[GWSG] A subtle Matrix; alarming article; needlessly so?; needful alarm; useless system?; under a test

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Tue Aug 2 09:44:03 EDT 2022

1. Matrix is a political consulting firm which Florida Power & Light has paid millions to fight the development of renewable energy in Florida; Matrix has been similarly involved in protecting fossil fuel profits in at least seven other states. Their records are coming to light because of an internal feud. “In Florida, Matrix’s work touched almost every level of politics, from influencing local mayoral and county commission elections to combating attempts to reshape the state constitution. In each of those cases, Matrix was working against politicians or policies fighting to curb climate crisis by encouraging renewable power.”  https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/27/leaked-us-leaked-power-companies-spending-profits-stop-clean-energy

2. Bill McGuire, an emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, calculates in his forthcoming book Hothouse Earth: An Inhabitant’s Guide that soon, “barring some sort of miracle,” we will pass 1.5C of heating and reach the point at which we must both adapt to a deteriorating climate and make every effort to mitigate further heating. “The world needs to know how bad things are going to get before we can hope to start to tackle the crisis.” “Most other” scientists believe that it is still possible to halt the progress of heating. McGuire finished his book at the end of 2021; events since have confirmed him in his position.   Ed Brock sends the story. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/jul/30/total-climate-meltdown-inevitable-heatwaves-global-catastrophe

3. Michael Mann and Bill McGuire criticize The Guardian’s sensational doomer headline and lede. McGuire wants to spur people to action, not scare them to death. It is a general problem of the moment—how to discuss a grave situation without feeding despair, denial, Nazi nostalgia, survivalist fantasies, or other reactions which lead us yet further away from effective action. As McGuire says in the Guardian article,“This is a call to arms. So if you feel the need to glue yourself to a motorway or blockade an oil refinery, do it. Drive an electric car or, even better, use public transport, walk or cycle. Switch to a green energy tariff; eat less meat. Stop flying; lobby your elected representatives at both local and national level; and use your vote wisely to put in power a government that walks the talk on the climate emergency.” (I protest that gluing yourself to a motorway is not an effective stratagem.)  https://climatecrocks.com/2022/07/31/how-headlines-promote-climate-hopelessness/

4. An article in PNAS maintains that we have paid too little attention to the utterly catastrophic possibilities of the climate crisis. “We know least about the scenarios that matter most.” The Guardian’s headline “Climate endgame: risk of human extinction ‘dangerously underexplored’” is only honest—that is really what the article is about. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/aug/01/climate-endgame-risk-human-extinction-scientists-global-heating-catastrophe

5. Oil and gas company profits are soaring even as the climate’s symptoms become more alarming. “The fossil fuel industry as a whole is not just another business, providing a service to meet a demand; it is a predatory drug dealer that works every day to keep the world addicted to its poisonous product, knowing full well that it will eventually prove fatal.” It’s them or us. The author argues that the same political system constructed by the corporations is inadequate to the task of controlling it. It will surely help us free remedies if we know the ways and methods of the poisonous influence.   https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2022/aug/02/oil-industry-record-profits-climate-crisis

6. The drama in the senate this week over the Inflation Reduction Act (the mini-Build Back Better act) illustrates the concerns of this news list. The fossil fuel industry, through its massive network of influence (item 1), has been able to block a climate bill so far. Growing evidence of the gravity and immediacy of the threat posed by the climate crisis (items 2, 3, and 4) has evoked public pressure sufficient to produce the IRA, diluted as it is and fraught with sops to the fossil corporations. Can the system carry through with a bill which will give us a chance to escape the worst effects of the industry, or will venality doom even that through the vote of Senator Sinema (item 5)?

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