We've written thousands of words about the anti-science agenda of the GOP, that serves to push the sea level rise and global warming facts off the political radar. Our readers have commented that Miami will be under water before politicians pay any attention to the issue. They are probably not wrong.
Only recently, I published here and on Counterpunch an essay comparing the likely response to Superstorm Sandy to Hurricane Andrew in South Dade, in 1992. We will rebuild until it is too expensive. That day will come when the insurance industry abandons the coast and US taxpayers refuse to pick up the bill. It may not be far away.
The Miami Herald publishes today, "Ft. Lauderdale, Miami Beach flooding lingers", attributing the flooding to "a low pressure system, high winds, and yes, the lasting impact of Sandy, the mega-storm that wrecked New York and New Jersey."
Take this to the bank: the flooding has nothing to do with Sandy.
As Edna Buchanan, Herald doyenne and crime writer pointed out recently, flooding on fall super-tide cycles has always occurred on Miami Beach. What is new, and escaped Buchanan's attention, is that we are experiencing higher tides and combined with the regular effects of offshore, winter weather patterns, and according to the best available science, we are just at the beginning.
According to the Scripture that Marco Rubio and Jeb! believe more than science, the earth was created in Seven Days. It should not be so hard, then, from that point of view to understand the flooding we are now experiencing on routing tides is just the beginning.
"We are trying to set up a meeting with NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)," city of Miami Beach spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez told the Miami Herald, "just to see when this is going to go away."
Good luck with that. For decades, James Hansen, top climate scientist at NOAA, has lead the effort to communicate with the public and decision makers that the impacts of severe, extreme weather events -- including more frequent flooding -- are exactly what to expect from global warming.
Of course, Marco Rubio -- taking his cues from Jeb! and US Senator James Inhofe -- the GOP's minority leader on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee -- won't even meet with climate change scientists. (Read our archive for details.)
In Grand Old Planet, Paul Krugman wrote in the NY Times: ...Senator Marco Rubio, whom many consider a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination,... was asked how old the earth is. After declaring “I’m not a scientist, man,” the senator went into desperate evasive action, ending with the declaration that “it’s one of the great mysteries.”
Jesus rode to Bethlehem on the back of a flying dinosaur, skirting the floods. It's all a mystery, even the cost of your flood insurance.
Grand Old Planet, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: ...Senator Marco Rubio, whom many consider a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination,... was asked how old the earth is. After declaring “I’m not a scientist, man,” the senator went into desperate evasive action, ending with the declaration that “it’s one of the great mysteries.”
It’s funny stuff, and conservatives ... say ... he was just pandering to likely voters in the 2016 Republican primaries — a claim that for some reason is supposed to comfort us.
But we shouldn’t let go that easily..., his inability to acknowledge scientific evidence speaks of the anti-rational mind-set that has taken over his political party. ... In one interview, he compared the teaching of evolution to Communist indoctrination tactics...
What was Mr. Rubio’s complaint about science teaching? That it might undermine children’s faith in what their parents told them to believe. And right there you have the modern G.O.P.’s attitude, not just toward biology, but toward everything: If evidence seems to contradict faith, suppress the evidence.
The most obvious example other than evolution is man-made climate change. As the evidence for a warming planet becomes ever stronger — and ever scarier — the G.O.P. has buried deeper into denial ... accompanied by frantic efforts to silence and punish anyone reporting the inconvenient facts.
But the same phenomenon is visible in many other fields. The most recent demonstration came in the matter of election polls..., the demonizing of The Times’s Nate Silver, in particular, was remarkable to behold. ...
We are, after all, living in an era when science plays a crucial economic role. How are we going to search effectively for natural resources if schools trying to teach modern geology must give equal time to claims that the world is only 6,000 years old? How are we going to stay competitive in biotechnology if biology classes avoid any material that might offend creationists?
And then there’s the matter of ... the recent study from the Congressional Research Service finding no empirical support for the dogma that cutting taxes on the wealthy leads to higher economic growth. How did Republicans respond? By suppressing the report. On economics, as in hard science, modern conservatives don’t want to hear anything challenging their preconceptions — and they don’t want anyone else to hear about it, either.
So don’t shrug off Mr. Rubio’s awkward moment. His inability to deal with geological evidence was symptomatic of a much broader problem — one that may, in the end, set America on a path of inexorable decline.