Heat waves, global warming & capitalist politics

Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana has not had much to say about the current deadly heat wave that has swept his state and much of the United States. Sitting in his air-conditioned office, he is largely insulated from the disaster that is sweeping not only Indianapolis, the state capital, but most of the country.

In Fort Wayne, Ind., the temperature of 103 tied an all-time record high set during the Dust Bowl era in 1934 and 1936 and later during the blistering summer of 1988. As of July 8, one of the worst heat waves in U.S. history continues its hold, with temperatures of 100 degrees or higher spreading to northeastern cities, including Philadelphia and New York.

The heat set records on July 7 in Washington — 105 degrees — as well as in St. Louis with 106 and Indianapolis with 104. More than 2,500 heat records have been broken in the U.S. since July 1, and almost 25,000 heat records have been broken so far this year. (ABC News, July 9)

At least 30 deaths are being blamed on the heat, including nine in Maryland and 10 in Chicago, mostly among the elderly. Heat was also cited as a factor in three deaths in Wisconsin, two in Tennessee and three in Pennsylvania. (Associated Press, July 7)

In Colorado 30,000 people are recovering from one of the most devastating wildfires in history, which destroyed hundreds of homes. Across the West a record number of wildfires are raging more or less out of control, caused by months — in some cases, years — of record heat and drought. A steady drop in the annual snowpack on the Rocky Mountains has severely limited irrigation and the water available for people to drink.

Oppressive heat waves. Horrendous wildfires. Devastating droughts as well as flooding from giant deluges. And a powerful freak wind storm, called a derecho, which downed power lines across a wide swath of the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions.

Daniels leads ‘deniers’ of climate change

Is all this just freakish weather — or something more? Some climate specialists suggest that if you want a glimpse of the future of global warming, just take a look at U.S. weather in recent weeks.

Gov. Daniels would not agree. Here’s the derisive and bigoted language he used to dismiss global warming last year:

“A relentless project has inundated Americans for years with the demand that we must drastically reduce the carbon dioxide we emit as a society. It is asserted that the earth is warming; that this warming would have negative rather than positive consequences; that the warming is man-made rather than natural; that radical changes in the American economy can make a material difference in this phenomenon. …

“The debate, so far, has been dominated by ‘experts’ from the University of Hollywood and the P.C. Institute of Technology.

“Any dissident voice is likely to be the target of a fatwa issued by one Ayatollah or another of the climate change theocracy, branding the dissenter as a ‘denier’ for refusing to bow down to the ‘scientific consensus.’

“The late author and scientist Michael Crichton spoke witheringly of this pattern in a speech at Cal Tech. He said, ‘I regard consensus science as an extremely pernicious development that should be stopped cold in its tracks.’” (Daniels’ speech to Rose-Hulman graduates quoted in gadfly.blogspot.com, May 2011)

Apparently, Daniels prefers Michael Crichton, whose main claim to fame was that he became a multimillionaire by marketing a series of science fiction books like “Jurassic Park” and “The Andromeda Strain,” to scientists and academics from Purdue University, an Indiana engineering school which has issued many warnings about global warming and the influence of carbon dioxide emissions.

On June 21, as record wildfires raged in Colorado and across much of the West, the Daily Green republished a 2009 report by Purdue University’s Diffenbaugh Laboratory, which linked the risk of fires to global warming.

On the same day, Purdue University trustees announced they had chosen Gov. Daniels to be president of the university.

It is the first time that Purdue appointed a president who did not have any experience in running an academic institution. Daniels has savaged both university and public schools. He has been a loyal supporter of both the petroleum and coal industries in Indiana.

But that is ignoring his main “qualification.” He appointed eight of the 12 trustees.

Whether all these recent weather events are the result of global warming can only be verified in the future. But it is clear that “deniers” like Mitch Daniels and his ilk don’t really care about the future well-being of humanity. They’re too busy padding the wallets of their capitalist paymasters.

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