Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Climate Change Meets Government Denial

Climate Change Meets Government Denial
by Coast Watcher

Donald Trump reached a new low point in his behavior this past week. After a press conference in Corpus Christi, he addressed the crowd outside with the remarks "Thank you everybody. What a crowd! What a turnout!" It's language more suited to a campaign rally than a speech to people suffering the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters to hit the United States in recorded history. He went on to thank Texas governor Gregg Abbott for doing a "fantastic job" - this to a governor who turned down an offer of help from the Canadian province of  Qu├ębec, asking for their prayers instead.

Trump's predictably superficial visit to a region reeling under the impact of Hurricane Harvey did little to alleviate the situation. His personal donation of $1 million would be a drop in the bucket of the costs needed to restore the situation - oh, and Trump's legal problems will probably tie-up that donation so it'll never go through.
The event ended without Trump sending any compassionate word to those still awaiting rescue, or the families whose loved ones are among the approximately thirty souls already known to have perished in the disaster.

As if this were not bad enough, Trump later visited a relief shelter in Houston, where he said "They were just happy. We saw a lot of happiness. It's been really nice. It's been a wonderful thing. As tough as this was, it's been a wonderful thing, I think even for the country to watch and for the world to watch. It's been beautiful."

People who have lost everything don't tend to be happy, Mr. Trump. There's nothing beautiful about a deadly hurricane that took innocent lives. The American people and the world did not enjoy seeing the fourth largest city in the United States flooding under nature's onslaught.

The effects of Hurricane Harvey are projected to be the costliest disaster in the nation's history, with the heaviest rainfall ever recorded in the continental United States - 49 inches, with more to come. The rainfall inundated a number of cities, including Houston. Relief efforts and search and rescue operations are ongoing. Most of the work is being done by a vast army of volunteers who have stepped up to help their fellow humans in their time of need. It must be pointed out that much of the rescue work is taking place in floodwaters contaminated by the toxic products of the petrochemical industry that dominates the area.

Trump had announced cuts to the tune of $876 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency budget in order to redirect the funds to build his border wall with Mexico. These cuts have since been reassessed in the light of recent events. Trump has also remained silent on the invaluable assistance coming from Mexico to help in relief efforts. How's that wall idea working for you now, Mr. Trump?

Trump claims climate change is a conspiracy propagated by China to hurt the US economy. Texas governor Gregg Abbott is another denier, even though the effects of dramatically changing weather patterns have literally manifested on his doorstep. (Watch this short video and see the changing temperatures for yourself. It will amaze you how fast the entire planet has been heating up.)

Dr. James Hansen, the former top climate scientist at NASA and current director at Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions at Columbia University’s Earth Institute, recently stated: “With the beginning of changes in atmospheric composition, caused mainly by burning fossil fuels, the planet is getting warmer, and sea level has begun to go up, because the ocean is getting warmer and because ice is melting.” He continued: “The amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is increasing because the atmosphere is getting warmer, and therefore the amount of water being dumped during these storms is larger because of human-made global warming. Thunderstorms, tornadoes, tropical storms all get their energy from the latent energy of water vapor. There are substantial human-made effects on these storms.”

Trump soon jetted away from Houston, leaving the people of Texas to deal with their calamity. Undoubtedly there will decades of recovery ahead for the city. He achieved little but a new demonstration of his crassness and boorish behavior.

This week Trump announced that U.S. Representative Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) is his nominee as NASA Administrator. Bridenstine is a Navy veteran who, since taking up politics, has served on both the Science, Space and Technology Committee and the House Armed Services Committee.  In 2013, Bridenstine gave a speech on the House floor filled with standard climate denial talking points and gave a demand that President Obama apologize for funding research into climate science.

“Mr. Speaker, global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago,” claimed Bridenstine, “Global temperature changes, when they exist, correlate with sun output and ocean cycles.”

The Trump administration will continue to deny man's  influence on climate change, and killer storms will continue to increase in strength. Who will give in first? In this case, Harvey definitely has the edge.

More stories on this topic:






Here's some good news about the hurricane from an energy viewpoint: https://www.juancole.com/2017/09/turbines-turning-refineries.html

BIO: Coast Watcher watches the coasts and sees how vulnerable they are to both climate change extremes and right-wing propaganda. He wants more folks awake and aware of how dangerous ignoring our part in it can be for everyone on the planet.
The Draft Bernie for a People's Party movement will be gathering in Washington D.C. this weekend for the People's Convergence Conference. They will present a petition to Senator Bernie Sanders to form a new progressive party on Friday, September 8. Bernie Delegates make an impassioned plea to their beloved leader in the following video.

What do you think? Will Bernie join the new party? Will others form one instead? What will it take to convince him? Leave your comments in the comment box at the end of this week's blog. Thank you.
Here are some ways to help those in Texas and speak out against climate change denial.

Courtesy of the Jim Hightower Newsletter:
 Thousands in our state are suffering because of Hurricane Harvey and spillover flooding since this weekend. Our Revolution Texas members are among them. Many of us around the state are wondering how we can volunteer and donate to help the many in hard-hit areas. We all know that showing solidarity in trying times is an important part of what we do and why we do it as progressive populists.
In the Houston Area
If you have a flat-bottomed boat or a high-water vehicle, you are urgently needed. Call 713-881-3100. If you are in need of immediate help from a life-threatening emergency call 9-1-1. If you are or know others in need of non-emergency help call 3-1-1 in Houston or 2-1-1 in nearby areas.

Outside Houston 
Local relief groups, progressive organizations, unions, and immigrant rights groups are already mobilizing grassroots relief efforts. Here is a list of groups and efforts you can plug into to help:
The Texas Workers Relief Fund. A union-relief effort by the Texas AFL-CIO, donations are tax-deductible. The state fed has been closely coordinating with the Houston and Corpus-area central labor councils to provide material aid.

RNRN Disaster Relief Fund. Our ally the National Nurses United organizes medical relief for major disasters through this fund.

Texas DSA. DSA chapters (also allies) have been organizing both volunteers and those in need at a grassroots level. Sign up here to offer help (or ask for it) or donate directly to Houston DSA.

Coastal Bend Disaster Recovery Group Fund. If you want to donate directly for relief in the Coastal Bend towns hit directly by the hurricane.

Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund. Houston's mayor has set up this fund to assist with victims of Houston's ongoing and increasingly dangerous flooding. Donations are tax-deductible.

The extreme enforcement policies of SB4 and ICE have put immigrant workers in increased harm's way through the crisis. Immigrant and refugee groups such as RAICES in San Antonio are moving to get aid directly to immigrant families. Jumping in now is just the beginning.

In solidarity,
Chris Kutalik-Cauthern
Our Revolution Texas, Statewide Coordinator

From Greenpeace:

  The images and stories are heartbreaking.
Overcrowded shelters. Thousands stranded by floodwaters. Hazardous chemicals released from Gulf Coast oil facilities — the list seems endless. Hurricane Harvey has affected tens of thousands of lives, and we’re only at the beginning of finding out the full impact.

Over the past few days, it has been inspiring to see the response by community members, first responders, and frontline organizations to Hurricane Harvey. If there is hope in this ongoing crisis, it’s in being reminded that in times of great challenge, communities across the nation can be depended upon to show up and help. We are all in this together — that’s why it is so critical for the Greenpeace family to stand with people facing the storm’s impacts. Please consider offering what you can.

To find out ways you can help, visit this source for frontline-to-frontline direct resource and support mobilization from our friends at Another Gulf is Possible.

The human impacts of Hurricane Harvey have been staggering, and our greatest concern is for the people struggling in its aftermath. Coastal Texas and the wider Gulf region are on the frontlines of sea level rise and extreme weather heightened by climate change, as well as the toxic threats posed by fossil fuel infrastructure. We know that climate change made Harvey more deadly1. As global temperatures increase, sea level rise and extreme weather becomes an even bigger threat to communities at home and around the world.

Stopping the worst effects of climate change should be a top priority of the Trump administration. Instead, the administration refuses to even acknowledge the problem exists, is allowing more climate changing pollution, and is putting more communities in harm’s way2. Harvey shows that a policy of denial and willful ignorance results in structural injustice3. Poorer communities and people of color often have less means to evacuate, live in neighborhoods with worse flooding4, live closer to damaged fossil fuel facilities releasing hazardous chemicals5, and tend to have fewer resources for recovery, including backup housing and flood insurance6.

Trump and his enablers must be held accountable for not only refusing to do the basics to stop climate change in the future but also for refusing to protect coastal communities from the climate change-fueled disasters right now. We must continue our fight against the fossil fuel industry and the climate change-denying Trump Administration. And we must push for a different future — one built on clean, renewable energy with safe secure jobs. It’s not just important, it’s imperative, for people and the planet.

For people affected by this disastrous storm, a long, hard road lies ahead. We have to start now to ensure an equitable recovery, one that brings relief and comfort to all. If you have a few minutes, please visit this site to find out how you can help the communities affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Thank you for all your continued work to protect people and the environment.

Annie Leonard
Executive Director, Greenpeace USA

[1] https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/aug/28/climate-change-hurricane-harvey-more-deadly [2] https://insideclimatenews.org/news/25042017/donald-trump-climate-change-clean-power-plan-paris-agreement
[3] http://www.theroot.com/race-and-class-are-the-biggest-issues-around-hurricane-1798536183
[4] https://www.citylab.com/environment/2017/08/the-vulnerable-populations-in-harveys-path-mapped/538071/
[5] https://newrepublic.com/article/144513/hurricane-harvey-also-major-pollution-disaster
[6] http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2017/08/29/harvey_is_an_equal_opportunity_disaster_the_poor_won_t_be_left_behind_until.html


The tragedy of the devastating flooding from Hurricane Harvey has already cost dozens of lives, with tens of thousands of families flooded out of their homes, and hundreds of billions of dollars needed to help Houston and surrounding communities along the Texas-Louisiana Gulf Coast recover.

In addition, we have to think more broadly about the ravages of climate change. In the same week as Harvey, torrential rains have caused mudslides in Sierra Leone that have claimed more than 1,000 lives, and the worst monsoon storms in South Asia have resulted in flooding that has killed more than 1,200 people across India, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Twentieth century infrastructure is not equipped to handle this new climate reality, and our over-reliance on fossil fuels has only exacerbated the effects of a warming climate.

In times of global crisis, the United States has always striven to be a leader. The future of our planet is in peril, but we have the capacity to expand newly innovated technologies on a massive scale. Like Franklin Delano Roosevelt established the Tennessee Valley Authority at the height of the Great Depression to bring new technology to vast swathes of our country, creating millions of new jobs in the process, we need a modern day initiative to transition away from fossil fuels and embrace renewable energy.

Members of Congress like Senators Bernie Sanders and Jeff Merkley, Representatives Raul Grijalva, Tulsi Gabbard, Pramila Jayapal, and many others have introduced strong pieces of legislation to rapidly transition our economy off of fossil fuels to renewable energy. We must come together as one nation and one people by supporting these efforts and more—sign our petition demanding Congress act on climate now.
No matter an individual's party affiliation, global climate change is a crisis that demands cooperation and coordination amongst our political parties and the countries of the world.

We cannot predict natural disasters, but we can work to mitigate the worst effects of human-caused climate change. There is still time to act to ensure tragedies like we have seen in the Gulf Coast, Sierra Leone, South Asia, and regions around the world do not get worse.

Now is the time for change. Incrementalism is no longer a viable option. Your leadership in the global climate movement can help to ensure a better future.

In solidarity,

Jim Hightower
Board Member
Our Revolution


Climate Hawks Vote

Tell the Senate:
Stop Jim Bridenstine
Add your name »

Trump just nominated an anti-science climate denier to run NASA.

Jim Bridenstine is not a scientist. He’s a member of Congress with no experience in space. And he has an ugly history of anti-science rants. On the House floor in 2013, Bridenstine demanded President Obama apologize for dedicating federal resources to studying climate change, citing junk science and outright lies to justify his assertion that climate change isn't real. (It was warm once, before cars even existed!)

Add your nameBridenstine's nomination is already being criticized by the two senators from Florida, Marco Rubio and Bill Nelson, because NASA should be run by a scientist. Or, at the very least, someone who respects and listens to scientific fact rather than a career politician.

NASA’s earth sciences division is at the forefront of climate change research. NASA’s satellites provide critical data on matters such as Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The Trump regime has already cut back NASA's climate research. But Bridenstine would do much more damage to NASA and federal climate research.

Your fellow climate hawk,

RL Miller


  1. It's the height of irony - or a sign of divine retribution - to see that Trumpolini's seaside mansion in the Caribbean was struck by Hurricane Irma, and that it's now heading directly toward Mar-a-Largo...

    1. You'd hope it would be a wake up call to the idiot, but he'll probably just jump for joy at the big insurance check he'll receive for his ruined golf course resort and shed zero tears for the lost of life caused by the storm. What will it take to reach these climate deniers? Their money seems to knock all sense out of them and prevents them from learning anything worthwhile to save the planet.


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