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Backwaters Ho!


A climate accord. Uh oh.

I didn’t think anything would come of it, did you? I’m referring to the meeting in Lima, Peru, on climate change.

On Sunday nearly 200 nations, including the United States, committed to create plans to reduce the fossil fuel emissions that cause global warming. After nearly 20 years of fruitless meetings, suddenly we have a breakthrough. And to quote Ophelia in Hamlet:  “Oh, woe is me, T’ have seen what I have seen, see what I see!”

Why? Because finally just as virtually the entire world is mobilizing to address the threat of climate change, Americans have put ourselves into the grip of the Republican Party. Its ideology relative to this matter is one fundamentally of denial: This whole thing is a conspiracy among scientists worldwide and small businesses like, uh, that recycling company in Albuquerque.

So as the new Republican members of Congress move into their quarters, they will soon be meeting with their elders on how to scuttle any regulations beyond those President Obama has already enacted to cut emissions. That’s going to be kind of embarrassing, isn’t it? Internationally, I mean.

Well, maybe not to everybody. And now a slight detour.

Washington Back When

Washington Back When

Of course the Republican Party is going to try also to gain control over the White House in 2016, so there is a scrabbling for attention among potential candidates for the presidency. Amazingly enough, they now have something in common with Vladimir Putin. He has openly ridiculed the idea that humans have anything to do with climate change, and he plans to defy international opinion. Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz are probably already making travel plans to arrange a photo-op.

After all, Putin is very macho. And that’s what we’ve been needing, right? Some macho in the White House instead of all that thinking. Someone who will tell the whole world to go screw itself: We’ll do whatever we please, whenever we please, and however we please, just like Putin.

And anyway, right now everything is really okay, climate-wise, right? Drought happens. Storms happen. Nothing serious. Oh, but there is this thing going on in Maine. The paper also reports that the Gulf of Maine’s waters are warming faster than almost any ocean on earth, and the cod population has collapsed. Now regulations have idled fishermen for six months at least.

Many are now indigent, and of course they are frustrated, angry, and frightened. Some are saying that scientists and environmentalists are colluding to create a crisis to justify their jobs. Maybe the cod are in on this too, not just seeking refuge in cooler, deeper waters out of reach. Wimp cods. Can’t stand a little heat.

I’m going to stay on this, of course. I used to be a Republican, but I defected when I became uncomfortable with the far righteous drift. It felt as though a finger were emerging to wag in my face, which made another finger on my own hand itchy. And with regard to the opinion of scientists on global warming, I’ve always respected their knowledge, as in being able to go to the moon and all. It’s hard to understand how they could suddenly have gone clueless.

So we’ll see, and maybe this won’t be as bad as I think. But the more intellectual and scientific thought the majority in this country dismisses, the more likely we are to experience the scorn and dismay of a world that once saw us as a great leader. I would hate to be a member of the party that navigated the ship of state into the backwaters of history. Frustrated as I am, however, I know there are many very intelligent Republicans. Reasons to modify ideology are dawning rapidly, and they will see the light.




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