Nice Guy Dangerous

Wanting to be a nice guy and trying to be a nice guy can get in the way of doing important work. I want to be a nice guy, I want to be thought of as a nice guy, and I try to be a nice guy. But I’m not going to let that get in the way of sounding the alarm.

The atmospheric greenhouse effect causing global warming was first discovered and described by Eunice Foote, an American woman scientist in 1856. It was further described by other scientists in other countries during the rest of the 1800s. The first evidence that global warming was actually happening was identified in the early 20th century. In 1972, a US EPA scientist named James Hansen testified before Congress, describing global warming, explaining the greenhouse effect, and predicting the dire results to follow if it was allowed to continue unchecked.

If we had started to do something about it then, we might have been able to prevent the worst of the effects.

At that point, Americans divided into three camps. The first was the camp that ignored it. The second was the camp that was concerned about it, and talked about it, discussed it, and looked for ways to try to prevent it from happening. President Jimmy Carter put solar panels on the roof of the White House.

The third camp was people who actively tried to prevent any discussion of global warming. This group included and was funded by oil companies, coal companies, power companies, car companies, and other companies that had a financial stake in preventing any change to the world energy markets and the source of that energy in fossil fuels. These corporations, and the people who led them, and the people who profited from them, produced a massive publicity blitz to distract people from the problem, to deny the problem was real, and to falsify the science. This group also spent a lot more money bribing politicians – Senators, congresspeople, presidential candidates, and presidents – to prevent any actions that might reduce or mitigate global warming which is caused by fossil fuels and CO2 in the atmosphere. They were successful for 50 years.

They did this purely for selfish financial reasons. As has always been the case with the rich and powerful, they serve their own selfish interests, and cause the ruling parties to serve their selfish interests, to the detriment of the vast majority of people. This is one of the terrible results of the influence of money in American politics and politics worldwide.

The solar panels were removed from the White House during the administration of President Reagan. The rest of his policies were entirely in line with the group that denies and distracts from global warming’s dangers.

Even environmentalists want to be nice guys and girls. They want people to like them, so that maybe people will listen to them. They want to sound reasonable, because they’re intelligent people, and a bit sensitive themselves. As a result, sometimes they are not direct enough with the truth. The truth is that the rich and powerful have ruined our world and there’s no way to keep it from getting worse. We can only reduce how bad it’s going to get, and the rich and powerful will try to stop us. The rich and powerful are directly to blame.

We don’t have 12 years. We don’t have five years. Climate change caused by global warming is having terrible results right now, worldwide. It’s too late to stop climate change. The only question is just how bad it’s going to get. So far, compared to what needs to be done to reverse global warming, we have done nothing. A few electric cars here and there. A few houses with solar panels and a few companies trying to go solar. Governments, business, and individuals have done hardly anything at all to reverse global warming. So it’s going to get worse and worse probably for a long time. I’m sorry, I try to be a nice guy but you need to understand this is going to be bad.

If you think that this year is hot, well it is the hottest year in recorded weather history, but next year is going to be hotter and the year after that hotter still. If you think it’s dry, if you think you’ve been flooded, if you think the storms are strong, they’re all going to be worse next year and even worse the year after that. For the foreseeable future.

And we are doing nothing that’s going to make them stop getting worse and worse.

August 17, 2021

© Bruce Merchant 2021

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