Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Without the Paris Accords, Global Warming Promises Better Times Ahead!

While world leaders and the Sierra Club denounce President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate change agreement, look on the bright side. A decade ago one of the nation’s leading science guys sounded like Donald Trump when he  challenged environmental pessimists on the issue of global warming. Could he have been right?

It’s been ten long years since NASA’s then director Michael Griffin sounded like our current president when he dismissed the concerns of environmentalists over global warming.  Although he later backpedaled, claiming he misspoke, Griffin’s analysis elicited a responsive chord across the political spectrum. Today, Griffin would probably find a spot on a Trump pro-global warming task force.

Consider these gems!  While agreeing that “a trend of global warming exists,” Griffin discounted its seriousness: “I’m not sure that it’s a problem we must wrestle with.” You can almost imagine Griffin as Trump’s point man on climate change.

More than that, Griffin suggested that global warming may have positive benefits for mankind.  He argued that it’s “rather arrogant” to assume that the current climate is the optimum one. “Which human beings, where and when, are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have here today, right now, is the best climate for all other human beings?”

That raised some interesting possibilities.  Assume that both political parties agree with Griffin that a hotter temperature is not necessarily a bad thing.  Republicans envision a challenge that proves the necessity of private enterprise. Democrats foresee an excuse to extend governmental power. At that point the thermometer replaces illegal immigration and the war on terror as the touchstones of American politics.

Republican and Democratic strategists hunker down in an effort to determine what the worldwide optimum temp ought to be.  Hard rock conservatives, prodded by the religious right, want to let Mother Nature take her course.  They see God’s hand in all this, and know that in the end all will be right with the world.

On the other hand, mainstream Republicans will want to nudge the whole warming process along with some aid from Washington if the private sector can benefit from a warmer climate.  How a jurist stands on the constitutionality of state laws hindering a temperature rise will become their litmus test for supreme court appointments.

Or perhaps Republican Neocons will win out.  A “war on warming” could be just the ticket for a sluggish economy.  Billions spent on creating an artificial heat shield over North America will line the pockets of Halliburton, Boeing and related aero-space corporations.  But the president and Trump-style conservative penny-pincher’s, Minute Men and most right-wing talk show hosts will deplore spending their tax dollars to protect Mexico.

Since an increase in world temperature means rising sea waters and flooding of coastal locations, it will start a new debate over rebuilding New Orleans.  Democrats will rush to move the entire port a few miles inland, preferably to a small burg on the Mississippi River, the hometown of Louisiana’s most powerful Democratic congressman.

“Recovered environmentalists” will change from pessimists to optimists. They’ll predict that melting ice caps on Greenland and Antarctica will open vast new areas for agriculture just as population growth threatens to outpace agricultural production.  The effect will parallel the opening of the Missouri Valley and Australian wheat fields in the 19th century, which stimulated both economic growth and population expansion.

Huge areas now too cold for farming in the northern hemisphere will gradually come under cultivation, further increasing the world’s food supply. An iceless Greenland could feed half the world. The loss of farmland in overheated equatorial regions will have little effect since those places have been in turmoil for centuries and have provided only a small portion of the world’s foodstuffs.

In the end, Griffin’s gaffe may turn out to be a Godsend. Al – “An Inconvenient Truth” – Gore’s next documentary could be entitled “A Fortuitous Misstatement.”

More articles by:

Ralph E. Shaffer is professor emeritus of history at Cal Poly Pomona. reshaffer@cpp.edu

October 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
The Middle East, Not Russia, Will Prove Trump’s Downfall
Ipek S. Burnett
The Assault on The New Colossus: Trump’s Threat to Close the U.S.-Mexican Border
Mary Troy Johnston
The War on Terror is the Reign of Terror
Maximilian Werner
The Rhetoric and Reality of Death by Grizzly
David Macaray
Teamsters, Hells Angels, and Self-Determination
Jeffrey Sommers
“No People, Big Problem”: Democracy and Its Discontents In Latvia
Dean Baker
Looking for the Next Crisis: the Not Very Scary World of CLOs
Binoy Kampmark
Leaking for Change: ASIO, Jakarta, and Australia’s Jerusalem Problem
Chris Wright
The Necessity of “Lesser-Evil” Voting
Muhammad Othman
Daunting Challenge for Activists: The Cook Customer “Connection”
Don Fitz
A Debate for Auditor: What the Papers Wouldn’t Say
October 22, 2018
Henry Giroux
Neoliberalism in the Age of Pedagogical Terrorism
Melvin Goodman
Washington’s Latest Cold War Maneuver: Pulling Out of the INF
David Mattson
Basket of Deplorables Revisited: Grizzly Bears at the Mercy of Wyoming
Michelle Renee Matisons
Hurricane War Zone Further Immiserates Florida Panhandle, Panama City
Tom Gill
A Storm is Brewing in Europe: Italy and Its Public Finances Are at the Center of It
Suyapa Portillo Villeda
An Illegitimate, US-Backed Regime is Fueling the Honduran Refugee Crisis
Christopher Brauchli
The Liars’ Bench
Gary Leupp
Will Trump Split the World by Endorsing a Bold-Faced Lie?
Michael Howard
The New York Times’ Animal Cruelty Fetish
Alice Slater
Time Out for Nukes!
Geoff Dutton
Yes, Virginia, There are Conspiracies—I Think
Daniel Warner
Davos in the Desert: To Attend or Not, That is Not the Question
Priti Gulati Cox – Stan Cox
Mothers of Exiles: For Many, the Child-Separation Ordeal May Never End
Manuel E. Yepe
Pence v. China: Cold War 2.0 May Have Just Begun
Raouf Halaby
Of Pith Helmets and Sartorial Colonialism
Dan Carey
Aspirational Goals  
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail