So the election was a week ago today and as I am sure everyone who reads this (if anyone reads this) knows the Republicans made giant gains across the nation. There are thousands of pundits out there who will tell you who is to blame or who is responsible depending on their point of view. What they won’t tell you is if we as a civilization are boned yet. I am not sure but the early indications are not looking good.
In the lead up to the election the “Tea Party” made climate “skepticism” an “article of faith”. In fact all of the of the candidates for Senate that Sarah Palin endorsed where outright climate change deniers. Even the republican party platform recycles the tired old line that “the scope and long-term consequences of this (excess CO2) are the subject of ongoing scientific research”. One half of the republicans elected to the House of Representatives are at least what I would call extremely soft on the issue of Climate Change.
Since the election on Tuesday the Governors elect of Wisconsin and Ohio have already pressured the sitting governors to put the brakes on high-speed rail projects in those states. Not only hampering our first few steps toward curbing climate change but killing thousands of sorely needed jobs in old industrial states where not many other job prospects exist. John Shimkus and Joe Barton are both running for the republican chair of the house energy committee. The two of them are campaigning on how many hearings they will drag the head of the EPA in for. “Lisa Jackson would be in front of his Energy Committee so often that she would need a reserved parking spot at the Rayburn building”. And Karl Rove has been quoted saying “climate is gone” an unfortunate turn of phrase given the gravity of the situation.
The world is already locked in for several degrees of warming and there is no telling how much farther we can push the temperature before catastrophic feed backs are triggered. Some of those feed backs, melting permafrost and an ice-free arctic, are already starting to engage. The relatively minor changes global warming has caused so far have led to the worst drought in Russian history, the storm that hit the mid-west this fall spawning some Sixty One tornadoes and the jaw dropping floods in Pakistan.
So are we boned yet? The real answer is no one knows. The people I trust say no. They contend that there is still time to avoid the worst effects of climate change but that time is certainly running out quickly. Short story is we are not boned yet civilization still stands a slim chance of making it but things need to start changing and they need to start changing now. The obstruction of the republicans in the past has prevented any form of climate change legislation and now they hold one of the houses of congress again. Maybe if the republicans in congress get their way we will be able to tell our grandchildren about the 2010 election and how that was the year we finally boned the whole world… If we live that long.