Thursday, January 22, 2015

This Changes Nothing

The US Senate voted that climate change is real, and many of my Facebook friends are celebrating.  But I don't think they actually read beyond the headlines on this one.  "Finally!"  "This is great!" and "Today's a great day!"  are inappropriate responses to this vote.

The vote was specifically on whether or not climate change is real WITHOUT any cause attributed to it.  So is the climate changing?  Yes - decided by a 98 to 1 margin.  But is climate change affected by human behaviour (the question the we need the Senate to affirm)?   Well, not so fast.

Senator Jim Inhofe, a climate denier, voted yes, but commented:  "The climate is changing. The climate has always changed, [the real "hoax" is] that there are some people that are so arrogant to think [that they can change the climate]."

When asked if there's a human connection to the change in our climate, most Republicans voted "No":
...the Senate voted on a second amendment...that acknowledged human activity is contributing to climate change. That measure fell one vote short of the 60 needed to pass, at 59 to 40.... The Senate held a third vote on an amendment... that went even further, stating that climate change is real and "human activity significantly contributes" to it. That measure, too, went down, by a vote of 50 to 49.
Or as Inhofe put it so eloquently:  "Man cannot change climate."

There is just so much wrong with those four words.

If climate change has nothing to do with human behaviour then we can carry on as usual.  If burning more fossil fuels doesn't have any effect on our ecosystems, then bring on the pipelines!  The fact that we're deciding on scientific facts with a vote from people who don't hesitate to remind us that they're not scientists is ridiculous in the first place.

This isn't a victory, kids.


Lorne said...

While it is true that failed political leadership has brought us ever closer to the climate precipice, Marie, as you pointed out in your previous post, we all have to shoulder the blame. The harsh measures you previously deemed necessary to stop our climate from deteriorating even more show, by the absolute rejection with which they would be met, that we are the collective authors of the fate that awaits us.

I used to think that if people could truly understand our plight, they would make the sacrifices necessary to avoid the worst that climate change will bring. I now realize that was foolishly optimistic on my part. Why, look what has happened now that gas prices have dropped - sales of big trucks and SUvs are booming. Apparently, people are putting their own wants and desires above all else - perhaps our tragic flaw as a species?

I rest my case.

Marie Snyder said...

I just finished a semester of a social justice course about the environment and poverty and toxins and corruption. At the exam, many of them brought water bottles, then discussed all the places they're going to travel - by plane. Their ideal futures are blinding them to the likely reality. I can talk and talk, but I can't make anyone hear me. I think it is our tragic flaw. But I wouldn't keep on about it if I didn't have a glimmer of hope that we can sober up already.

Marie Snyder said...

I meant bottled water. Water bottles would be fine.

Lorne said...

And I'm afraid I'm guilty when it comes to plane travel. We are going to Cuba tomorrow. I guess if I really walked the walk, our holidays would be local only.

Marie Snyder said...

We're all guilty. Try to reduce your impact as much as possible, and convince the powers that be (the 1%) to shut down or dramatically restrict some of the worst GHG-creating industries. Yes it works against their own profit base, so they should act now, moving their investments into renewables. Or whatever. Enjoy your trip!