Hot enough for you, America? According to the federal National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, more than 2,000 high temperature records were reached or broken over the past week. For June, 3,200 record highs were broken. Places where I once lived sound unrecognizable: Days of 105 degrees in Denver, 4,000 feet higher than Phoenix and a place I remember for its enchanting cool-off in the summer twilight; records broken in Charlotte, where a temp of 104 is accompanied by nearly tropical and suffocating humidity — even in the old days, the Southern heat was miserable, but this? — and of course the August-like oven in June for Phoenix. Violent storms sweep the east and devastating wildfires tear across the West. Welcome to the new normal?
Only a fool would not recognize that climate change is coming on faster and worse than expected, and that it won't be a phenomenon that only affects poor people in the Third World. We are, to be sure, a nation of fools that is more interested in the implosion of TomKat than the implosion of the planet because of human activity. There are the usual excuses: The weather's always changing! Even if it is true, nothing can be done locally (statewide, regionally, nationally) because it is a global problem. Taking action would cost jobs. Here's my in-depth analysis that climate change is a hoax or not a big deal, even though I am not a climate scientist. Wait...Did Anderson Cooper just come out as gay? Look over here at the bright, shiny object, Moronistan.
The people in charge understand that climate change is no hoax. Even Exxon Mobil, which spent heavily to fund denier "science," admits the planet is warming. The new excuse now is that the change will be manageable, people will adapt. The plutocrats adapt by having summer houses in places such as the San Juan Islands. Can't we all just bootstrap ourselves into this brave new world?
Meanwhile, confronted with growing evidence about climate change — not in some scientific paper but right outside — Moronistan is embarking on one last grab for all the hydrocarbons it can drill, frack or otherwise turn the planet into a sewer to find, and burn them up in (heavily air-conditioned) single-occupancy car trips to hasten climate change. What can we do? China won't go along. So, here's a bright idea, let's sell China our coal so we can make a profit as the planet heads for a big die-off. And we have a hundred years of natural gas and trillions of barrels of oil to discover and peak oil is a myth — the study by the guy who spent his career with an oil company proves it. Drill, baby, drill!
Our greed, ignorance and selfishness knows no limits. Above is a big example. Then we see the houses destroyed in the recent Colorado fires. While one should be sympathetic to the people who lost their dwellings, why aren't we demanding to know why the hell these subdivisions were built into forests and fire-carrying canyons and foothills? Who profited? Who was bought off at the county and state to allow it? And will we be expected to spend our tax dollars to fight the fires and help rebuild exurban sprawl? There's a reason fires don't reach the old towns. They were built in safe places.
Addressing climate change should be out first priority. It should be the No. 1 election issue. America could make a huge difference globally, both in its own output of greenhouse gases and leading other nations, if it would act. Failing to do so won't make the problem go away. It will merely tee up ever greater disruptions and ugly surprises. If I didn't love this country and know it could do so much better, if I didn't have to live through the hard times to come, I would look at Moronistan and say:
Burn, baby, burn.