Bet the Farm Gamble … when being wrong means everyone loses everything and being right puts more bucks in a few rich pockets
What is the issue of our time?
What is the issue that cannot be stopped by a wall. The issue that cannot be controlled by any … or even all … military forces. The issue bigger than ISIS and every other form of terrorism. The issue that could steal the future from our children and grandchildren. The issue that destabilizes governments, puts food and water supplies at risk, threatens the survival of all life on our planet.
There is only one issue that can destroy everything: Climate Change. It should be bringing us together … us meaning the entire world. And yet, we are swatting at gnats, gagging at middle-of-the-night tweets, obsessing over who uses which bathroom, trying to control kittens while the thermometer rises toward extinction.
We, the world, are making the biggest gamble imaginable, a bet-the-farm gamble. And, the worst part is that most of us don’t even acknowledge the fact that we’re in the game, that this is our game just as much as it is Exxon-Mobile’s and the Koch Brothers’.
Today, April 23, 2017, the world just breached another carbon-dioxide milestone, one that scientists predicted would happen this year, one that hasn’t happened in millions of years. Global warming is a fact that affects every living being on this planet, yet most of us are still sitting on the sidelines as if watching a tennis match between scientists and climate deniers.
The scientists are almost uniformly in agreement that the planet is warming due to the increased level of carbon dioxide, a level caused, in large part, by human activities. Yet the deniers sow doubt and confusion and attack the findings of science. And, we let them.
The broad scientific agreement is that we are headed toward an environmental cataclysm that could end life as we know it on this planet … currently, the only planet available to us. And yet, there is still a hard core group of deniers, in the United States, primarily conservative Republicans.
For some strange reason, I always thought being conservative meant being very careful about taking risks. However, this group of conservatives seems to be willing to bet everything they have … as well as everything all the rest of us have … on the possibility that climate change is not “real.” They are willing to toss our planet onto the roulette wheel betting that 97% of environmental scientists are not right, that more carbon dioxide in our air and water won’t matter.
Yesterday, thousands, probably millions, of people around the world marched in the name of science and facts. However, those people were the choir singing to the choir, the ones who already believe in science and facts and the undeniable fact that global warming is happening.
The people who deny climate change, of course, were not out there marching. Here’s what I would like to know from the deniers: Even if you sincerely doubt climate change data, are you willing to gamble your future and the future of the world on your belief that the overwhelming scientific agreement on climate change is wrong?
Question for deniers: I don’t understand gambling on this all-or-nothing level. What if you’re wrong? What do you gain if you’re right? A few dollars? Bragging rights?
Where’s our insurance? Why can’t all of us think about what’s happening in our environment in the same way we think about the insurance that’s part of our everyday life? Each year we buy insurance for our homes and cars even though we don’t really believe our houses will burn or that we’ll be in an accident. We at least acknowledge the possibility of a loss so we forego a few dinners out in order to sleep a little better at night.
But, how do we sleep at night now when a self-proclaimed business man is burning all our insurance policies: gutting the EPA, rolling back environmental regulations, denying even the possibility of an environmental crisis? Most businesses have risk management departments or processes to mitigate catastrophic losses. However, there is no insurance policy that will cover our planet, no way to cash in or buy a new one if we trash this one.
If we’re willing to budget for insurance to protect our assets and health against major losses, why aren’t we willing to do what we can to prevent a cataclysmic possibility that almost all scientists tell us is headed our way?
Who benefits from denial? Are the deniers truly willing to bet their children and grandchildren’s future in order to increase profits for fossil fuel interests? Wouldn’t it be a good thing to know who’s benefiting from denying climate change before we steal the future from our children?
It’s time to stop letting billionaires and oil companies gamble with our future. This is our planet as well as theirs. And, if they’re wrong (and the vast bulk of scientific research and thought says they are), all of us lose everything. It’s time for ALL of us to take responsibility for this issue. We need to demand protection and action … now!
Follow the money: In this age of free access to information, when anyone can claim anything, we all have to become skeptics and probably the first question is … What does the person or organization making their claims against climate change stand to gain … or lose? It is almost always related to money or power, and generally short-term individual (or small group) gain rather than long-term greater good. The first place to look is the fossil fuel industry and any profit-oriented participant in that industry. In other words, corporations and the politicians that are supported by them.
It is common knowledge that the Koch Brothers, oil men, have spent a lot of money fighting global warming initiatives. Greenpeace reports: the Koch Brothers have sent at least $100,343,292 directly to 84 groups denying climate change science since 1997. One might want to know what’s in it for them. Here’s where some of that money went according to the Union of Concerned Scientists:
American Enterprise Institute — The American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has routinely tried to undermine the credibility of climate science, despite at times affirming that the “weight of the evidence” justifies “prudent action” on climate change. AEI received $3,615,000 from ExxonMobil from 1998–2012, and more than $1 million in funding from Koch foundations from 2004–2011.
Americans for Prosperity — AFP has its origins in a group founded in 1984 by fossil fuel billionaires Charles and David Koch, and the latter Koch still serves on AFP Foundation’s board of directors. Richard Fink, executive vice president of Koch Industries, also serves as a director for both AFP and AFP Foundation. Koch foundations donated $3,609,281 to AFP Foundation from 2007–2011.
American Legislative Exchange Council — The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) maintains that “global climate change is inevitable,” yet since the 1990s has pushed various forms of model legislation aimed at obstructing policies intended to reduce global warming emissions. ALEC received more than $1.6 million from ExxonMobil from 1998–2012 and more than $850,000 from Koch foundations from 1997–2011.
Heartland Institute — While claiming to stand up for “sound science,” the Heartland Institute has routinely spread misinformation about climate science, including deliberate attacks on climate scientists. Heartland received more than $675,000 from ExxonMobil from 1997–2006. Heartland also raked in millions from the Koch-funded organization Donors Trust through 2011.
Heritage Foundation — While maintaining that “Science should be used as one tool to guide climate policy,” the Heritage Foundation often uses rhetoric such as “far from settled” to sow doubt about climate science. Heritage received more than $4.5 million from Koch foundations from 1997–2011. ExxonMobil contributed $780,000 to the Heritage Foundation from 2001–2012. ExxonMobil continues to provide annual contributions to the Heritage Foundation, despite making a public pledge in 2007 to stop funding climate contrarian groups.
The Guardian.com says denying climate change isn’t scepticism — it’s ‘motivated reasoning’ … meaning deniers have a vested interest in their denial of the facts.
https://www.skepticalscience.com/ reports that on April 23, 2017, the world just breached another carbon-dioxide milestone, one that scientists predicted would happen this year, one that hasn’t happened in millions of years.