The day the world went mad
By George Monbiot / guardian.co.uk
Sep 3, 2012

Yesterday was August 28th 2012. Remember that date. It marks the day when the world went raving mad.

Three things of note happened. The first is that a record Arctic ice melt had just been announced by the scientists studying the region. The 2012 figure has not only beaten the previous record, established in 2007. It has beaten it three weeks before the sea ice is likely to reach its minimum extent. It reveals that global climate breakdown is proceeding more rapidly than most climate scientists expected. But you could be forgiven for missing it, as it scarcely made the news at all.

Instead, in the UK, the headlines concentrated on the call by Tim Yeo, chair of the parliamentary energy and climate change committee, for a third runway at Heathrow. This sparked a lively debate in and beyond the media about where Britain's new runways and airports should be built. The question of whether they should be built scarcely arose. Just as rare was any connection between the shocking news from the Arctic and this determination to increase our emissions of greenhouse gases.

I wonder whether we could be seeing a form of reactive denial at work: people proving to themselves that there cannot be a problem if they can continue to discuss the issues in these terms.

The third event was that the Republican party in the United States began its national convention in Tampa, Florida – a day late. Why? Because of the anticipated severity of hurricane Isaac, which reached the US last night.

As Kevin Trenberth of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, noted earlier this year:

"Basic theory, climate model simulations, and empirical evidence all confirm that warmer climates, owing to increased water vapor, lead to more intense precipitation events even when the total annual precipitation is reduced slightly … all weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be."

(h/t: Joe Romm at Climate Progress)

The Republican party's leading lights either deny climate change altogether, or argue that people can adapt to whatever a changed climate may bring, so there's nothing to worry about.

The deluge of reality has had no impact on the party's determination to wish the physical world away. As Salon.com points out, most of the major figures lined up to speak at the convention deny that man-made climate change is happening.

When your children ask how and why it all went so wrong, point them to yesterday's date, and explain that the world is not led by rational people.

www.monbiot.com

0.0 ·
0
Trending Today
Every Town Needs a Remakery
Jeremy Williams37,390 views today ·
Stressed out? This Weird, Relaxing And Life-Affirming Video May Be Just What You Need
3 min29,860 views today ·
Revolution and American Indians: “Marxism is as Alien to My Culture as Capitalism”
Russell Means14,987 views today ·
Have We Been Denying Our Human Nature for Four Hundred Years?
Lynn Parramore12,852 views today ·
Capitalism and Communism - Two Economic Systems With the Same Goal
Chris Agnos6,741 views today ·
Without Saying a Word This 6 Minute Clip From Samsara Will Make You Speechless
6 min6,527 views today ·
This is One of the Most Powerful Music Videos Ever Made
5 min4,025 views today ·
David Graeber: We Need a Revolution in the Way We Think about "Work"
4 min3,493 views today ·
21St Century Bastards #Faketoys May Be the Best Thing on the Internet
Andrew Butler2,776 views today ·
Load More
New
Stressed out? This Weird, Relaxing And Life-Affirming Video May Be Just What You Need
3 min
21St Century Bastards #Faketoys May Be the Best Thing on the Internet
Andrew Butler
MP Says Government is Intentionally Making People Destitute to Prevent Organised Opposition
2 min
From the Politics of Division to the Politics of Humanity
Willy Mutunga
Capitalism and Communism - Two Economic Systems With the Same Goal
Chris Agnos
The Real Truth About Fake News
CrimethInc. Ex-Workers Collective
Sticky - Beautiful Animated Tale About a Remarkable Insect
19 min
Bright Spots - Stunning Animated Exploration of Island Conservation
8 min
Ending the Empathy Gap
Clio Chang
Load More
What's Next
Grow Heathrow: "Everythings Changing"
4 min
The Battle for the Arctic (2012)
24 min
Glenn Greenwald: Snowden's Journalist of Choice (2014)
32 min
Like us on Facebook?
The day the world went mad