Oscar Wilde remarked that “To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness.” I wonder what he would say about breaking the record for annual temperature three years in a row.
Wilde was joking about the misuse of evidence, of course. I am joking about the failure to use evidence at all. Many of us are worried about the new American regime which appears to consist of an amazingly high percentage of climate warming deniers. There is a song with a chorus about them that most of us know, and it captures some of the frustration of living in a world with the willfully ignorant at the wheel.
Pete Seeger wrote “Where Have All the Flowers Gone” in 1955. At the time he was having trouble finding singing gigs because of a wild America swing to the right. McCarthyism was at its insane height at the time.
Seeger built his song on lines from a traditional Cossack folk song “Koloda-Duda.” Interestingly, the version most of us know is an expanded version with verses by a singer- songwriter I had never herd of, Joe Hickerson.
The chorus line I am talking about is, of course, “When will they ever learn?”
The real news is that some have learned. Our own Prime Minister has understood the problem and promised a carbon fee. The majority of Canadians are already living in province committed to taxing carbon fuels. (I don’t think the leaders in Canada really understand the economics of HOW to fight warming yet, but that is another issue).
The leaders of the most populous country in the world have also learned. Xi Jinping’s administration adopted “ecological civilization” as its slogan. At the Davos conference, China took the lead in calling for climate action. “If the U.S. does step back from leadership in the climate process then China will step forward, not least for pure realpolitik reasons,” according to Michael Liebreich, founder of Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
And maybe even the slowest are learning as well. China’s special representative for climate change, Xie Zhenhua, has said publicly that the incoming US president had “softened his tone on whether climate change is real” following his election in November.