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       Please excuse the snark aspect of the title of this post - I have some serious points I'd like to discuss. ClimateBrad has posted a diary tonight which gives a roll call of Senators willing to stay up all night to talk about Climate Change - and those who won't.

This is pretty simple. 28 31 U.S. Senators (D+I) have announced they're joining the #Up4Climate talkathon tonight. There are 27 24 Democrats and 45 Republicans who have not.
    There's a list of names showing who is and who isn't going to be there, and contact info to let you reward/chastise your senators accordingly. (Hope you'll do so - the more buzz, the better.) That so many Democratic Senators are willing to stand up is real progress. That there are Democratic Senators who won't is a disappointment. That no Republicans will is not a surprise.

      Climate Change finally shows signs of gaining political traction. At this point Democrats are beginning to establish some forward momentum. The President is speaking out. The Secretary of State is making no bones about its importance as an international issue. (Of course, there's still that KXL thing…) Still, we could be doing better. Discussion ensues below the Orange Omnilepticon.

          There's no question that tonight's action in the Senate is getting some attention. I caught Sean Hannity talking about it briefly on his radio show today. He was dismissive, pointing out that Democrats control the Senate, but they have not introduced any legislation - because they can't get enough support for it in their own party. He considered it just empty grandstanding, and was considering looking in during his TV show tonight, probably for some reflex liberal-bashing.

           The New York Times also took note of it today.

WASHINGTON — The Senate was headed into another all-nighter Monday evening as 26 Democrats who call themselves the “climate caucus” planned to speak nonstop about climate change from about 6:30 p.m. until 9 a.m. on Tuesday.

The talkathon is the latest effort by the group, which is working with a parallel House caucus, to elevate the issue of global warming. The members know that serious climate change legislation stands no chance of passage in this divided Congress, where many lawmakers in the Republican-majority House deny the science of human-caused global warming.

       The Times had little to say about why the issue of Climate Change was worthy of the effort - either reporter Carol Davenport and the editors chose to view it purely as a political issue, or assumed there was no need to mention the very real reasons for action. (Two guesses which.) It was compared to efforts to raise vehicle fuel economy standards back in the 1990's which eventually succeeded as public support grew. Mention was also made of the big money that is finally starting to show up in support of Climate Change action. But, the overall tone of the article limited discussion of Climate Change to the purely political aspects of the issue.

       It's telling what was mentioned, and it's why considering Climate Change only from a political viewpoint is a problem for those who want action:

Climate change legislation — which would most likely place a price on carbon pollution — could raise gasoline and electricity costs, which would be deeply unpopular with voters. Advocacy groups with links to the fossil fuel industry and the libertarian billionaires Charles and David Koch, who aggressively oppose strengthening climate policy, are expected to continue to spend heavily to block any such policies and fight the candidates who support them.
emphasis added

        You really have to wonder about a report that phrases things so that it appears Charles and David Koch have nothing to do with fossil fuels - they're just libertarians! And billionaires. You also have to wonder that the article goes out of its way to prominently note the hundreds of millions of dollars that are only now being spent to support action on Climate Change while omitting any mention of vast amounts that are being spent to block action. And nowhere in the article is any mention of the costs already being incurred from doing nothing, or all of the other negative consequences of Global Warming and Climate Change.

        Conservatives, talk radio, the deniers have put together a narrative that Climate Change is a hoax. Democrats are using it as an excuse to enact a Big Government agenda; Big Money liberals are bankrolling them, etc. etc. There's nothing in the Times article that contradicts that narrative - in fact it could almost be seen to subtly reinforce it. So much for the 'liberal' media.

        The other day I published a diary that looked at the real Climate Change challenge at length. (Too much length, apparently - I suspect a lot of people took one look and passed over it.) Let me summarize it here.

        The Senate effort to build Climate Change concerns into action is essential. The big problem now isn't the science; we've passed the point at which there's any doubt left about Climate Change reality. The only questions left are how fast it will happen, how bad it will get, what we are going to do about it, and when. The main problem now is political - how to get the world to act, and to recognize that our opponents don't really give a damn about it in any case.

       Conservatives are using Climate Change for identity politics; you can't be a conservative if you admit Climate Change is real. (Demonstration here - h/t to Charles P. Pierce.) They've turned what should be an objective threat to all humankind into a matter of ideology. They're terrifying their base with warnings that Big Government Liberals will take away their SUV's, destroy jobs, bankrupt them with high gas and electricity prices, raise taxes, impose Agenda 21 on them, and control every aspects of their lives. The black helicopters are coming to take everyone's guns away - and gay marry them too!

       Crazy as this is, it does create one problem. If Climate Change activists keep talking about the urgency of doing something, about all the terrible things that are going to happen - even though it's true, they end up sounding a lot like the other side by coming across as scaremongers.

       Ordinary people are seldom moved by facts alone, or threats at some indefinite time in the future - especially when the opposition is telling them everything is fine, that there's no problem, and doing anything would be too expensive, restrictive, etc. etc. They need messaging that connects with them in their daily lives, stories they can understand that makes the big picture real to them, things they can see around them,  ideas that connect not just with their minds, but their emotions as well. They need to hear things that will make them feel like they can be in control of their lives, that help will be there for them, that their lives can be made better. They need to hear it from people they trust.

      If the all-nighter sessions in the Senate can do this, they'll be making a real difference. Republicans have literally nothing to offer except lies and fear. Every day it gets harder for them to deny what's happening. If those advocating action to deal with Climate Change can come up with a positive message and dare the Republicans to come up with anything except knee-jerk opposition, all the better.

      We're running out of time - but not answers. Let's put them to work.

Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:31 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (32+ / 0-)

    Here's to the future - and making it one we can live in.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:27:01 PM PDT

  •  Thanks, xaxnar... (8+ / 0-)

    I'm watching it live on CSPAN 2. It is also being live streamed
    at the CSPAN website HERE

  •  Thanks, xaxnar. (9+ / 0-)

    I am heartened that they are doing this.

    The problem has always been the sociological and political aspect of it. As you say, the objective evidence of disaster speeding down on us has been made into ideology which allows the mind to reject any facts or even the snow or drought outside their doors.

    Somewhere out there I remember a figure like 3%. If 3% of the people rise up in a movement about an issue, they can win.

    I am hoping some ideas come out of all the talk.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Mon Mar 10, 2014 at 07:49:43 PM PDT

  •  Boxer-Sanders (8+ / 0-)

    I wonder if any of the ones talking will get behind the Boxer-Sanders fee-and-dividend legislation. They introduced two bills last year (Climate Protection Act and Sustainable Energy Act), and the bills have basically languished since then.

  •  I like it (7+ / 0-)

    I know that my party could be doing so much more, but I will take what I can get.

    And the press will cover this as much as they cover CPAC, right?

  •  The climatechangebuster will have an effect, but (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, occupystephanie

    the Washington media is much more enthralled with stunts like the Green Eggs and Ham fake filibuster.

  •  alas, I have long ago concluded that we will never (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tarkangi, dinazina

    do anything about global warming because, as a society, deep down inside, we simply don't WANT to. Any meaningful actions will require substantial changes in our fat lazy wasteful profligate unsustainable American lifestyles (we have three times as much CO2 emission per capita than Europe does, and five times as much as China does)---and as a society we'd rather die than give up that lifestyle.

    So we will die.

    We MAY POSSIBLY be sufficiently motivated to actually do something once things are SOOOOO bad they simply can no longer be denied and ignored. But alas, given the time lag between CO2 concentration and its environmental effects, by the time the symptoms become too bad to ignore, the disease is already inoperable.

    Sorry to be such a downer.

    On the other hand, the human species is remarkably adaptable, and will very likely survive the coming climatic changes, though likely not in its current form of social organization.

    In the end, reality always wins.

    by Lenny Flank on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:36:20 AM PDT

    •  Carbon tax = 9 cents per gallon of gas (3+ / 0-)

      What you say here is a paraphrase of my prediction for the world trajectory: we will argue over foolishness, fight over trivialities, and then billions of people will die.

      But the absurdity that hurls me into the pit of dead uncaring stars is that the price of saving the world, which drives the libertarians (motivated solely by their concern for the poor poor people) into shrill unholy madness, is less than the typical fluctuation in the price of gas over the course of a month.

      William Nordhaus, Paul Krugman's PhD advisor, makes this point over and over again in his excellent series of excellent books on the economics of climate change: the cost of fixing the problem is modest compared to things that we buy all the time without a thought.

      As a scientist I know that we have more technical solutions to the CO2 problem than we know what to do with.  (Buy mine: make me a billionaire! But seriously, can we agree that this is more important than some app for the phone?)

      What mix of solutions we seven billion humans use will surely hinge more on who's getting banged in someone's back yard than on any sober analysis of the science and the economics.

      But we can not start addressing the problem so long as one of the most influential tribes in world makes a badge of tribal identity out of denying the very existence of the problem.

      tl;dr the talkathon was dumb, wasted resources, and accomplished nothing - but the only way to effect change is to do this kind of thing over and over and over again: just as the fundies did in their thirty year campaign to lick stamps in the service of taking over American politics.

      o caminho d'ouro, uma pinga de mel: Parati

      by tarkangi on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 08:28:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We're unlikely to die. (0+ / 0-)

      Really, the developed world is in a pretty good situation to deal with this. Much of the rest of the world... not so much.

    •  I share these feelings of yours often (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      xaxnar

      but I wonder if this might be blaming the victim. People become passive when they are disempowered. Here's something from "the Story of Stuff"

      We see more advertisements in one year than people 50 years ago saw in a lifetime. And if you think about it, what is the point of an ad except to make us unhappy with what we have. So, 3,000 times a day, we’re told that our hair is wrong, our skin is wrong, clothes are wrong, our furniture is wrong, our cars are wrong, we are wrong but that it can all be made right if we just go shopping
      If you're constantly being pounded upon with "if it bleeds it leads" 24/7 media violence-whoring and stuffed with disempowering ad messages and stuffed with addictive sugar/salt coated "products" and sugary and/or alcoholic drinks, it is not easy to make substantial changes - even if you desperately want to.

      You may be right, we may die as a society, but it will be more from depression and disempowerment than laziness. And there are those who are profiting mightily from the herd of disempowered "consumers" - let's be sure to include them in our condemnations.  

      muddy water can best be cleared by leaving it alone

      by veritas curat on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 10:13:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  How To Prove You're Stupid (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie, Calamity Jean

    Go on national TV and mock Democrats for highlighting climate change. Let's see who leads the pack.

  •  Filibuster? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie, Calamity Jean

    Why don't they just continue this into a filibuster? A few of them talking during the day might lead to more than hot air.

  •  28 Senators is more than I would have guessed (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie

    It seems like a good sign.

  •  It seems to me this could be done without a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    occupystephanie, Calamity Jean

    tax.  If we gave subsidies to wind and solar while taking it away from oil and coal and gas.  What really freaked me out listening to them last night was their praise for natural gas.  apparently their states have a hell of alot of water, because it takes 2 to 8 million gallons per well, and sometimes a well is fracked more than once. TX and NM and some other states are running out of water.

    This "Trickle Down" thing has turned out to be somebody pissing on my leg and tellin' me it's rainin'.

    by swtexas on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 08:37:18 AM PDT

  •  I saw a shocking news item in my paper (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, Zinman

    this morning from "News Services" out of Washington which reported the talkathon then added this sentence to close:

    Democratic leaders have no plans to bring a climate bill to the Senate Floor this year, so the speeches were about little more than theatrics.
    I am old enough to remember when the AP and news wires gave the facts and nothing but the facts. I have noticed before the editorializing that poisons objective journalism before but this I find egregious.

    We have it within our power to make the world over again ~ Thomas Paine

    by occupystephanie on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 08:54:38 AM PDT

  •  Watching the Senators Talk (5+ / 0-)

    I watched and listened to some of the Senators talk on climate change last night and was impressed at the thought that went into their presentations.  Each Senator I saw spoke directly to the changes they were observing in their states and hammering the point home that the climate has already changed and will continue to change, that we need to do act now in order to preserve what we have and prevent losing more while we wait.  To my ear, there was little histrionics and a lot of science.  I disagreed with some of the remarks but mostly on small points.  

    The seriousness and the immediacy of the problem was accentuated.  There was no demonization of the Repugs and the deniers I heard.  It was essentially a teach-in and did what it set out to do.

    Now we'll see whether it has any effect.

  •  Great Diary, xaxnar, thanks! You hit the nail (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar

    square on the head when you said:

    Ordinary people are seldom moved by facts alone, or threats at some indefinite time in the future - especially when the opposition is telling them everything is fine, that there's no problem, and doing anything would be too expensive, restrictive, etc. etc. They need messaging that connects with them in their daily lives, stories they can understand that makes the big picture real to them, things they can see around them,  ideas that connect not just with their minds, but their emotions as well. They need to hear things that will make them feel like they can be in control of their lives, that help will be there for them, that their lives can be made better.
    I have lost count of the number of blog posts and articles that have been written over the last couple of years that have drawn those conclusions. Your previous diary and don mikulecky’s recent post about framing are just the latest calls for a compelling positive vision to get society to move off the dime and take substantive action.  A couple of others follow.  The first is by Joe Confino, in his article, “Sustainability movement will fail unless it creates a compelling future vision”:
    It is true that there are a number of interesting sustainability initiatives such as the circular economy and a growing number of cross-sector collaborations. But none of these offers a truly systemic solution.

    At its worst, this means that sustainability professionals are essentially operating in the dark, frantically seeking to change the world without really understanding whether ultimately their initiatives or projects are causing more harm than good.

    So what can we do about this? What I am hearing from numerous experts is that we need to find a new narrative that creates a sense of confidence to take more radical steps.

    The next is by Wayne Vissar in his “The sustainability movement faces extinction – what could save it?”
    [T]he essential idea of sustainability – that we must endure, perpetuate, hold on to the past and drag it into the future – is about as exciting as watching lettuce wilt under the midday sun. As Michael Braungart, co-author of Cradle to Cradle, likes to say: "sustainability is boring".

    I imagine your expressions of shock and horror, but it's true. Sustainability has won many battles – for best-new-jargon-inventor, for most-likely-to-make-you-feel-good – but has lost the war for the hearts and minds of the people. It has pinned its colours to the mast of scarcity and survival, when most of the world is far more interested in prosperity and thriving. I'd go so far as to say that the sustainability movement has failed to understand what it means to be human.

    Sustainability is like a geeky, pimply teenager who has come to our party, turned off the music and told us that we would really be much happier if we stopped having so much darn fun! The key to having a good time, declares our party-pooper, is to practice a lot more self-restraint. All those on board the austerity train, say "Hell, yeah!" … What, no one?

    Finally, George Lakoff nailed the central challenge as usual in this interview with Zoe Williams:
    It is, plainly, the longstanding failure to protect nature that powers Lakoff's exasperation with liberals. "They don't understand their own moral system or the other guy's, they don't know what's at stake, they don't know about framing, they don't know about metaphors, they don't understand the extent to which emotion is rational, they don't understand how vital emotion is, they try to hide their emotion. They do everything wrong because they're miseducated. And they're proud of that miseducation. Oxford philosophy reigns supreme, right? Oxford philosophy is killing the world."
    Not to put too fine a point on it, but if we don’t internalize and act on this understanding, and fast, our gooses are all cooked, both figuratively and literally.

    Thanks again for your diaries on this topic, xaxnar.  It is both timely and urgent (my apologies if you linked to any of the above in your earlier diary. It was indeed a bit long and i didn't have time to check out all the links in it.  I will sometime, though - - thanks again!).

    Pessimism of the intellect; optimism of the will. - - Antonio Gramsci

    by lehman scott on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 01:44:41 PM PDT

    •  Thanks- great links (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lehman scott

      It comes down to salesmanship. One of the best demonstrations of this still remains the classic scene from The Music Man when Professor Harold Hill gets the town all fired up about the evils of a Pool Hall in their community. He gets a hold on their moral system and goes to town with it.
      http://youtu.be/...
      )

      "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

      by xaxnar on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 05:02:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I hear it will raise campaign contributions (0+ / 0-)

    To be first in the soil, which erupts in the coil, of trees veins and grasses all brought to a boil. -- The Maxx

    by notrouble on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 06:30:24 PM PDT

  •  People don't change because they want to. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    xaxnar, Calamity Jean

    They change because they have to. The reason, for example, that China has managed to decrease sulphur dioxide emissions by the greatest amount ever is because Chinese citizens are becoming very alarmed at the awful smog. We aren't any different. As long as climate change doesn't involve rivers of blood or plagues of insects in this country, only small steps will be taken. However, there are hopeful signs here, one being the rapid growth of home solar; it's really taking off.

    Voting is the means by which the public is distracted from the realities of power and its exercise.

    by Anne Elk on Tue Mar 11, 2014 at 09:42:10 PM PDT

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