This morning on Morning Joe, co-host Joe Scarborough asked Fran Ulmer, Chair of the U.S. Arctic Research Commission, to talk about the Arctic being “ground zero in the battle against climate change.”
For those used to watching Fox News, this probably would sound like gibberish after years of conservative pundits and politicians dismissing global warming as a liberal hoax.
It represented also a remarkable turnaround for Morning Joe, which two years ago defended Marco Rubio’s climate change denial and accused Democrats of being “televangelists” pushing something more like religion than science.
Watch courtesy of Media Matters for America:
Ulmer explained that “the Arctic is warming faster than any other place on Earth.”
Alaska, for example, has warmed about 4 degrees in the summer, about 7 degrees in the winter, and that’s having profound effects on a system that is very much driven by the importance of ice. We need ice because actually the Arctic kind of acts as a refrigerator for the planet. It helps moderate temperatures in mid-latitudes, as well as in Alaska and in the Arctic, so it’s very important that we increase our understanding of what is happening, the rapid rate of change in the Arctic. You know, if you look at some of the communities in the Arctic, for example, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has estimated that about two dozen villages in Alaska will have to be moved because of rising sea level, increased coastal erosion, thawing permafrost. This is huge. But this is only the beginning for coastal areas around the world.
Scarborough then put the problem in plain English, asking Jeremy Mathis of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to explain that what is happening in the Arctic is “a leading indicator of what faces all of us” if action isn’t taken:
Absolutely. The Arctic is giving us a pulse of the planet for what’s happening. And just like you go to the doctor and get a blood pressure reading to tell you whether you’re healthy or not, the blood pressure of the Arctic is really high right now, and so if we use that to tell us how the rest of the planet’s going to respond to climate change, I think there’s still time to do something about it. But we have to pay close attention to the really dire warning signs that we’re seeing in the Arctic right now.
If that wasn’t enough, Mike Brzezinski pointed to the differences between President Obama and Donald Trump, showing a video clip:
BILL O’REILLY: Do you believe in global warming, climate change? Do you think the world’s going to change for the worse because it’s getting warmer?
DONALD TRUMP: I think that there’ll be little change here, it’ll go up, it’ll get a little cooler, it’ll get a little warmer, like it always has for millions of years. But I don’t believe that what they say, I think it’s a big scam for a lot of people to make a lot of money.
Asked by Brzezinski what he thought of “the Republican nominee calling this whole thing a hoax as it pertains to climate change,” Ulmer answered that climate change “shouldn’t be a partisan issue” and that “it should be one of the most important things that we as a nation and we as a world focus on.”
Scarborough called the work of these scientists “important” and thanked them. At a time when we still regularly see climate science rejected in the mainstream media, perhaps on no other issue has Scarborough’s opposition to Trump been so critical.
Obviously, without a habitable world, all other concerns fall by the wayside. So much depends on battling climate change, from breathable air and drinkable water to droughts and wildfires and floods and rising sea levels.
Our world is beset on all sides by a problem we created, and the GOP has steadfastly refused to acknowledge the single greatest threat of our time, preferring to focus instead on fake scandals and invented problems.
Blustering, dishonest and wrong about nearly everything, Donald Trump might prove to be just what we needed to draw attention to the dangers of global warming.
Arctic Warming: NOAA
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.