Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Trump's Tragic Myopia

Trump’s executive order puts the world on the road to climate catastrophe
The order starts the process of undoing President Obama’s Clean Power Plan standards for power plants. It also spurs fossil fuel consumption and blocks federal efforts to even prepare for the multiple, simultaneous catastrophes that unrestricted carbon pollution the world faces — severe drought, ocean acidification, ever-worsening heat waves, rising seas that threaten to destroy coastal cites.
 I truly believe that Trump, Republicans, and climate change deniers in general, are able to see the changes going on in our climate.  Businesses whose bottom line is affected by climate are able to react.
The industries furthest along are those already dealing with climate change on a daily basis. Among them: agriculture, where temperature and rainfall are already shifting how, when, and where crops are grown, and insurance, where climate experts and actuaries are trying to predict the possible cost of things like increased storm damage, particularly along the coasts of our rising seas.
But they don't seem to able to understand the full impact of these changes they see and to which they have to adjust. This is what puzzles me.  How are people unable to perceive the seriousness of the long term consequences?  

For example the loss of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice.
“Even without a strong El Nino in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory,” World Climate Research Program Director David Carlson said. 
The loss of sea ice doesn't have implications for any rise in the sea level, just like melting ice cubes in a glass don't portend an overflow, but it has very serious implications for what is happening to our planet.  It takes a tremendous amount of heat energy to produce this loss of sea ice.  The only conclusion is that something way beyond anything we can imagine is affecting the planet, something far beyond what a thousand nuclear explosions would cause.  Why is it so hard for some people to understand what that means for our planet?
It would be heartening to believe that if they were presented with enough facts they would change their minds and consequently seek changes in policies. After all, even the president of the Flat Earth Society says burning fossil fuels is warming the planet. But, as has become obvious, facts don’t matter to the climate-science deniers.
Some of them deny out of greed, some of them out of ignorance, some because they are fossil fuel marionettes. But the whys don’t matter.
What does matter is that every minute they’re in power, every minute they delay taking aggressive action to ameliorate the impacts of climate change, they condemn us to a grim future. Unchecked, that future will not just be one of drought, sea-level rise, crop failures, killer heat waves, spread of disease, lethal ocean acidification and all the rest of the panoply of impacts scientists have predicted. Climate change is going to generate violence with it, too, conflicts the likes of which may make the world wars seem mild by comparison.
Is it just ignorance?  I think it's a personality disorder, a mental myopia, an inability to understand future consequences.  Which seems peculiar to me.  How can someone fail to grasp what giant forces must be operating to cause when we see in the Arctic and Antarctic?  And that this can only mean unthinkable injury to our planet.

Unfortunately, it is people like that who are in charge of our country right now.