By Dave Lindorff
One of the major talking points issued by the Republican Party to its newly elected members of Congress is that they should always say in interviews that they are worried about the impact of government deficit spending on their grandchildren.
It sounds good: "I'm worried about what continued deficits will mean for our grandchildren."
But it's a lie.
If these Congress members were genuinely worried about their grandchildren--and ours--they'd be doing something about putting the brakes on climate change, and that is not anywhere on the Republican agenda. In fact, most Republicans claim they don't even believe in climate change.
Forget that the city of Norfolk, VA, is getting ready to give up on its coastal residents, because the sea is moving in on their homes. The state's attorney general may be trying to develop a fraud case against one global warming scientist at the University of Virginia, but the townsfolk of Norfolk, and their elected government, have seen the future and have pretty much decided that trying to build barricades to keep out the rising ocean would be throwing money down a rathole. They know that the ocean is going to keep on rising.
Note: The oceans of the world have risen nearly seven inches since 1870, and over the last decade the pace of rise has doubled over earlier years. It is now predicted that instead of rising another foot or two over the rest of this century, as predicted only a few years back, we can expect to see sea levels rise by six or seven feet by the end of the century. But even that prediction may end up being far too conservative. The pace of melting of the ice cap over Greenland keeps accelerating way beyond what scientists had predicted. The same is true of the west Antarctic ice. If both those ice masses were to melt away, the sea would rise by a total of 36 feet, which would pretty much drown New York, London, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore, most of Holland and Bangladesh, and the Florida peninsula.
The earlier predictions of the pace of climate change did not factor in methane from the polar regions, but it is now becoming apparent that the permafrost regions that cover most of Siberia and much of northern Alaska and Canada have been entombing billions of tons of frozen methane, and now as the frozen ground starts to thaw for the first time in tens of thousands of years, that methane, which is 20-25 times as potent a global warming gas as carbon dioxide, is being released. Lakes in Siberia and Alaska are now releasing methane so rapidly that it reportedly looks like some of them are a-boil. Methane releases in the arctic have jumped by a third over the past five years, and will continue to increase rapidly, dramatically speeding the pace of climate change around the globe and particularly in the arctic, which is bad news for the remaining ice up there.