July 20, 2012

#Drought — Obama should call red states out on climate change

He's got leverage in this huge drought, which has led the federal government to declare one-third of the nation's counties disaster areas and therefore eligible for relief of some sort.

We've already gotten statistical research indicating global warming made last year's Texas drought more likely, and we're learning more and more about details of climatic tipping points.

Add in that much of the area affected by drought is at least "reddish" in American political terms, and President Barack Obama has his opportunity.

No big federal disaster relief for all these counties until red-state Congressmen and Senators get real about global warming.

Of course, even if this weren't an election year, Dear Leader wouldn't do that. But, he should.

Because, as Bill McKibben has noted in his hard-hitting new piece in Rolling Stone, the clock is REALLY ticking. The 2-degree Celsius change that climate scientists were hoping to avoid? Sorry, that's already cooked in the bag. Even 3C probably is. The worry now is that we might have a 5-6 degree change, or 10 degrees Fahrenheit, by the end of the century.

That said, McKibben notes that, especially since the midterm elections, Dear Leader has been more of the problem than the solution.

This would be a golden opportunity for a truly liberal president to have some cojones, and do the political equivalent of a Thomas Kuhn scientific paradigm change. There's so much to fight — fossil fuels, A/C electric use feedback from the heat, and more.

And, it's not being fought.

Meanwhile, can "nudges" work to change people's thinking, and inertia? Possibly, argues one columnist, though we should note this only applies to people with some inertia on the issue, not denialists.

David Leonhardt, meanwhile, says we should be optimistic about not just the U.S., but the world, adequately addressing these issues. I often agree with his columns, but, to be honest, I think he's smoking something this time.

The amount of electric power to get us using more full electric vehicles, or at least plug-in hybrids, is going to be massive. Even more so for China and India as more people want cars. And, while that cuts down on oil drilling, it increases mining for materials for the batteries.

More thoughts of mine on red-state farmers, drought and global warming here.

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