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

it depends on how you define social issues

build the wall? gut the clean water act? voting rights? immigration? women’s rights? detention of children? private prisons? the death penalty? legalization of marijuana? public assisted insurance? space force!? [ edit: consumer protections. school vouchers. gun control. the list of differences is actually pretty long… ]

largely, i think they overlap on economic issues – and that’s where the recognition of climate change runs into a wall. the democrats don’t want to rock the fiscal boat, or are too beholden to special interests – so they don’t want to actually do much.

i think even there – “much” is in the details.

generally democrats support things like taxing carbon, funding nasa and climate research, car mpg standards, and the like. and those do have practical real world differences.


The practical difference between going carbon neutral and going carbon negative in a realistic timescale is very small both in terms of the intermediate term development plans involved and the climate impacts, relative to the other alternative of carbon emissions ramping up exponentially.

If you can go carbon neutral you can build sinks at a linear rate as fast as technology and infrastructure allows. The further into the future you go the easier it gets to go negative. If you opt to ignore emissions you plow the growth gain you get from exploiting polluting industries back into more polluting industries, you strangle green technologies in their crib, you stop keeping track of what is happening and encourage others to do the same to compete and that’s how we end up turning into Venus. Even if carbon capture gets developed it is meaningless.

In the short term to get to the carbon negative future vs the neutral future the things we need to do look about the same, in both cases we should invest in the research and diplomatic agreements to make that happen. You can see this in the IPCC projections, where RCP 4.5 and 6.5 have about the same trajectory out to 2050. But RCP 8.5 diverges immediately.


What if it’s your own house that’s on fire?


I’m in that mood today, so I’ll just feel the urge to point out:

You can’t deny climate.

That’s like denying the weather, but for a timescale of more than 30 years.


Although the difference between D and R is not so stark in areas other than social/religious issues, I’m still going to contend that the Democrats are better (or at least less bad) on militarism and corporatism alike. Which party is willing to raise taxes, again, and which thinks lowering taxes on the rich is the solution to every issue?

And there’s no contention about them being better on immigration issues – unless you lump those under “social issues”.

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Nowhere near enough. It’s mostly greenwash. We have about ten years to keep climate change to a manageable level, without having to resort to pre-industrialisation.

Maybe we are already doomed, a lot of unpopular decisions will have to be made that will affect the Democrats chances of re-election, but I have to keep working towards and hoping for the best.


Maybe the Green New Deal would be popular because it would provide jobs. I haven’t looked into it though because I don’t think it has a chance in hell of getting anywhere near passing. Even powerful Dems (let alone Republicans in toto) are too in thrall to Big Fossil Fuel efforts like fracking, drilling up whatever else is left in pristine areas, getting U.S. access to the world’s largest oil reserves in Venezuela, and so on (witness the current establishment Dems’ consent to the slow-motion, U.S.-led overthrow of Maduro).

Dem leaders seem to think like other members of the wealthy elite: “Yeah, climate chaos is coming, but I’ll be able to afford to barricade myself and mine against it, so why not grab even more cash while I can?”


This is a common and infuriating mischaracterisation of the problem. Such numbers make sense in the context of keeping the temperature below +2 C or some other number. But +2C is not some magic number at which +1.9C is fine and dandy and +2.1C is EVERYONE DOOMED. 2C is just an agreed upon target. +2.01C will still correspond to many lives saved over +2.02C.

While it’s important to view the problem with urgency, actual solutions involve consistent long term action. One term of even the greenest administration cannot do much. One term, as we see, of republican rule can do a lot of damage. The political reality of maintaining support for policies in the long term and not over-selling policies is not something you can just handwave away.

It’s good to make the case for green policies but if you count your chickens before they hatch you’ll risk a big backlash.

You are right, but it’s not the number that worries me, it’s the trajectory.

This is what worries me, that we won’t be able to do enough before a Republican get in to undo it all, yet attempting to do enough will increase the chances of that happening. We still need to do it, but it is going to be so much harder than if more people had paid attention in the 70s and 80s


Well, this is why I think that while it’s important to criticise political leaders for falling short, the bigger, and unfortunately even more difficult problem is to try and push cultural changes around the broader society. (These are not unrelated, of course)

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Only if you have your head up your ass!

Lesley Stahl to Madeleine Albright Secretary of State under Democrat Bill Clinton’s two-administration bombing campaign of basic Iraqi infrastructure (sewage treatment, water treatment, etc.): “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that’s more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?”

Madeleine Albright: I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.

Democratic Obama Administration was at war in two countries for both terms of his administration.

One of the very few good things that will result from Trump’s presidency versus a (Hillary) Clinton is fewer people dead at the end of US foreign policy guns.

The Democratic mainstream are war-hawks, even when they give lip-service to disagreeing with Republican military actions.

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I liken it to someone trying to quit smoking.

Talking about changing but doing nothing is actually the first step to change because at least you’re willing to talk about it. You’re in much worse shape when you refuse to even acknowledge there’s s problem.

This is where folks just choke on the facts and we lose them. I would compare it to the guy who has jumped off an 86 story building and at 40th floor claims things are fine, nothing to worry about. Where we are now is absolutely not ok, we have pretty much saturated the heat sinks of the planet, IPCC predications are consistently proving to be way overly optimistic, and things are changing faster and faster as we accelerate into completely uncharted territory. Not to sound too pessimistic, that is really not my style at all, but yes, it is my belief that the tipping point has been passed and we need to be talking about mitigation. We can’t even get our pols to agree that there is a problem. We are fucked.

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