally ignorant of the fact that a full investigation of the matter has been done, and utterly unsurprisingly, the scientists – and the science – has been exonerated.  Most of the quotes used to try to claim climate change is nonsense were taken totally out of context or otherwise twisted to suggest that evidence for climate change was being fabricated.  That simply isn’t the case.

In the case, primarily, of Americans, whom I pay the most attention to, I simply do not understand this ridiculous position.  I don’t get why there is some incessant need to deny what to any reasonable observer is fairly clear science.  Given the interest in national security and energy independence that I’d think the righties would have, you’d think that there would be a lot of interest in strengthening research into global warming.

Americans, it goes without saying, and most of the West, are addicted to fossil fuels.  Oil in particular, and coal are absolutely vital to our standard of living to degrees some people seem totally incapable of understanding.  In recent months, with a coal mining disaster and the mess in the Gulf of Mexico with the Deepwater Horizon, you would think that even the most hard-headed of people would conclude, regardless of their opinion of climate change, that it’s probably time we really start to try to find alternatives to this stuff.  I was staggered when in my former town of residence, the provincial government of Ontario dragged its heels on the purchase of new nuclear power plants, which would have brought a lot of high-paying jobs to an economically depressed area and provided clean energy that would allow the phasing out of a number of coal-fired power stations.  Yes, I believe nuclear power is clean and safe.  It has risks, sure, but I am reasonably confident that burning massive quantities of coal and oil are far, far more dangerous to human health than the relatively low risk of a nuclear accident, particularly in a modern nuclear power station, which is overengineered for safety.

In the case of the USA, in particular, I’d think an effort to consume less oil would meet more traction.  The major sources of the stuff, with the exception of Canada, are not exactly friendly states to Americans.  Petrodollars run the economies of Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia… countries who are directly or indirectly enemies of the USA.  Literally billions of dollars flow into the coffers of these regimes from Americans who are apparently too stupid to realize what happens to the money they blow on fuelling their SUVs.  Even when oil prices surged to $150/barrel and gas prices moved accordingly, people only temporarily seemed to shelf their big vehicles.  No real alternatives have been proposed but conservation, either, because there are so many good arguments as to why turning all our food sources into fuel (ie corn-derived ethanol) are nonsensical.

Focusing on the problem of anthropogenic climate change strikes me as a way for the USA to deal with its enemies economically without even having to directly confront them, starving them of the cash they need to operate.  And yet, out of the usual claim of “individual liberty” it seems like people there take any attempt to suggest that not consuming much oil as an affront to “the American way”.

When I consider it, there’s nothing to lose and so much to gain from making a big deal of the problem.  Americans need jobs – and there aren’t going to be manufacturing jobs like the old days in the rust belt anymore… so why not try to support the idea of a green economy – new energy efficient technologies – to try to create a new niche for the US economy.  Doing so could both financially strangle American enemies and help stimulate the US economy in a way that can have a lasting impact.  Never mind that the savings on energy that people could experience long run would free up disposable income for them, furthering the stimulative impact.

I’m researching a lot of stuff on this as I’m planning to build a custom home in the next year and the whole goal for me is to be as efficient as possible, I want new technologies available, and I want to buy them locally.  I want to depend as little on buying heating oil and coal-sourced power from the local utility.  I want that to improve my local economy and so should everyone else…

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