Among the board rooms of industrialists and captains of industry, all the talk is about clean energy. It is common talk in the Detroit trade shows. The German auto makers are planning to go all in for clean cars by 2030. Western Europe has made great investments in attempting sustainable energy. Sweden, Norway, Spain, Switzerland are leading the pack with a collection of wind, solar, and hydroelectric. Most of the world, 195 countries, have including its biggest polluters – Europe, China and the U.S., have signed the Paris Agreement to curtail carbon emissions in an attempt to reduce the worst effects of climate change. Even China has stepped up – recently investing around 300 billion dollars in clean energy. In all the world, anyone who has any literacy or a little bit of information understands the danger excessive carbon in the atmosphere is causing global temperatures to rise to a level unseen on planet earth in at least 130,000 years. The direct relationship with the fossil fuel age is clear, something 98 percent of the entire scientific community has been stating for decades.
Despite all of this happening in the real world, there are always those who portend to cast doubt on anthropogenetic global warming, who claim it is an elaborate hoax. Much of this blog has been dedicated to analyzing various cultural myths and ideologies of our post truth landscape – but climate chance is not one of these. It is real. Science and facts are real. But what is mythical here is the strange inner world of the so-called climate denier.
Let this be a message in a bottle to the future: There is no such thing as a real climate denier. There are only those who tell other people to deny human-created climate change.
I know, yes, some people have a knack for being able to completely bury their head in the sand and fully dissociate from facts. Of course that is true. But I’m not talking about ordinary people who basically believe what they are told. I’m talking about people in the managerial class. I’m talking about Trump. I’m talking about now EPA chief Scott Pruitt – former Oklahoma attorney general and anti-EPA lawsuit filer who was deliberately picked by Steve Bannon to destroy the “administrative state.” I’m talking about the Koch Brothers, who have spent millions in various think tanks to conjure up corporate agitprop to cast doubt on climate change. I’m talking about ExxonMobil, which has spent millions to promote misinformation to the public. It’s former CEO, Rex Tillerson, now Secretary of State, who was recommended to the post by Big Oil lobbyist and former Secretary of State Condeleeza Rice (who has an oil tanker named after her). Exxon, which investigated climate change in the 1970s and 1980s, and found evidence of carbon’s effect on global warming then, and then buried the evidence. Exxon is now being sued by investors for hiding the report. Shell had a similar finding as well, and also buried the data. (These corporate forces and their arms in the corporate media have spent decades gaslighting the public, framing the topic as if it was still “controversial” or “up for debate,” while conveniently never bringing it up as a topical question in any of the three presidential debates.) But they are not climate change deniers so much as climate change liars. They deliberately manufacture denial and doubt to manage perception so they can continue the status quo. They plan to drill in the unfrozen Arctic Ocean, folks. To do so, they have to make science or dissent a thought crime.
They know the danger of climate change. But capitalism has no mechanism within itself to care about the earth, only reap its bounty. There is no profit in care – be it in caring for the sick, the poor, the destitute, or promoting intelligence or art, or community or democracy. These are values that can originate from a culture, but not from capitalism.
(When the news reports on the paucity of fish in the ocean, or toxic food, or deforestation, or acidification of the ocean, or melting ice caps, it usually ends with some comment on how this will affect commodities, jobs, and/or investments.)
Trump is not unaware of climate change. He’s building a sea wall around one of his golf courses because of rising tides, after all. I think he will try to make the public, however, into deniers because this is precisely what he does … throws the public into disarray by a dizzying level of lies, spectacle and bullshit while he rakes in the billions. He did the same thing with birtherism. He knew it was bullshit, he just uses this as a tool to disrupt the public.
It’s the same with the whole corporate duopoly, however. Trump is just a symptom of it’s illness. They know change is inevitable, and they want to be the last, fattest hogs at the trough before the crash.
Trump is not a climate change denier. No Bill Nye, or whoever, can correct his “mistaken” viewpoint. The truth is much more insidious than ignorance. The truth is he does not care. He does not care about you. He does not care about future generations. He does not care about the acidity of the oceans or air quality or rising tides. He cares only about himself. Rising ocean water means more construction, more Trump sea walls, rebuilt Trump roads, Trump hotels, Trump golf courses. He views it as an endless stream of possibilities, the endlessness of supply side economics for Trump and his like-minded pals.
The trouble with this economic model is that the earth is not endless. It has limits. And life suffers while the Trumpires try to make science an Orwellian thought crime in an insane attempt to keep us in the dark for as long as possible.
How can one expect that we take fossil fuel – the power of a prior extinction – out of the ground, put it in the sky, and not expect extinction-level consequences?
The West Antarctic Ice Shelf is slipping off the southern continent as I write this. Soon, no one will have the luxury of denial as Miami disappears under the waves.
If ExxonMobil owned the sun, would we all have solar paneled everything?
If we find out that climate change is caused by space aliens, we would bomb the hell out of them.
These people are far more dangerous to you and the future of earth than all of the terrorists who have ever lived.