National Climate Assessment

“Asteroids and genetic engineering are a more serious threat than climate change” ?

is climate change just “a wedge issue”?

Firefighters battling the King Fire watch as a backfire burns along Highway 50 in Fresh Pond, California September 16, 2014. REUTERS/Noah Berger

My dialogue with a climate-change denier in sheep’s clothing continues.  


On Friday, November 23rd, 2018 the U.S. federal government published the National Climate Assessment, which is endorsed by NASA, NOAA, the Department of Defense, and 10 other federal scientific agencies not normally viewed as tasked with frivolously stirring up the public for the sheer wedgeness of it all.

But first, Scientific Expert, your claim that:

The relative silence [of the media] on [asteroid collisions, genetic engineering] proves that climate change is a political wedge issue —

How on earth does it “prove” anything of the kind? Here’s our fundamental disagreement in a nutshell:

You: The relative silence proves there is an agenda.
Me: The relative silence is because these are not the most important issues / issues that the average person can affect in any way.

Certainly I agree with you that hidden agendas exist, probably more than we will ever know, and I’m not naively suggesting that we should believe everything we read in the papers without questioning it.

And another answer is certainly, “What gets reported is whatever sells.” If that’s the case, surely they’d be reporting on the impending asteroid, were that our fate, in the hope of maximising profits before before we’re all vaporised. Who would choose to push climate change? Climate change is not sexy; Hollywood screenwriters are not tossing about ideas for “Climate Change II: Failure of the Wheat Crops Over a Ten-Year Timespan!”

I do suggest it is a basic principle of reading a situation that, in the rush to interpret its hidden agenda, one does not overlook its most obvious meaning.

For all I or you know, teams of concerned scientists are at this moment creating the missiles to knock out that asteroid; or just perhaps, the asteroid threat is not as immediate and not as amenable to the drastic day-to-day changes of behavior that are required globally to put the brakes on the climate juggernaut we’ve set in motion.

I mean, what can the regular human do about asteroid impacts? I say, leave that to the experts — NASA and Lars von Trier! Or I guess we could all run out and throw medicine balls at each other, to build up muscle strength in our arms so we can, at the crucial moment, just hold the asteroid at bay. A futile gesture, but it passes the time while we wait for extinction.

As for genetic engineering of, say, a biological weapon, that’s a legit concern that falls roundly under the heading of terrorism, which I suppose would be in hand had not the Trump regime emptied the ranks of government of everyone appointed by or supposedly allied with Obama, and neglected to replace them. Oh, my mistake — replaced them with oil industry lobbyists and members of Trump’s family.

Maybe Trump, who states, “climate will probably change back” — now there’s a reassuring statement by a highly-qualified nerd-type guy clearly allied with science and reason and not afraid to show it — should be on your list of existential threats, just above “asteroid.”

And,  I’m sorry, but — you tell us that our Holocene ancestors took cataclysmic change in their stride and survived in their caves? Are you serious? I nearly choked on my GMO’d hamburger patty laughing when I read that. Was that supposed to be reassuring?

Either you’re teasing us, you rascal, or you’ve got one great first-class seat on that get-us-outta-here spaceship that carries the billionaires off to the new Las Vegas they’re building, somewhere in another galaxy that will appreciate them.

But back to that pesky report: The reasons for dumping this on the busiest shopping day of the year are not hard to figure out.

I quote from The Atlantic (and I’ve provided the link below to the full article):

The report is blunt: Climate change is happening now, and humans are causing it. “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities,” declares its first sentence. “The assumption that current and future climate conditions will resemble the recent past is no longer valid.”

…The report visits each region of the country, describing the local upheavals wrought by a global transformation. Across the Southeast, massive wildfires — like those seen now in California — could soon become a regular occurrence, smothering Atlanta and other cities in toxic smog, it warns. In New England and the mid-Atlantic, it says, oceanfront barrier islands could erode and narrow. And in the Midwest, it forecasts plunging yields of corn, soybeans, wheat, and rice.

You’re correct that there will be time to decide what to do. That time is urgently, irrevocably, existentially now.

Read the story in The Atlantic

You can see the full conversation, if you’re feeling strong, on Medium

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