Saturday, September 24, 2005

Yes, Blame the Republicons

No, George W. Bush didn't cause Katrina and Rita. The administration is at fault for gutting FEMA, for not paying any attention to increasing warnings of the threats that massive storms would cause to our nation, and for a response to the disaster to which future lexicographers will refer when they seek to define "inept," but all of W's huffing and puffing didn't blow the levees down.

Instead, the levees were blown down by the entire Republicon party.

Let's look at some facts. (Facts are those things that we in the reality-based community like to gather in order to form conclusions.)

1) Human activity has caused increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. You would need the IQ of a potatoe to fail to understand that extracting carbon from underground, burning it, and releasing it into the air would alter the chemical composition of the atmosphere. Here's a simple science experiment that doubting wing-nuts can try at home: take a sack of coal, preferably strip-mined, and dump it in your bathtub (making sure that no sentient beings are in the house while you do this). Close all the windows, doors, and vents. Douse the coals with lighter fluid, strike a match, and touch the match to the coals. After the fire has burned for a while, compare the amount of carbon in the air to the quality of the air before you started burning the fossil fuels - you should be able to note the change when you see the air getting darker. Your eyes will also start to get red and irritated, and you might have some difficulty breathing. If you are still not convinced that human activity causes atmospheric change, keep the fire burning until all unintelligent life forms in your bathroom become extinct.

2) Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have led to increases in average global air temperatures.

3) Increases in global air temperatures have led to increases in ocean temperatures. Although ExxonMobilHalliburtonGOP has managed to hire a few "scientists" to claim that facts 2 and 3 haven't been completely absolutely totally proven beyond any hint of a shadow of doubt, those scientists who do things like sophisticated computer modelling and sticking thermometers in the ocean year after year after year have all concluded that global warming is a fact.

4) Increased ocean temperatures are leading to increases in the severity of hurricanes, as recent research confirms. Dude, hurricanes feed off of warm water. The warmer the water, and the more warm water available, the more severe the storm. This is something that climatologists have been warning about for years. And something that certain people have spent years telling us not to worry about. Which leads directly to:

5) Who has refused, point blank refused to do anything about climate change caused by human activity? Let's see... The scientific understanding of the effects of human activity on the global climate started to be understood in the 1980s, when Ronald Reagan was president and George H.W. Bush was VP. More was understood during the reign of Bush I. And those Republicon administrations refused to address the problem. During the Clinton years, efforts were made to address the problem - not enough, and I'm not going to claim the Dems were all saints on the issue - but the Clinton-Gore folks were blocked in any efforts to get too ambitious by the Republicon congress. Even before Newt gained control of the House in 1994, the Dems knew that doing the things necessary to protect the environment would get them tarnished by the brush of being big-government types who would therefore be unelectable. The 90s were lost to more effective efforts to combat climate change because such efforts would have been political suicide for the environmentally-minded, because, yo, protecting the environment costs money up front while desecrating the environment won't cost money until a little later. And then W came into office, the biggest polluters/ GOP donors literally started writing the environmental laws and regulations, and any glimmer of a science-based approach to environmental governance was tossed into the incinerator.

I repeat, the Superfund disaster that is the Bush Presidency did not cause the hurricanes. No, the hurricanes were as bad as they were because of human activity that has been greatly exacerbated by more than two decades of Republicon hostility to any sort of rational, conservative environmental policy.


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