An Alternative View: Decades of Denial Bring Today’s Disasters

January 20, 2020

The Rev. Bro. Robert Barker is a retired clergyperson with BSc and MDiv degrees.

 If you have paid any attention to the news you are aware of the catastrophic forest fires ravaging the country of Australia during its summer.  There have been 15 million acres burned, over 2500 buildings destroyed, 22 people killed and 28 missing.  About 1 billion animals are feared dead.  Like the U.S. Australia has always had its fire season but in 2019 it is worse than ever before.  Record low rainfall and record temperatures are the cause due to fossil fuel use. 

Australia is not alone although it’s been hit the hardest.  The Northern Hemisphere had the hottest July recorded in 140 years.  Wildfires burned from Alaska to the Amazon. California in 2018 had a record number of deadly blazes. Fortunately in 2019 the U.S.A. had fewer wildfires when compared to 2019 though the trend will be for more extreme weather fueled by a hotter climate.  

The conservative Australian government led by Prime Minister Scott Morrison, propped up by the Australian coal-mining oligarch Clive Palmer and the mining industry, has successfully subverted international agreements on climate change.  This was enabled by Rupert Murdoch’s Australian propaganda press promoting the lie that fossil fuel is not the cause of climate change. Out of 57 countries Australia has been rated 57th on climate change inaction.   Hugh Riminton, a leading journalist wrote, “Australia is a burning nation led by cowards,” after Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack blamed exploding horse manure as the cause of the fires.  A majority of suffering Australians are finally demanding action because of the consequences they are now experiencing.

Our country of the United States also has its conservative Republican politicians supported by the big moneyed oil and coal fossil fuel industry. For decades they have done all they can to lie about, deny, obstruct, and obfuscate the scientific proof that supports the fact that global warming is directly caused by fossil fuel use.  Exxon’s own scientists knew this truth but Exxon spent millions promoting misinformation for forty years. Like Australia, the U.S. conservative, denying opposition have been galvanized by Murdoch’s FOX News and print propaganda media machine that have spewed out its supporting lies. Those who exclusively listen to these so-called “news” outlets only have their denial biases reinforced.

I experienced a good example of this from an encounter I had recently at a bakery where I stopped for a coffee break.  I was the only customer and became engaged with the counter person in small talk that soon moved on to the bizarre climate changes occurring in our country and around the world. We were on the same page until I stated that this was due to the use of fossil fuel by humanity over the last 100 years proven overwhelmingly by science.  The counter person immediately rebutted that “not all scientists agreed.”  I asked just what scientists were being referenced but with no response.  I continue saying that eighteen scientific organizations including NASA and NOAA have confirmed that fossil fuel use was the culprit behind drastic climate change; again, no response.

Albert Einstein said: “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.” 

By the way I endorse Andrew J. Frisch’s 10 January lucid and cogent letter to editor re: climate change, “Reasons to be optimistic bring on the 2020s.”  

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2 Responses to An Alternative View: Decades of Denial Bring Today’s Disasters

  1. Catriona Thoolen Reply

    January 21, 2020 at 4:24 am

    “Australian coal-mining oligarch Clive Palmer”

    Clive Palmer does not currently own (nor in the past has owned) a coal mine. He owns the rights to coal that is still in the ground…does that still make him an oligarch? Or does the truth not matter in the telling of your story?

  2. Robert Gilliland Reply

    February 4, 2020 at 11:43 am

    Its sad to see someone with 2 degrees parroting information from other sources without checking those sources. Deputy PM Michael McCormack did not say the bushfires were caused by exploding horse manure. This is a misquote of what he actually said in an interview on Sky News that there were a number of causes on what started the fires. He said that one, (note: one) in South Australia was started by a pile of horse manure self combusting. This is entirely plausible as any farmer etc knows. When Stables are cleaned out there is not only manure but straw as well and the mixture can get quite hot.

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