Oceanfront Property

If you’re into this whole “climate change threatens coastal ecosystems” thing (and you should be, because, you know, science and all that), Climate Central has an interactive map that shows how sea-level rise could affect coastal areas.

Here’s Houston, Texas with a one-foot rise in sea levels:

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And here it is with a ten-foot rise: Continue reading


Climate Change Denial as Fraud

The Booman Tribune takes on Politico‘s assertions regarding “a new mocking tone that the president is adopting on the stump to ridicule science-denying Republicans.” What caught my eye, though, is the discussion of how climate-change deniers benefit, at least in the very short term, from denial:

Ultimately, what the Republicans are doing amounts to fraud. In the example of the Outer Banks of North Carolina, denying the predicted rate of sea level rise is a way to artificially boost your property values, which is a crime against the people who will unwittingly pay too much for a house that will be under water by the end of this century.

I think we can all understand the impulse to protect the value of your property in any way you can think of, but it’s still fraud. And, since the president can’t simply prosecute every example of fraudulent political speech, his only option is to make fun of it.

Property owners in the Outer Banks should be clamoring to talk to the president about what they can do to save their property so that their grandchildren might be able to enjoy it, but they’re more interested in preventing the state of North Carolina from officially recognizing the threat. That’s short-sighted and wrong. And that’s where the whole GOP is headed on this issue.

They have earned their mockery.

Some day, maybe soon, maybe less soon, at least some of those same landowners (and/or their heirs and successors) will come asking, possibly hat-in-hand, for help offsetting the loss of their by-then-literally-underwater properties. We will all bear some responsibility for that, but not the vast majority of it. The bulk of the responsibility will remain on the people who, today, are legitimate objects of mockery for their reality-denying ways.

This isn’t mockery done for any sort of fun, mind you, because the cost is too high. It’s the sort of mockery that is the only available response to those who are being foolish.


What I’m Reading, June 9, 2014

Does our and Obama’s Paralysis on Global Warming come from American Exceptionalism? William Espinosa, Informed Comment, June 6, 2014

The problem, I would suggest, goes deeper than the fossil fuel industry or the dysfunction of American politics. The phenomenon of climate change, I believe, challenges some core collective beliefs, provoking deeper anxieties. Consciously and unconsciously, fear drags on our intentions and clouds our thinking. “Fear is the mind-killer,” the Bene-Gesserit warned in Dune. To name a few now-in-doubt precepts:

1. Nations are sovereign within their borders.

2. The United States is an exceptional nation that can always prevail.

3. The US way of life is benign and benefits the world.

4. Consumption is the measure of economic growth and health.

5. God gave humans natural resources for enterprising individuals to exploit.

Frontier values and opportunities still endure.

At least on Earth, climate change threatens to make this last forever untrue and nine billion people can’t become American-type consumers. The United States can’t solve the climate problem at the nation-state level. Our activities have caused harm way beyond our borders and we need everyone’s help—even those whom we have harmed. “We are all Bangladeshi’s now,” as someone memorably put it.

NRA’s constitutional fraud: The truth behind the “right to bear arms”, Heather Digby Parton, Salon, June 2, 2014

Continue reading


What I’m Reading, May 12, 2014

By Vegas Bleeds Neon (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia CommonsSixteen Things Calvin and Hobbes Said Better Than Anyone Else, Edd McCracken, Book Riot, February 6, 2012

On life’s constant little limitations

Calvin: You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don’t help.

On expectations

Calvin: Everybody seeks happiness! Not me, though! That’s the difference between me and the rest of the world. Happiness isn’t good enough for me! I demand euphoria!


On the unspoken truth behind the education system

Calvin: As you can see, I have memorized this utterly useless piece of information long enough to pass a test question. I now intend to forget it forever. You’ve taught me nothing except how to cynically manipulate the system. Congratulations. Continue reading


Snow in Egypt

An historic snowfall in Cairo does not prove by itself that global warming is some sort of hoax, but that won’t stop certain people from saying so anyway. It is important to remember that at this point in history those people’s miscomprehension of climate science is a conscious choice on their part. Ed Brayton explains further.