Science or Profits?

Science or Profits?

We live or fry together.

By Richard C. Bartlett

In ancient times, back when Tony Blair was Britain's Prime Minister, his science advisor gave him a stern warning. The most serious threat to humankind isn't war, it's climate change. PM Blair took that seriously, and convinced his people, including Parliament, to begin changing their ways to emit less greenhouse gasses. They haven't caught up to Denmark or Germany in ecological good citizenship, but they forged ahead of their former colony, the United States of America.

In 1988, twenty four years ago, NASA's chief climate scientist warned the U. S. Senate about the hazards of inaction in addressing global warming. In 1988, twenty four years ago, NASA's chief climate scientist warned the U. S. Senate about the hazards of inaction in addressing global warming. James Hansen explained how clouds of carbon dioxide in the stratosphere take 100 years to dissipate. He gave them figures on carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels. He instructed them about ocean heating and rising sea levels, about the melting of glaciers and the polar ice cap. Nothing much happened in the senate.

Most senators are not totally stupid, but they feel it is necessary to oblige the likes of Exxon Mobile and the brothers Koch, who contribute so heavily to their campaign war chests. Those legislators subsidize the most prosperous corporations in history with grants, token regulations, and some even take part in the multi-million dollar campaign of disinformation seeking to create a popular wave of skepticism that climate change is real and is the inevitable result of our profligate carbon consumption. Bottom line profit trumps rational behavior seems to be the belief of some corporations and their Inhofe-ian political servants.

Most senators are not totally stupid, but they feel it is necessary to oblige the likes of Exxon Mobile and the brothers Koch who contribute heavily to their campaign war chest.When candidate Romney needed a joke to lighten a dreary speech accepting his party's presidential nomination, he ridiculed President Obama, saying he was protecting the country from ocean rising. The delegates howled with laughter. A few weeks later an angry hurricane Sandy gained strength over Atlantic waters warmed by climate change and the wind and sea devastated the northeast of our country. we will be dealing with that unprecedented destruction for a very long time. Nobody is laughing.

Prof. Bill McKibben of Middlebury College is leading America's most serious climate effort. His .350.org is heading a populist movement to block the Keystone pipeline, which NASA's James Hansen has called a tube to the end of a livable planet. To stay abreast of what's happening on this issue go to http://www.350.org. We live or fry together.

Richard C. Bartlett,  Cotuit

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