"The Tragedy of the Commons": how ecofascism was smuggled into mainstream thought

Garrett Hardin's 1968 Science essay "The Tragedy of the Commons" is one of the most widely assigned readings in the past ten years' worth of university syllabi; notionally, it describes how property that is held in common is prone to overuse and exhaustion, while privatization creates an owner who has an incentive to serve as a wise steward over the resource. Read the rest

A new biography reveals the Koch brothers' very early role in creating organized climate denial

The Koch brothers are quite an enigma: on the one hand, they owe their vast fortune to extremely long-range planning: Charles Koch is famously contemptuous of entrepreneurs who take their companies public, believing that the public markets insist on such short timescales that they undermine real growth; and he grew his father's hydrocarbon empire by investing heavily in automation systems with extremely long amortization schedules. Read the rest

Trump's new climate czar has repeatedly and unrepentantly compared efforts to reduce CO2 to Hitler's slaughter of 6,000,000 Jews

William Happer -- a physicist and former Princeton professor -- already serves on Trump's National Security Council as deputy assistant for emerging technologies; but now he's been promoted to chair of a climate review panel charged with discrediting the National Climate Assessment. Read the rest

Paolo Bacigalupi's "A Full Life": climate apocalypse with a side of intergenerational warfare and science denial

Paolo Bacigalupi's (previously) A Full Life is a new short story in MIT Technology Review that traces the hard young life of Rue, whose family has to move and move again as climate disasters destroy the places they try to make their homes: the water for their ecologically sound farm dries up, then Austin becomes unlivable when heatwaves spike rolling blackouts, then Miami is washed off the map by a string of floods that overwhelm the levees built to "American standards" that were cooked by US oil lobbyists, and then life in New York comes to an end when a global financial crisis wipes out the last family member with any money -- an uncle who was an investment banker who ends up losing all the money he made shorting Miami when the crash comes. Read the rest

Peak Indifference: are we reaching climate's denial/nihilism tipping point?

I use the idea of peak indifference to describe the moment when activists no longer have to try to convince people that a problem is real (the problem does that itself, by ruining ever-more-people's lives), and then the job switched to convincing people that it's not too late to do something about it (if the day you finally decide to take rhino population declines seriously is the day they announce there's only one rhino left, there's a powerful temptation to shoot that rhino and find out what it tastes like). Read the rest

Study suggests that Flat Eartherism spread via Youtube

The rise in a belief that the Earth is flat is bizarre and somewhat frightening, a repudiation of one of the most basic elements of scientific consensus. Texas Tech University psych researcher Asheley R. Landrum attended a 2017 flat earth convention and interviewed 30 attendees to trace the origins of their belief in a flat earth, finding that Youtube videos were key to their journey into conspiracy theories; her findings were bolstered by a survey of more than 500 participants. Read the rest

How to think about climate change and "cost-benefit analysis"

Some climate deniers go beyond arguing that climate change isn't real; rather, they argue that adapting to climate change is cheaper than preventing it, and it's a fool's errand to spend money on a Green New Deal, when we could continue to burn fossil fuels and simply relocate everyone who gets flooded out, figure out how to grow crops in new places, come up with medicines to treat new epidemics, etc. Read the rest

Words, but not deeds: the Democrats as climate-deniers

Oh, sure, the Democratic leadership says it takes climate change seriously, but that same leadership has sidelined the Green New Deal and gutted the climate committee, replacing it with a lame-duck committee led and staffed by beneficiaries of big energy sector dollars. Read the rest

Google, Facebook and Microsoft were the top sponsors of a conference that featured climate change denial kooks

Libertycon is the annual conference of Students for Liberty, a libertarian youth group, held in DC; at this year's conference, Google was the $25,000 platinum sponsor, while Facebook and Microsoft were each $10,000 sponsors. Read the rest

Blame billionaires for climate change

70% of global emissions come from 100 companies: Koch Industries' annual carbon emissions bill is 24 million tons. Read the rest

Record numbers of Americans believe climate change is real, and a majority understand that humans are to blame

Amidst a global heatwave, some good news from the National Surveys on Energy and the Environment: a record-setting 73% of Americans believe that climate change is real and 60% believe humans are "at least partially responsible" for this fact. It's the peak indifference moment, when the fight shifts from convincing people that there is a problem to convincing them that it's not too late to do something about it. Read the rest

Which American cities have lowest herd immunity due to anti-vaxxers?

Parents of Seattle, Spokane, Portland, Phoenix, Salt Lake City, Provo, Houston, Fort Worth, Austin, Plano, Detroit, Troy, Warren, Kansas City and Pittsburgh: beware. Read the rest

Tax-funded charter schools textbooks deny evolution, teach human-dinosaur cohabitation, endorse slavery and indigenous genocide

2,000 US schools use textbooks from Abeka, BJU Press and Accelerated Christian Education (ACE), including tax-funded charter schools across America; students who learn from these texts are taught that God wanted Protestantism to flourish in North America and that Catholocism is not a true faith; that it was better Africans to be enslaved and come to "know Christ" than to be free but not Christian; that evolution is untrue; that humans and dinosaurs lived together (and that Noah brought baby dinosaurs on the ark); that the Loch Ness monster is real; that "abortion, gay rights and the Endangered Species Act" are part of a "radical social agenda"; that nonwhites are inferior (60% of the tax-funded scholarship students at charter schools come from racialized minorities and are thus taught that they are racially inferior to their white schoolmates). Read the rest

Trump wants you to elect Net Neutrality's biggest hater to the Senate

To call Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn [R-TN] a shill for Big Cable is to insult honest, hardworking shills everywhere: she is so deep in hock to Verizon that she has toshill for new subscribers on weekends at a folding table on the sidewalk in front of the Grand Old Opry. Read the rest

Scott Pruitt's EPA has opened secret backchannels to the climate denial industry to find "scientists" and other "experts"

The Environmental Defense Fund and the Southern Environmental Law Center sued the EPA to force it to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request for access to emails to and from thinktanks associated with the climate denial industry like the Heartland Institute, Plants Need CO2, The Right Climate Stuff, and Junk Science. Read the rest

Profiles of flat earthers: report from the front lines of weaponized media literacy

Tom Usher went to a flat earth conference in Birmingham, England; he met an array of people who believe that the Earth is flat, because they believe that powerful people have conspired to control the information they receive in order to secure benefits for the elite, and this belief (which has a wealth of evidence to support it!) has been weaponized by crackpots and cynical manipulators to convince them the world is flat (despite the wealth of evidence against this!). Read the rest

Pentagon sucks up to Trump by censoring mentions of climate change in its global risks assessment

In 2016, the Pentagon released a draft of its comprehensive global risk assessment; this climate change as a driver of global instability and possible conflict. The final draft replaces "climate change" with weak-kneed, cowardly euphemisms like "extreme weather," failing to attribute this weather to anthropogenic climate change, a matter of scientific consensus which Donald Trump has stated is a "Chinese plot." Read the rest

More posts