Climate change is here

July 29, 2012 by Peter · Leave a Comment 

If this clip depicting 131 years of global warming in 26 seconds doesn’t jolt the world to action, it’s hard to imagine what will:

The ugly truth about climate denial

May 18, 2011 by Peter · Leave a Comment 

Little should surprise us in a world where intolerable injustices are widely ignored, from preventable hunger, poverty and disease to irreversible environmental destruction to the global oppression of girls and women; where wealth disparities are at record levels and wealthy bankers are bailed out by the people they’ve bankrupted; where huge corporations pay no taxes and get subsidized by the public; where a war based on lies and deceptions that resulted in unimaginable carnage is heralded as a success; where the assault on basic rights and liberties is greeted with a yawn — if not a cheer; where sports games arouse more passion and emotion than a million babies dying; where a minor celebrity infraction receives more attention than an epidemic of sexual violence in which young girls have their insides shredded with broken bottles and sticks of wood.

In this atmosphere of denial and self-destruction, few things capture the zeitgeist better than the American right’s reckless dismissal of climate change:

Late last week, the nation’s pre-eminent scientific advisory group, the National Research Council arm of the National Academy of Sciences, issued a report called “America’s Climate Choices.” As scientific reports go, its key findings were straightforward and unequivocal: “Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by human activities, and poses significant risks to humans and the environment.” Among those risks in the USA: more intense and frequent heat waves, threats to coastal communities from rising sea levels, and greater drying of the arid Southwest.

Coincidentally, USA TODAY’s Dan Vergano reported Monday, a statistics journal retracted a federally funded study that had become a touchstone among climate-change deniers. The retraction followed complaints of plagiarism and use of unreliable sources, such as Wikipedia. Taken together, these developments ought to leave the deniers in the same position as the “birthers,” who continue to challenge President Obama’s American citizenship — a vocal minority that refuses to accept overwhelming evidence.

Here are the facts:

The more carbon that gets released into the atmosphere, the higher the average temperature rises. That’s a scientific fact. Human activities, such as driving, flying, building and even turning on the lights, are the biggest contributor to the release of carbon. That too, is a fact.

Yet millions of Americans, including most Republican officials, are in absolute denial.

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Rape charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

August 21, 2010 by Peter · Leave a Comment 

The Wikileaks saga has taken a bizarre turn with this:

A Swedish tabloid says an arrest warrant has been issued for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on suspicion of rape, and officials have issued a statement “confirming media reports.”  The prosecutor’s office in Stockholm “confirms media reports that a foreign citizen has been arrested in absentia” but doesn’t name Assange.

As I emphasized with the Al Gore case [he was subsequently cleared by authorities], we should never dismiss rape, sexual assault or molestation accusations out of hand. Far too often there’s a culture of shaming, blaming, marginalizing and ignoring victims. Still, Assange has pissed off some very powerful people and this will raise questions. Oliver Willis simply writes “hm.”

Look for others to do the same.

UPDATE: Yet another twist:

Sweden has canceled an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on accusations of rape and molestation.

UPDATE II: Here we go again:

The rape case involving WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is being reopened, Swedish prosecutors said Wednesday.

“There is reason to believe that a crime has been committed,” read a statement from Marianne Ny, Sweden’s director of public prosecutions. “Considering information available at present, my judgment is that the classification of the crime is rape.”