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Climate change doesn't care if you believe in climate change
Despite a depressing moment during the GOP debate last week, the truth is evident and the denials are bought and paid for. Keep up the good work!
I mean, don’t get me wrong, it was a jarring sight. During last week’s Republican presidential debate, the moderators asked the candidates to raise their hands if they “believe” humans are responsible for climate change. Not a hand went up.
This was followed by a chorus of “we’re doomed,” and I will confess to having some of those feelings myself. But here’s the thing. It’s all BS. None of them actually think this, and most of them are almost certainly trying to figure out a way to back out of this position, Homer Simpson style.
In fact, I would posit that the sheer amount of conversation about climate change at the GOP debate, aired on Fox News, at a time when climate change has hardly even come up in an actual presidential debate since about 2008, is all you need to know at this point. It’s inescapable that we’re in a climate crisis. The waters are rising, the smoke is filling the air, Lahaina lies in ruins, the heat index in the midwest is a full-on inescapable wet bulb, Texas is about to lose power all over again, and so on and on and on and on. At this point, any opinion to the contrary has been purchased outright by fossil fuel money.
In the case of Vivek Ramaswamy (of whom I hope never to speak again, frankly), the purchase is direct, large, obvious, and right out there in the open—thank you to Semafor and Heated for compiling the receipts.
Let me go ahead and restate this, in case you’re wondering whether Ramaswamy really thinks there’s a climate hoax. He has $50 million in holdings in a fund whose largest fund is called DRLL, and DRLL is 93.6% invested in oil, gas, pipelines, and companies related to oil, gas, and pipelines.
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Progress is not a straight line, and this money will keep talking for a long time. But Ramaswamy drew outright boos with his full-throated climate denial. Republicans may play coy for a lot more years, because there’s still a lot of lobbying money floating around, and that’s truly a shame because doubling down on extinction is a bad look for anyone. But people know better. Here’s how Kim Stanley Robinson put it, in the latest episode of Futureverse, my podcast on climate fiction with Ramanan Raghavendran:
…the climate deniers who are left are crawling towards the exits. They will no longer say it except in certain sheltered media spaces of their own, echo chambers where no one's challenging them. They won't say that in the open light of day and in another five years, nobody will deny climate change. They will have shifted grounds to, oh, well, it wasn't our fault or there's nothing we can do about it or, oh, of course we have to do something about it. I said that all along. The various escape hatches for people who have been drastically wrong.
The news from last week’s debate isn’t that no candidate was willing to raise a hand to confess that humans have caused the dramatic warming that’s resulting in increasingly unpredictable weather events, 100-degree oceans, and a six-sigma-event-level decrease in Antarctic ice cover. It’s that these candidates were asked about climate change multiple times and no one, not even in that room, genuinely thinks it’s a hoax.
Sometimes change isn’t evident when you’re in the middle of it, but trust me. We are.
I know I’ve been remiss with this newsletter, so as a bonus while I get back on the horse thanks to the return of a predictable schedule (aka, school is back in session), I’ll have another newsletter for you Sunday based on this week’s episode of Everybody in the Pool, which is all about going vegan for climate reasons. I was planning to write about it in this edition, but it’s already garnering such great conversation and information that I want to give it a proper airing! Keep an eye out for that and I hope you enjoy the episode.
Before I go, let’s celebrate some …
Apple now supports California’s right-to-repair bill! As we talked about back in Episode 7, hanging on to your old gear for as long as you can, especially electronics, is a really, really good thing to do, and Apple in particular has long blocked consumer efforts to repair and replace parts in their phones, laptops, and tablets. This is a big shift, and a big victory for the Right to Repair movement. Next stop: federal rules!?
As always, thanks for listening, thanks for reading, and back on Sunday! Send your thoughts and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and talk soon.