What?! GOP Focus on Heat From Porn Instead of Climate Change…

Lawmakers here in DC are breathing a little easier this week now that the first heat wave of the season is past us.

But we're not out of the woods yet, and based on what we're seeing with the climate, it's likely only going to get hotter.

May 2016 was the 13th month in a row of record-breaking temperatures on Earth, marking the longest hot streak since our government's official temperature records began in 1880.

Then, June 2016 was the hottest June on record for the lower 48 states, coming in at an average temperature of 71.8 degrees, more than 3 degrees above the 20th century average.

So, rational people are worried about the planet heating up, and climate scientists are worried about the climate melting down, and Republicans are having their own absurd meltdown about "hot" videos online.

That's right, Republicans are less worried about climate change than they are about tackling pornography, because pornography's "harmful effects, especially on children, has become a public health crisis that is destroying the life of millions".

That's not a joke, the amendment to the Republican Party platform goes on to state that "we encourage states to continue to fight this public menace and pledge our commitment to children's safety and well-being.".

Seriously, and while Republicans are trying to crack down on the so-called pornographic public health crisis, we are now routinely seeing the impacts of man-made climate change all around us.

In just the last week, SuperTyphoon Nepartak in the Pacific Ocean forced the relocation of more than 400,000 people in Eastern China when it made landfall; flash floods in India killed at least 22 people and forced more than 170,000 from their homes (after months of severe drought that drained India's 91 reservoirs to their lowest points in a decade); and the Great Barrier Reef and the Great Southern Reef around Australia are rapidly dying because of warming oceans and unseasonal heatwaves.

Dr. Michael Mann recently explained on my TV show how a warmer planet can lead both to increased drought events, and to increased rainfall events.

The truth is, pretty much every aspect of this planet as we know it is changing.

Sea level is rising, heatwaves and droughts are more common, rainfall events and thunderstorms are becoming more powerful and less predictable, and the stability of crop systems across the planet are being threatened by the fact that seasons are becoming less well defined.

And based on what's going on in the Arctic, we could quickly see things get a lot worse.

This animation from the Naval Research Laboratory shows Arctic sea ice thickness for 30 days up through July 8, 2016, and it shows clearly how much the ice is thinning or completely melting into the surrounding sea.

This is really alarming, and there are three major feedback loops that contribute to and accelerate warming in the Arctic: and the primary cause is fossil fuel emissions, which are driving the initial unnatural warming in the Arctic.

As the ice then melts, and as soot and pollution accumulates on the ice, the surface of the Earth becomes relatively darker and warming increases, because sea ice can reflect as much as 90% of solar radiation back into space, but the ocean surface only reflects about 6% of the solar radiation, and it absorbs the other 94%.

So long as there is ice floating in the water, the sea water below will stay at a constant 0 degrees Celsius, just like a water cooler in the summer will stay at 0 degrees Celsius so long as there's even just one tiny ice cube still floating in it.

But once that last little bit of ice melts, the water below starts rapidly warming up, because it takes 334 Joules of heat to melt one gram of ice, but once that ice melts into water, it only takes about 42 Joules of heat to warm the water by another TEN degrees Celsius.

Professor Peter Wadhams estimates that the disappearance of summer ice in the Arctic would result in the equivalent of an additional 1.3 watts of energy for every square meter of surface area, which would nearly double the net warming from fossil fuel emissions.

And there is a very real existential danger that, as the oceans warm and warmer waters reach the ocean floor, frozen methane hydrates on the seafloor will release huge amounts of gaseous methane, fueling another feedback loop that could trigger runaway global warming and threaten planetary mass extinctions, including humanity.

It's impossible to know when we'll hit the tipping point, or whether we might have already.

But we know where this complex chain of events begins: the irresponsible and insatiable addiction to burning fossil fuels to power the global economy.

But there are some who don't want you to know about this.

According to recent investigations, one of the biggest contributors to climate change, ExxonMobil, knew about the risks of its business model nearly 40 years ago.

But instead of adjusting their business model or informing the public, they funded a campaign to sow doubt while the company pillaged the planet, reaped massive profits, and kicked the costs down the line to future generations.

The Democratic platform unfortunately falls short of calling for a RICO investigation into ExxonMobil and the other fossil fuel conspirators for their deceitful pursuit of profits.

But, we applaud the Democratic Party platform for including a price on carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases, and for paving the way for a 21st century labor movement in America based on the transition to a renewable energy infrastructure.

If we're going to keep our planet inhabitable for humans for generations to come, the debate is over on climate change.

The language in the Democratic platform is good, and now the Party needs to quickly translate that language into aggressive action.

Comments

Intermittent Instigator's picture
Intermittent In... 4 years 10 weeks ago
#1

"But we're not out of the woods yet, ...only going to get hotter."

When in the woods, it often seems much cooler... planting several trillion trees may seem like a radical idea, but it could probably be done for the cost of a tiny fraction of any of our MIC boondoggles... heard a "number of trees planted by the ol' Civilian Conservation Corps" statistic... (lots and lots (way more than I'd have imagined) of trees).

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 4 years 10 weeks ago
#2

It might be relevant to consider what kind of tree

Some take years to foliate and produce any effect

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 4 years 10 weeks ago
#3

"Harmful effects, especially on children" : That would be Paul Ryan's teabagger budget plan to redistribute massive wealth from the working class to the top one percent.

.

Tsultrim Melong's picture
Tsultrim Melong 4 years 10 weeks ago
#4

Clearly, global warming is an urgent problem, and most readers/listeners of TH understand that. But I take issue with this column. It mocks concern about pornography, reducing that issue to a low priority. I would agree that global warming must be made priority one, worldwide. But to respect the Earth and undertake healing and proper stewardship, human beings need to lift women to status equal to men. Women have been shown to work more cooperatively in groups, something that can only enhance efforts to save the planet. In addition, women in crises react not with fight or flight, but with a tend and nurture response, also needed if we plan to heal our world. One more underlying issue implicit in this column is an "either/or" mentality, that pits one issue against another, creating hierarchies. A "both/and" approach would be more appropriate if we are to truly affect our world's problems, which tend to be complex and interconnected. While I have little respect for puritanical and prudish attitudes toward sex, I do see a problem with the rampant access to porn on the internet. It demeans women and teaches young people to view women through that lens. It reinforces the oppression of women by men. So while I support all efforts to curb global warming, not just for the sake of human beings but for the entire planet's ecosystem, I also support efforts to raise women to equal status and to include women in all areas of government, science, and groups working to help our world. Women are needed now if we are to avoid disaster, and that means that men need to take a sober and respectful view toward including half of the human race.

albabe 4 years 10 weeks ago
#5

I've been trying to sign-in to the chat and for the last few months I sing-in over and over and can't seem to get in.

Intermittent Instigator's picture
Intermittent In... 4 years 10 weeks ago
#6

Re: Kind of tree"

Maybe lots of different kinds... ...maybe heavy on the drought, heat, and insect resistant ones... ...(And now, No. 1) The Larch(?). (Red and White) Cedars and Sequoias seem nice.

years to foliate?? guess we'd do well to start soon.

Mark J. Saulys's picture
Mark J. Saulys 4 years 10 weeks ago
#7

Tsultrim Melong, pornography is a non issue that dishonest politicians bring up to to distract people with superstitious fears, foment intolerance and divide the public as a wedge. Richard Nixon commissioned a group of scientists to study pornography and it's effects and decided beforehand what its findings were to be. He said he "will not accept any conclusions that suggest pornography laws should be liberalized".
That is, however, exactly what the commission concluded. They found virtually no harmfull effects from it even upon children but in any case did conclude, in concurrence with most, by far, of the American public of the period, that any adult should be able to look at or view any sexually explicit material they choose. Later an exception was carved out for child pornography so people below the legal age of consent could not be used in the production of pornography
Later still, that ban on use of minors was expanded to criminalize consumers of child pornography and not because we think it's disgusting but because the same logic was being applied to that as was being applied to the war on drugs of that time of criminalizing the users because, the logic goes, the users create the demand which is the reason for the practice in the first place.
The public's horror and revulsion toward child pornography was stoked for its usefulness in creating witch hunts and many a political dissident, e.g., Scott Ritter, the UNSCOM weapons inspector who debunked George Bush's insistence that Iraq was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction in 2003; the BP whistleblowers and so on, went to jail on some dubious convictions for the crime that some close to the cases swear were on planted, bogus evidence. Not only does it get the dissidents out of the way but discredits their characters and thus their dissent..
Reagan tried something similar as Nixon and had his absurd, conservative Attorney General, Edwin Meese, head up a commission to study pornography in an attempt to authoritatively and "scientifically" vilify it. This time they were slick, instead of scientists they stacked the commission with Christian, evangelical clerics and ministers whose conclusions were clearly set before they even began studying pornography and its effects (as a members of that comission, I suspect they'd been studying pornography on their own since they were little boys, like most everyone else). Only three appointees to the commission were social scientists and all three were women - so, I suppose, Meese expected them to support the foregone conclusions of the heavily biased other members of the commission. All three refused to put their names to the commission's findings and disavowed any support for them.
So pornography has long been a political football in the exploitation of the superstitious hysterias of the American public.

Hephaestus's picture
Hephaestus 4 years 10 weeks ago
#8

#4 - I'd say the "better" half of humanity

No judgement... just an observation

Legend 4 years 9 weeks ago
#9

The 1st step in taking control of the Internet. Create a problem. Create a solution of controlling the Internet. Get Billionaires behind you. Done deal. The Republican Mantra. They have control of the rest of the media.

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