Climate scientists proven right! Unfortunately!

Predictions about the consequences of climate change are constantly met with accusations from climate change deniers. They throw out stuff such as:  “You guys just want to get government money; You just love being prophets of doom and gloom;” and, ” So what! We could use warmer temperatures around here.”

Who wants to be right?

Well, unfortunately one of the gloomier predictions for climate change is playing out right now in Siberia, and no climate scientists are jumping up and down in gleeful bliss because they are right. Nobody wants to be proved right with these predictions.

Heating faster

Meteorologist Eric Holthaus reports today in Pacific Standard magazine  that an anthrax outbreak in Siberia is caused by a bacteria released with the thawing of the permafrost. The scary thing is, although climate scientists predicted this event, the release happened much sooner than predicted because of the accelerated heating of the Arctic.

Scientists are now saying that because the surface heating of the Arctic is occurring so rapidly, massive thawing of the permafrost could release all sorts of disease-causing bacteria.

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Arctic Surface Temperature Courtesy: Pacific Standard

This is serious stuff. So what’s the lead story on the major news services this morning? The Olympics. and specifically focused on tonight’s opening ceremonies—”All the latest on the ‘sexiest’ opening ceremony in the history of the Games.”

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Ready for opening ceremonies Courtesy: Reuters

Definitely not sexy

Meanwhile, according to the CBC, Rio is suffering with people living in abject poverty, “its basic services plagued by polluted waters, open sewers and unmanageable traffic.

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Homeless child Rio Courtesy: Google

 

What’s it going to take for the human race to adequately address climate change? We can’t even address the more obvious problems like poverty and pollution that we currently face. We’ll spend money on circuses like the Olympics but not on real change.

Trust us, you’ll be better off

When Rio originally bid for the games, their emphasis was on all the real changes that could come for the poor in that city. Now, not only have they spent more money than the original problems required, but the money has not gone on improvements for the poor—it’s benefiting only the wealthy. The poor lose again.

The poor make a great excuse

So why do we humans have a problem dealing with reality? We say we can’t deal with climate change because it’s too abstract. Guess what—anthrax is not abstract. Additionally, one of the arguments against doing anything about climate change is that the cost will hurt the poor disproportionately. Somehow there’s a double standard here. We don’t seem to mind hurting the poor for something like the Olympics that only benefits a few, but when it comes to climate change, which will hurts us all, the critics suddenly develop a huge concern for the poor.