Increasingly, it seems, we need to look to ‘a-traditional media outlets’ like John Stewart and Stephen Colbert for (the most) truthful discussion about the nation’s challenges and opportunities. Rolling Stone, when it comes to catastrophic climate chaos, ranks among the nation’s best media outlets. As, for example, in the recent Bill McKibben powerful piece “Global Warming’s New Math”.
Thus, should anyone be surprised that the best Presidential statement on climate change for the past year appeared in Rolling Stone?
Consider the drought conditions across much of America, the withering corn crop, extreme extreme weather events across the globe, disappearing ice in the Arctic and Greenland, and other weather events showing the reality of climate change impacts on the global system. Consider those events, which are in line with what scientists have been predicted would occur with unchecked climate change, and should it surprise anyone that specialists in climate science are (extremely) worried looking to the future?
It is heartening to know that President Obama recognizes this. As per this post’s title, the President’s perspective is that we should be worried because the true experts are (beyond) worried:
those who have looked at the science of climate change are scared and concerned about a general lack of sufficient movement to deal with the problem.
Increasingly, those farmers seeing their crops withering away, people losing homes and livelihoods to extreme wildfires (which, of course, are not solely due to climate change impacts), people flooded out of their homes, Washington-area residents going days without electricity due to the massive Derecho, and parents contemplating catastrophic chaos implications for their children’s future are joining those “who have looked at the science of climate change” and these people, too, “are scared and concerned about a general lack of sufficient movement to deal with the problem.”
In that extensive Rolling Stone interview, President Obama talked extensively about climate change … as a political, and not just science, issue. Noting the radical difference between the political parties, with the Democratic Party’s acceptance of science underpinning a need for climate mitigation and the Republican Party’s anti-science syndrome suffering kowtowing to polluting industry interests, President Obama promised that climate science will be an issue in the 2012 campaign:
it’s been easy for the other side to pour millions of dollars into a campaign to debunk climate-change science. I suspect that over the next six months, this is going to be a debate that will become part of the campaign, and I will be very clear in voicing my belief that we’re going to have to take further steps to deal with climate change in a serious way.
Now, if you are not aware, that Rolling Stone interview is now several months old (that “six months” should have been a hint).
Since then, with much of the nation’s richest farmlands totally brown, most of the nation in drought conditions, heat record and after heat record after heat record falling (at a pace never seen before in recorded history), and so many extreme weather events occurring around the world that news media have a hard time keeping tracking, the President, most of the President’s cabinet, the Democratic National Committee, and the Obama-Biden presidential campaign have been strangely silent as to the linkages between climate change and extreme weather events — along with leaving Republican anti-science lunacies unchallenged and undiscussed.
Republican political operatives and politicians are likely quietly saying prayers of thanks for the absence of climate change science from the political debate. Americans have a high regard for scientists. Extreme weather events — not least of which extreme heat conditions — are fostering greater public attention to, awareness about, and concern over climate change. While Republican politicians’ science denial plays to the rabid extreme base and satisfies the fiscal interests of their largest political contributors, the majority of Americans respect scientists and the majority of Americans have, at least, a basic understanding that climate change is something meriting action such as investments (in highly popular across the citizenry) in energy efficiency and renewable energy programs. Anti-science attitudes might secure the support of a minority voters, the majority of voters respect science and scientists.
In April, President Obama stated that climate change and the need for action to address it would be part of the 2012 Presidential campaign. By failing to follow-up on the President’s , the Obama-Biden campaign is better serving Mitt “Etch-a-Sketch’ (on climate as on other issues) Romney than its interests and the interests of the American people.