Monday, March 26, 2018

Miami should tell climate change denier on FIU panel: Fuck You ... by gimleteye

I'm old school when it comes to flaming others on the internet. Don't like it. Try not to do it. But FIU's inclusion on a climate change panel of a well-known industry funded denier is a bridge too far. The Miami Herald reported last week:
James Taylor — no, not the singer — is the man to call when you want an official-sounding, educated voice on why climate change isn’t happening (it is), why humans haven’t caused it (we have) or why it’s actually good for the planet (it isn’t). It’s all but impossible to find a reputable climate scientist that agrees with Taylor but his views are popular with the fossil fuel industry and climate-change deniers. He’s a senior fellow with the Heartland Institute, which is notorious for a series of 2012 billboards in Chicago with the phrase “I still believe in Global Warming. Do you?” alongside pictures of The Unabomber, Fidel Castro and Osama bin Laden. Heartland was at one point funded by oil and gas giants, including Exxon Mobil. So why is he speaking in Miami Beach next week at a workshop to teach journalists and editors about covering climate change? “It’s like having a debate on gun control and not inviting the NRA,” said Alejandro Alvarado, an associate professor at Florida International University and co-organizer of the event. “The key word here is workshop. This is not a science forum. It is a workshop.”
 Polluters and industry-sponsored hacks are the only ones promoting the false equivalency "workshop" and talk about whether climate change is real or not. Trump's EPA chief Scott Pruitt had to back away from his plan to offer the nation its own "workshop" on climate change and global warming. The president's pollsters suggested it was a bad time to be picking a fight on global warming, especially when Pruitt is making so much disgusting headway in deforming the mission of the agency. From Inside Climate News:

Over the past 13 months, Pruitt's EPA has taken at least 15 major actions on air pollution—all to delay, weaken or repeal protections, and all opposed by the American Lung Association and other health groups—according to an analysis by the office of Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.). The list includes the Clean Power Plan, the Obama administration's signature initiative to address climate change, which also would dramatically reduce smog, particulate matter, mercury and other dangerous air pollutants by slashing the amount of coal the country burns.
The point is that FIU's inclusion of a leading climate change denier is adding fuel and energy to a debate that has not only been settled by science; municipalities and counties in Florida are rapidly moving to invest tax dollars in physical infrastructure, like Miami Beach's $500 million sewer and pump upgrades, to deal with rapidly rising sea levels. Think about it. It was less than a decade ago that the Miami Herald belatedly agreed, within its executive and publisher rank, that climate change and global warming did not require the "balance" that industry groups and trade associations and leading lights and lobbyists had imposed in the public sphere.
How much more nonsense from Alt R can America stand?
We are not going back to the time when denialism could be supported because, sadly, the facts on the ground are piling up with more and more evidence that the most conservative estimates of scientists, only a few years ago, were far too conservative. Climate change is accelerating with the force, yes, of a hurricane.

I know this is still not a view embraced by the general public. Yesterday, on a fine Spring day, I walked the beach at Bill Baggs State Park on Key Biscayne. The sand was packed with Miami families enjoying the cool (for Miami) weather and warm, clear waters. I wondered how many of the thousands had sea level rise on their minds. How many were worried about the real impacts of climate change on their children covering themselves in sand or joyously hauling buckets of water to help build castles near the tide line.

Waging the false equivalency debate on global warming bought time for polluters and lobbyists; time to mint billions while the window to create effective change at the policy level slowly closes.

The World Bank, last week, issued a report estimating that 140 million refugees from global warming could be on the move by the year 2050. Like other predictions, the number could be wildly conservative.

A stable climate is like a perfectly spinning top. Man-made, forced climate change has knocked the spinning top into dis-equilibrium. Literally, decade by decade, the wobbling is increasing more and more wildly. A few days ago, in mid- March at base level, rain fell in the Utah's Wasatch Range. Thirty years ago, when I first experienced this region of the Rockies, winter rainfall was unthinkable. It didn't happen all of a sudden. Over the decades, the winter snowfall in the Wasatch -- once the lowest moisture content in North America -- has loaded up with moisture: consistent with rapid global warming.

Some doubters chime: this winter has been cold in the northeast! New York City experienced the most snowfall in 100 years! Science Magazine addresses that phenomenon in a recent report: "The Chill of a Warming World":
Why have some winters been so cold in some of the northern midlatitudes, even though global climate is getting hotter? Paradoxically, the answer may be that the Arctic itself is warming so quickly. Cohen et al. show that there is a clear relationship between Arctic temperatures and severe winter weather for the United States over the past two decades and that severe winter weather in the eastern United States has become more frequent as Arctic temperatures have risen. Although they were not included in the analysis, this relationship is likely valid for northern Europe and East Asia as well.
Common sense tells us what happens in a warming world, in places like the northeast where abnormally cold weather alternates with freakishly warm spells. As the ice melts, the warm spurts grow longer. The short fluxes of cold grow shorter. This trend persists until the arctic ice melts entirely; a course that science predicts could happen in the arctic north by the end of the century.

The extinction of species, as this transition occurs rather quietly, will gather to a quiet, devastating hurricane. There is no guarantee, none, that we won't be part of that movement. As sea levels rise, coastal cities will toxify. Inland, as hundreds of millions of climate refugees are forced to move to higher ground, there will be a fierce battle to protect scarce resources and food supply.

This is the future we can read in the grim days of oligarchs hardening their bunkers against common sense. It is unconscionable for FIU to lend any credence to their discredited nonsense.


Anonymous said...

Tourism contributes to pollution. Can we get a tourism expert from Miami or Miami Beach on these boards?

Anonymous said...

Where on the Beach is this moron speaking? There are many of us to protest and we will.

Anonymous said...

I want to see a building moratorium. Why do we have to make space for more people in South Florida when we can't move people around that are already here? Stop building and start getting ready for rising sea levels! Gimlet, please keep up the great work! Thanks for all you do.

tom warnke said...

James Taylor is his name, but how can we apply pressure to FIU to remove him? I will address him directly but his name is so common it may be hard to find a point of contact.

I am at if anyone can help with some direction.


Tom Warnke

Anonymous said...

Thought libs liked diversity?