Saturday, February 26, 2011

Political "close your eyes" and mind

There is only about 1 percent of scientists in the world that "poo-hoo" global warming, climate change. And probably those 1 percent are in the USA. There are still some in the Churches of God (Sabbath keeping) on the Internet that still "poo-hoo" the 99.9 percent of scientists on the matter of global warming and climate chaos.

Why do some still hold such ideas of denial?  Most if not all denials come from people in the USA.  It's the old story of the USA - economics of the big ... whatever companies that have and still are making their millions or billions and just do not want to know about anything but continuing to make their billions.

As Mark Hertsgaard took years and travelling all over the world to write his book "HOT - Living Through the next Fifty years on Earth" found out. Here's a little of that political denying from his book, that you should go out and buy:


For decades, oil and gas had been the heart of the Louisiana
economy and a major source of the state government's revenues.
This made politicians, the business community, and much of the
public reluctant to accept that global warming was really a
problem. Since the start of the first era of global warming in
1988, none of the state's governors or members of Congress,
whether Democrat or Republican, had spoken out or voted as if
climate change was a threat, even though Louisiana was
considerably more at risk than most of the fifty states in the
Union. As late as 2010, despite having seen what Katrina did to
her state, Democratic senator Mary Landrieu was seeking to strip
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of its authority to
regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Republican governor Bobby
Jindal was urging defeat of President Obama's climate
legislation. A state that so forcefully resists the mitigation of
climate change can hardly expect to be successful in adapting to
it. As Dutch adaptation expert Richard Klein observed earlier in
this book about the Bush administration's foot-dragging, "You
can't adapt to a problem you don't admit exists." ......
But as I dug deeper, I came to believe that the Tampa Bay area,
and Florida in general, confirmed the truth of Pier Vellinga's
warning: you are more vulnerable than you think. The likelihood
of more Category 4 and 5 hurricanes in the years ahead is
worrisome news for Florida for two reasons: first, current
evacuation plans, though impressive on paper, are ignored by much
of the population, who decide to "ride out" storms in their
homes; and second, almost none of the buildings in the state are
capable of withstanding more than Category 3 hurricanes. Most at
risk are the hundreds of thousands of mobile homes in
Florida-there are fifty thousand of them in Pinellas County
alone-which a Category 4 or 5 storm could "hurl through the air
like missiles," said Vickers. Nevertheless- and this is where
social context again rears its head-even disaster officials as
dedicated as Vickers and Gispert were not calling for the state
to upgrade its building codes to require Category 4 and 5 levels
of protection. Why not? Because, they said, it would sink
Florida's economy.
Echoing virtually every disaster official I've interviewed
anywhere, Gispert and Vickers said that many people simply refuse
to evacuate, even when weather forecasts, emergency officials,
and common sense all say it's time to go. When Hurricane Charley
was bearing down on Tampa Bay and authorities ordered people out,
"430,000 people should have evacuated, and we anticipated that
108,000 would actually do so," Vickers recalled. "But our surveys
after the storm indicated that less than 10,000 people ended up
Evacuations inconvenience people and cost businesses money, so
many resist or resent them, especially after episodes like
Hurricane Charley, when the threat to Tampa Bay didn't actually
materialize. By contrast, the commanders at MacDill Air Force
Base, which is located on a peninsula that juts deep into Tampa
Bay, do not hesitate to evacuate it when necessary, said Larry
Clark, the base's head of the Office of Emergency Management.
"But they don't have to worry about the politics of evacuations,"
Clark added. "Pinellas County ordered an evacuation on July
Fourth weekend that led to millions of dollars of tourism money
being lost, and there were lots of complaints from business
people after that, believe me."
In Key West, Florida, tourists are evacuated thirty-six hours
before the arrival of even a Category 1 storm, partly because the
only route out of town is a two-lane highway that stretches over
forty-two bridges and 100 miles before reaching the mainland.
Under the circumstances, "even one accident means gridlock," said
Irene Toner, the director of emergency services for Broward
County. Yet even after Katrina, most locals ignored evacuation
orders, said Toner, adding, "People here are very blase. They'll
tell you, `My grandmother lived through plenty of hurricanes. We
can ride it out. They just don't realize what a big storm would
do. We will be cut off here from water, power, sanitation,
medical care. Life is going to be very hard. So why, why, why
stay behind and put your family in that position? But people just
don't get it."
Of course, the pledge to "ride out" a hurricane implicitly
assumes that one occupies an adequate shelter. Florida law
requires all buildings to be resilient to wind speeds that in
most places are equivalent to Category 3 hurricanes, but in
reality many are not, said Vickers. Upgrades tend to be made when
a building changes ownership; Vickers estimated that full
compliance was still ten years away. And Category 3 protection
will not do much good against a Category 5 hurricane. Even a
Category 3 or 4 storm, Vickers said, "would knock down or ruin
most buildings in Evacuation Zones A and B. We'd lose almost 100
percent of our mobile homes:" In the city of Tampa, the oldest
public hospital sits on the edge of the inner harbor, with
nothing to shield it from the path of a hurricane's storm surge.
Evacuating patients would be impossible, said hospital spokesman
John Gunn. Instead, he told me, the plan was to ride out any
hurricane. But the building was only Category 3 resilient, so how
exactly would that work in the case of bigger storms?
"Economically, we can't afford to build to a Category 4 or 5
level," said Gispert, "much as I as an emergency professional
would like to see that happen. Florida has some of the toughest
building codes in the United States, but it would cost too much
to make them tougher. We have to keep housing prices low. That's
the basis of the state economy."
"Attracting outsiders has always been our primary economic
engine," explained journalist and Florida resident Michael
Grunwald. The state's prosperity has long rested on "a human
pyramid scheme-an economy that relied on a thousand newcomers a
day ... whose livelihoods depended on importing a thousand more
newcomers the next day." All those new arrivals need places to
live. That means that housing prices, as Gispert said, have to be
kept as low as possible, which in turn spurs the building of more
and more homes, including in vulnerable coastal areas.
This philosophy was shared at the top of Florida's government: as
governor from 1998 to 2006, Republican and presidential brother
Jeb Bush was very pro-development. Governor Bush may have felt
less alarm about overbuilding along the coast because, like his
older brother, he was dubious about the science of global
warming. As late as 2009, Bush the younger said in Esquire
magazine that he was "skeptical" about global warming, largely
because of the (supposed) potential of emissions reductions to
harm the economy.
The refusal to take climate change seriously instead opened
Florida's economy to a different threat. The extra-powerful
hurricanes of 2004 and 2005 alarmed the insurance industry, which
paid out $250 million in damages for the entire Atlantic coast.
Companies responded by dramatically increasing prices and
reducing coverage. Many policyholders were dropped altogether;
those who could still find coverage had to pay much higher
premiums. Some homeowners' rates increased roughly loo percent
over two years, which led many people, especially retirees on
fixed incomes-a sizable proportion of Florida's population-to
give up their insurance altogether, a terrible risk in a state so
susceptible to hurricanes.
By fall 2006 the insurance crisis was the biggest political issue
in the state, with staggering economic implications: without
insurance, houses can't sell, businesses can't get loans,
commerce falters. To entice insurance companies to relax their
terms, the state legislature dangled increased subsidies and
other incentives. But with memories of the 2004 and 2005
hurricane seasons still fresh and with climate scientists
projecting more of the same in the future, insurers wouldn't
So the legislature embarked on a monumentally risky endeavor of
its own: it made the state the insurer of last resort in Florida.
Henceforth, the state government's Citizens Property Insurance
agency would provide insurance to all qualified Floridians,
effectively making taxpayers liable for all damages. In the short
term, this intervention kept people in their homes and businesses
operating. In the medium to long term, it all but promised to
bankrupt the state. "If a Category 4 or 5 hurricane hit Tampa,
estimates are that it would cause $50 to $65 billion in damages,"
said Bill Newton, an insurance expert with the nonprofit group
Florida Consumer Action Network. "Well, the state's entire annual
budget is about $60 billion. So we'd be sunk:" ......
Such a scheme might succeed in managing the unavoidable risks of
the second era of global warming, but what about avoiding the
unmanageable? No amount of federal subsidies can make insurance
economically feasible for long unless global warming is soon
halted and reversed. "If I were the insurance czar of Florida,"
said Newton, "I'd move on three fronts at once. First, we have
got to get serious about cutting greenhouse gas emissions. If
global warming isn't stopped, Florida doesn't have a future,
period. That said, our risks will go up over the next fifty years
no matter what, so we also have to be a lot smarter about what
kind of development we allow in coastal areas. Take the Florida
Keys. You don't want to shut down the Keys; they're incredibly
beautiful and draw tourism from all over the world. But you can
say that mobile homes aren't allowed there-they're just too
dangerous in a storm. Now, you still need people to work in the
tourist hotels and restaurants, so the second thing we have to do
is develop alternative low-income housing that is sustainable and
resilient. Finally, we need to set up rules for what to do when a
community gets wiped out. Which places get rebuilt and which
don't? New Orleans is easy. You have to rebuild there; New
Orleans is too important to the national economy not to. But in
Florida there are lots of places that shouldn't be rebuilt.
They're just not valuable enough to the larger society." .....
The USA has been the blind man on the block - those HUGE oil and gas guys with their billions, other companies that also want that river of money to keep coming in, just want to keep stashing that money into their pockets, and let tomorrow look after itself. Most of those fellows will either be dead or too old to care, so the blindness and political mind-set keep a goin' - they do not mind being laughed out of the room as long as their bank account is flowing over with money.
Can you believe that there are that many nutty people who will not obey the "evacuate" order when it is given. Their physical possessions obviously become their god, and it would seem they would rather die with their physical this and thats around them. Blows me away it does, just blows my mind.

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