Photo Credit: Retrofuturs
NOW don’t be alarmed by the lede. I am no skeptic of the great warming that has created more and more storms with increased intensity over the last couple of decades, most likely producing the watershed moment of Katrina. And I do not believe that it is sensible to conduct any more research — as some very thick-headed politicians who are beholden to business and are espousers of anti-rationalist thought would want you to believe — since there is nothing else that will augment an already Titanic-size body of evidence: the ice caps are melting, sea levels are rising and there are now more warmer days than ever; all of which occurred after industrialization.
[Supplement: In fact, according to this graph of historical temperature and precipitation trends since 1950, provided by Harris-Mann Climatology, the hottest years on record have all been recorded in my cohort's -- Generation Y's -- lifetime. Looking at the red line, indicating Earth temperatures, one sees a frighteningly sharp incline towards "Much Above Normal," at least seven times, counting the peaks, since 1980. It does, admittedly, sink to just below "Above Normal," six times in that same span. But this is still disconcerting isn't it, considering that the temperature hasn't been below "Above Normal" in that period, and is now resting at "Much Above Normal"?]
This “warming trend” as fringe skeptics still characterize it — implying that the Earth has naturally gone through these cycles, which accounts for the current evidence – has hurt crops and is doing strange things to the ecosystem of the ocean. Furthermore, I am not, in the post’s title, actually speaking about the multitude of folks running around with a much-needed sense of urgency, looking to effect change in the glacial movement on climate change policy.
I am only talking about the wolf in sheep’s clothing that was my one serious point of contention with the Obama run to the White House as, prepare for an understatement, the incestuous business-political machine necessitated it for the-then-future No. 44. That is the power of the “clean coal” movement and its lobbyists, who not surprisingly managed to get the closest mainstream, “truth-telling candidate” to make a concession, and support a mentally blunted, foolishly-technologically-hopeful solution to our problem of producing environmentally safe energy . And they now use his pro-”clean coal” stump speech in their ads:
“Clean Coal” is a fabrication of marketing produced by the various industries who stand to make a profit by continuing the nation’s dependence on a “dirty burning”energy resource. Recently, the power and influence of the Clean Coal “movement” that relies on yet developed technology, a mixed bag of hypotheticals — such as yet found effective scrubbers for smoke stacks — and other “ifs,” was pointed to in a Mother Jones‘ article on K Street’s booming sector of climate change lobbyists. My problem is not exactly with the lobbying, however, since it is now the reality that money has become equated to free speech and it is therefore “protected” by the Constitution; regardless of whether it is donations from an individual (quite sensible), or from a corporation (completely asinine); but with the type of lobbying, and the causes that they are advocating.
Photo Credit: Mother Jones
If K Street were flooded with lobbyists of a different stripe on the matter of climate change — lobbyists who actually care for the environment and are very, very honest in their intent to thwart it — then my qualms would be assuaged. I know that lobbying even with its tremendous downsides is a part of our democratic process, and with a consistent money flow and tenacity and constituency, it can work wonders; (see: senior citizens and Medicaid and Social Security, as prime examples). However, the most powerful lobby now on the issue of climate change is the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity. (The link is to their official site, here is a more honest review via the Center for Media and Democracy: SourceWatch Wiki of them.) “ACCCE” is a conglomeration of companies from multiple industries which include rail, mining and manufacturing. *So, you know, the most “trustworthy” folks in regards to the environment, with little to gain from lobbying for policies in the climate change arena to be unambitious, and rife with notions of clean-burning fossil fuels. (*Sarcasm is all over that last sentence.)
For a long time, the climate change debate in Washington took place along predictable lines: industry on one side, environmentalists on the other. But now, with the prospect of actual legislation passing Congress, and the attendant opportunities for political and financial gain, the competition has erupted into a giant free-for-all. Since 2003, the climate lobby has grown by more than 400 percent, to a total of 2,810 lobbyists — 5 to every lawmaker.
The largest players are still formidable: The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, a collection of power companies and mining, rail, and manufacturing interests, spent $9.95 million lobbying Congress and the White House last year, more than any other group devoted solely to climate change. But there are now also 138 lobbyists representing alternative energy technologies. Environmental and health lobbyists numbered fewer than 50 six years ago; there are now 176. (Still, the alternative energy and environmental lobbyists put together are outnumbered more than 7-to-1 by those for major industries.)
Read Mother Jones‘s “Agents of Climate Change” [Here]