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What We Need to Fight Climate Change: More Austerity!

[ 74 ] January 12, 2013 |

Maybe what Scott is missing that is Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles are genuises. They know that the gods are angry at America’s deficit spending and are making our climate go crazy as a divine punishment. The only thing that will appease their anger–austerity programs that fall on the poor while making wealthy Beltway pundits feel good about themselves.

Anyway, this is a really good overview of the weather craziness going on right now. Insane cold in Russia and China, record heat in Brazil and Australia, fires in Australia, 8 inches of snow in Jerusalem, etc. This is the new normal. Or maybe it isn’t since it is going to get worse.

Human civilization as we know it cannot survive this level of climate change. The political, social, and environmental implications are too great. Humans are an extremely adaptable species. We aren’t going anywhere. But the world we know and love, it is slipping away. I really remain unconvinced that one can say our children and grandchildren will live better lives than we will. And it’s not because of national debt.

Comments (74)

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  1. John Protevi says:

    From the WaPo piece:

    But congressional Republicans are expected to oppose any such efforts. Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), who heads the Republican Study Committee, said in a statement that it is clear Americans will not tolerate any new climate policies: “Even President Obama acknowledged that our focus right now should be on putting folks back to work and growing the economy — not climate change.”

    Because we all know you can’t allow federal / state environmental / transport / housing / infrastructure stimulus spending. That wouldn’t grow the economy and address climate change at the same time. Because shut up, that’s why.

    • Davis X. Machina says:

      This time, a longer, not a shorter, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA)

      “If you can guarantee me that I’ll rule in the ruins, I’ll pull the whole thing down around my own ears with my own hands. Because I’m mad.”

      “If you can guarantee me that I’ll rule in the ruins, and not have to lift a finger, that’s even better. Because I’m lazy and mad.”

      “If you can guarantee me that I’ll rule in the ruins, and not have to lift a finger, and get to go through the pockets of the corpses for change that’s better still. Because I’m lazy and mad and mean.”

      • hylen says:

        Those at the center of power relentlessly pursue their own agendas, understanding that they can exploit the fears and anguish of the moment. They may even institute measures that deepen the abyss and may march resolutely toward it, if that advances the goals of power and privilege. They declare that it is unpatriotic and disruptive to question the workings of authority—but patriotic to institute harsh and regressive policies that benefit the wealthy, undermine social programs that serve the needs of the great majority, and subordinate a frightened population to increased state control.

    • Mike G says:

      Shorter Repukes:
      We can’t stimulate the economy, it’ll increase the deficit!
      We can’t raise taxes, it’ll hurt the economy!

      Everything they don’t like will supposedly hurt either the deficit or the economy, and so nothing should be done.
      Except tax cuts, which will magically increase revenue, because Jesus.

  2. Incontinentia Buttocks says:

    Just good old disaster capitalism.

    Got a problem, any problem? Human generated climate change destroying the planet? Islamism rising? Prison overcrowding? Kansas City Royals unable to build a decent team?

    The answer is easy! Balance the budget on the backs of the poor, deregulate, disparage labor unions. Problem solved!

  3. Major Kong says:

    I think we broke the planet.

    • Hogan says:

      The planet will be fine once the noxious parasite removes itself.

      • Dagney says:

        You sound like a typical self-loathing degenerate.

        And some parasites are awesome.

        • Hogan says:

          Wow, I can’t remember the last time I heard anyone being called a degenerate. Do you also call gay men “inverts”?

          • Dagney says:

            This parasite you were referring to was humanity, right?

            Isn’t it degenerate to wish for one’s own destruction?

            • Leeds man says:

              The intelligent parasite which refuses to recognize its behaviour could be described as self-loathing, perhaps. From any rational standpoint, we are a scourge on the biosphere.

            • Hogan says:

              I was referring to the portion of humanity that won’t get a clue when it’s pasted in front of their eyeballs. Or, in your terminology, refuse to grow hands.

            • wengler says:

              A parasite isn’t well-served if all it does is kill its host.

      • Ken says:

        One of the most sombre things I’ve ever read is in Stephen Baxter’s Evolution. Explaining the setup would take too long, so just take it as “last man on Earth”.

        He picked up a handful of sand. It was fine and golden, and ran easily through his fingers. But there were black grains in there, and some bits of orange and green and blue. The multicolored stuff must be plastic. And the black stuff looked like soot, from the fires that had swept the world as everything went to hell.

        It’s all gone, he thought wonderingly. It really has. The sand was a kind of proof. Moon rock and cathedrals and football stadiums, libraries and museums and paintings, highways and cities and shanties, Shakespeare and Mozart and Einstein, Buddha and Mohammed and Jesus, lions and elephants and horses and gorillas and the rest of the menagerie of extinction – all worn away and scattered and ground down, mixed into this sooty sand he trickled through his fingers.

  4. Tnap01 says:

    Maybe they secretly want to destroy the economy thinking it will drastically reduce carbon emissions?

    • elm says:

      That is the most benign explanation for their behavior: austerity will reduce economic activity, which will reduce carbon emissions (unless the U.S., Europe, and other rich countries respond to worsening economic conditions by eliminating environmental protections, which will increase carbon emissions.)

      But to tie it in to yesterday’s post: if the country gets poor enough, no one but the 1% can afford air conditioners!

      • Davis X. Machina says:

        A left version of this argument got made — not often, but it got made — in late 2008 over at DailyKos, in a slightly different form, to wit that the complete collapse of the present economic system would be a blessing in disguise. Thus, no bailouts for nobody — especially the auto industry.

        We’d be freed from the soul-corroding , consumerism and auto-centric culture by which we’ve all been captured. A sustainable mix of subsistence agriculture and crafts fairs would spring up, meet our newly-acquired real needs, and we’d all be improved by the experience.

        Come to think of it, Marie Antoinette and Charles Fourier could, under different circumstances, taken turns minding the same sheep.

    • wengler says:

      Wasn’t this part of the plot of Moonraker? Quick! Send space commandos to the International Space Station!

  5. c u n d gulag says:

    Conservative POV:
    There is NO Global Warming!

    Any changes we think we notice, are as a result of being better able to monitor, record, and track the environment, thanks to advances in science and technolo…


    And, lets just, for the sake of argument, say there is.

    God gave us dominion over the Earth. So, that means if we want to turn it into a hot-tub and garbage dump combo, well, that’s our God-given right!
    Look it up in the Constitution!!!

    • rm says:

      As I might say to my fellow Christians who are deluded in this way,

      God gave you a house; that does not mean He told you to burn it down.

      • Leeds man says:

        Burning it down is God’s job.

        2 Peter 3:10
        But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

      • Vance Maverick says:

        I heard a Baptist leader quoted recently interpreting “dominion” differently: “We’re given dominion, not domination”, i.e. the world may be ours, but it’s not ours to destroy. I wish him well in convincing his coreligionists (not sure which of the myriad subdenominations this was), but unfortunately the lexicographical argument doesn’t work. The KJV doesn’t use the word “domination” at all, so the fact that James’s translators didn’t choose that word in this case tells us nothing.

  6. Carbon Man says:

    I’m sure as hell doing my part, Loomis. My goal is to produce as many tons of carbon as possible. In your honor, I think I’ll take the long way to work on Monday and leave all the lights on in my home. Somebody’s gotta raise all that carbon!

    • John Protevi says:


      • Leeds man says:

        Fafnir warned us of CM and his kind;

        He has been raised in dark squalid caves filled with toxic poisons where he hunts bats an small elves for sustenance. Do not take your Republican to a museum! He comes from a “Red State” where all art is banned an has been replaced by very large engines eternally pumpin greenhouse gases into the atmosphere for no reason whatsoever.

    • Malaclypse says:

      In your honor, I think I’ll take the long way to work on Monday and leave all the lights on in my home.

      Dream the impossible dream, Jennie.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      In case there was any question, Carbon Man is Speak Truth.

    • Speak Truth says:

      In your honor, I think I’ll take the long way to work on Monday and leave all the lights on in my home. Somebody’s gotta raise all that carbon!

      Carbon Man, you will never be able to compete with Al-Gorezeera on introducing more carbon. He made 100 million of of OIL! He’s used the “green” movement to line his pockets and is not richer than Romney.

      Al Gore….master capitalist!

      Lefty hippies…..peon schmucks.

  7. shah8 says:

    Guys, check out the air quality in Beijing today. It’s an incredible PM 2.5 of 800+ units. Notoriously bad days there are about at 500 units. In sane western countries, a bad day is 50 units.

    For all intents an purposes, Chemical Warfare On Chinese Citizens Day.

  8. DrDick says:

    Come on, Erik! You know as well as anyone that austerity cures everything! Have a recession? austerity is the answer! Have a boom? Austerity is the answer! It is the 21st century magical elixir (formerly known as libertarian snake oil).

  9. Dagney says:

    “Human civilization as we know it cannot survive this level of climate change. The political, social, and environmental implications are too great. Humans are an extremely adaptable species. We aren’t going anywhere. But the world we know and love, it is slipping away.”

    Indeed. There might be a few phylogenetical split: some will way go back to tribalism, even to herdism, and some other will go full-spectrum biotechnological, galactic style.

    • Leeds man says:

      And most will die. Keep the faith, Wichser.

    • Erik Loomis says:

      Someone sure is proud of his vocabulary.

      • BigHank53 says:

        Someone is also utterly ignorant of how delicately balanced upon a pyramid of technology a silicon chip foundry is: a state-of-the-art CPU fab costs a billion dollars, and you can never shut off the power without doing a complete cleaning and recommission. You can design a network to deal with crappy, irregular power: see Africa or Afghanistan. Building a smartphone requires cheap, reliable power. In about twenty countries.

      • Leeds man says:

        His hero, Peter Sloterdijk, is a Randian with a German scholar’s vocabulary, which is awesome, because they get to capitalize their big words.

        • Dagney says:

          Sloterdijk ain’t no Randian.

          And he’s no hero; he’s basically of theoretician of media. He created a few very important concepts, and I’m very surprised to see he’s not well known in the USA.

          I thought he and Agamben would have been better known, even among ‘liberal’ academics.

          • Leeds man says:

            Sloterdijk ain’t no Randian.

            And Red-crested Pochards ain’t ducks.

            • Dagney says:

              I’ve read the majority of his books, and never read anything close to Atlas Shrugged. He never did promote selfishness nor a critics of laissez-faire capitalism.

              What is your source(s)?

                • Dagney says:

                  That statement of Sloterdijk was simply a statement of fact. And it was just an article, the equivalent of a blogpost mostly; it has nothing to do with his philosophical work.

                  ” I’m sure Sloterdijk would disavow Rand, by the way.”

                  That’s not how philosophy works; it’s about concepts and problems; not about any singular individual. For instance, I strongly oppose to Ayn Rand’s ethics of selfishness, her radical denial of the virtue of self-sacrifice; however, I like a lot her concept of money (money as an iconic proxy for man’s ability to think, work and produce).

                  I could use this concept, Sloterdijk could use it, a stalinian philosopher could use it, anybody, without disavowing or worshipping Madame Rand.

                • Malaclypse says:

                  That statement of Sloterdijk was simply a statement of fact.

                  That’s how Rand described her work as well.

        • Major Kong says:

          Objectivism is what happened when someone thought “You know what? Libertarianism just isn’t quite radical enough. What if we threw a personality cult into the mix?”

          • Dagney says:

            Sloterdijk is no objectivist.

            In fact, as did Deleuze and Simondon (two Frenchmen), Sloterdijk (a Deutschmann), tries very hard to bring philosophical theory beyond the dichotomy of object/subject, nature/culture, and so on and so forth.

          • Informant says:

            Rand rejected libertarianism as being anarchistic, so which is the more radical philosophy?


            Capitalism is the one system that requires absolute objective law, yet libertarians combine capitalism and anarchism. That’s worse than anything the New Left has proposed. It’s a mockery of philosophy and ideology. They sling slogans and try to ride on two bandwagons. They want to be hippies, but don’t want to preach collectivism because those jobs are already taken. But anarchism is a logical outgrowth of the anti-intellectual side of collectivism. I could deal with a Marxist with a greater chance of reaching some kind of understanding, and with much greater respect. Anarchists are the scum of the intellectual world of the Left, which has given them up. So the Right picks up another leftist discard. That’s the libertarian movement.

      • Dagney says:

        I just try to be precise; I thought this was a place populated by theoreticians.

        Proudness has nothing to do with the will to be clear and concise.

    • DocAmazing says:

      It’s an intriguing blend of Perfesser and Godlstein…

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