If Climate Change is a Joke, Who Is It On?

The state of Louisiana is planning to abandon settlements such as this one, Leeville, as rising seas submerge the coastal plain.

While the President of the United States makes ignorant jokes about climate change — in which he does not believe — one of the United States is preparing to abandon a chunk of land the size of the state of Delaware to rising sea waters, an effect of climate change. The state of Louisiana is preparing to abandon its entire coastal plain to the sea, to forbid new building there and to buy out and move tens of thousands of people who are at risk. Any people or businesses stubborn enough to stay would be taxed heavily, and required to post a bond to pay for the eventual demolition of their property.

We must keep in mind that this is a draft plan, that will have to survive a tsunami of opposition in order to take on the force of law. We must keep in mind that governments have tried before to do the right thing, without effect. Why, even the Congress of these United States, not long ago, actually began to fix the National Flood Insurance Program so it would make sense [“Wait, What? Congress Fixed Flood Insurance?”], but that’s just a misty memory now.

One remarkable thing about the Louisiana plan is that it is by far the most aggressive and comprehensive official response to rising seas ever undertaken in the United States (a couple of which — Florida and Virginia — have forbade the use of the term “climate change” in their official documents). Another remarkable thing? The study is being funded in part by the government of the United States, the one headed up by the guy who says climate change is a Chinese hoax.

The plan is heroic, in that it seeks to take on insoluble problems. The man in charge of the plan, Mathew Sanders (who by the way has the total backing of the popular Democratic governor of Louisiana, John Bel Edwards) says “Not everybody is going to live where they are now and continue their way of life. And that is an emotional, and terrible, reality to face.”

Reactions from residents of the doomed region, as quoted in a recent Bloomberg News article, ranged from resentment that “they” don’t do “more” to “protect” the land rather than try to force people to move; to glum acceptance as voiced by a store owner who put his building on 16-foot stilts after a hurricane in 2008, and now sees his parking lot flood almost every day: “Where do you want me to go?” he says.

The undeniable pathos of its inhabitants notwithstanding, this region is doomed by an ironic double whammy; it is sinking because of the massive volumes of oil that have been sucked out from under it; and the sea is rising because of the warming effects on the climate of the burning of all that oil. There’s no way to deflect what’s coming. The only thing to do is run.

Simple and undeniable as the facts are, Louisiana is the only state in the Union that is facing them head on, or trying to — we’ll see what the fate of its plan turns out to be. This planning may be possible only because the coastal plain is populated mostly by poor people, whereas the coast of, say, Florida is thick with people who have enough money to bribe people to look the other way while they make a little more money.

Ignorance is bliss, say the coastal developers and their wholly-owned politicians, and we want our bliss to last a little longer.  But as more and more mainstream business publications, such as Bloomberg News,  are pointing out more and more often [“South Florida’s Real Estate Reckoning Could be Closer Than You Think”], the water is rising and time is running out.

Go ahead, Mr. President, make another joke.   

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10 Responses to If Climate Change is a Joke, Who Is It On?

  1. Seriously, Bloomberg News? I can’t say enough bad things about the owner. Anything that rag prints, believe the opposite. Not to say they are right or wrong, just that they are a very poor choice of information.

    • Tom Lewis says:

      I don’t agree.

      • I can’t read The Economist magazine anymore. Blatant central bank propaganda. I tried to read an entire issue of Bloomberg Business and I simply couldn’t do it-it reminded me of The Economist, bias-wise. If you enjoy someone regulating the amount of sugar you can consume, just because he also agrees with you on Gore Warming, fine. If you don’t mind starving the homeless unless Big Bro approves the menu, okay. If you believe what the FedGov told you about 9/11 and that Bloomberg didn’t help destroy evidence, whatever. To each his own. I think he is an Establishment whore, hence whatever his mouthpiece publishes I’m leery of.

  2. geo says:

    I don’t agree, either. There have been many stories posted online about the vulnerability of South Florida to sea level rise. The Bloomberg article has it right. And if it’s in Bloomberg, Wall Street types are reading it. South Florida is toast. Tragically, the Everglades are toast, too — makes one wonder if the Everglades restoration effort is worth it. The alligators and pythons will move north, along with the people. And that would be just for a 6-7-foot sea level rise; climatologist Jason Box is calling for ten times that.

  3. Tom says:

    The climate change joke is clearly on humans (first, but all other species will be going down with us).
    We’re now in the unenviable “damned if you do and damned if you don’t” position regarding fossil fuel burning. If we continue using it, we’ll “fry the planet” (raise the temperature and cause too many deleterious climate change effects to grow food) in the coming decade (this is already happening); if we stop using fossil fuels, the particulates we put in the air (a by-product of industrial civilization) that shields us from too much solar radiation, will precipitate out of the air and we’ll hit those too high temps FASTER.

    Pretty funny, i’n’ it?

  4. steve says:

    Let’s also not forget the other two things contributing to Louisiana flooding. All those vast suburbs with their neatly mulched flower beds each spring with ( dyed red for some weird reason) cypress from the coast have crippled the coastal defenses, and channelizing the mighty Mississippi has stopped delta soil replacement, further reducing the margin between ocean waves and homes.

  5. Denis Frith says:

    Many Pacific Islanders are also having to cope with a number of deleterious effects of the sea level rise. Their leaders have asked UN bodies and countries such as Australia for help, including re location of the population in some cases.

  6. I think that because it was my generation (I’m 71 this month) that realized the Earth was in trouble due to climate change, it was my generation who should have reversed that trend.

    Since we did not reverse that trend, then I want to have the peace of mind knowing that although I have added to the problem through years of my life when I have lived on the power grid, I have also lived in joy off the power grid and been a mentor to others about how to live outside our modern choices that span a wide range of parameters that could have been downsized to be sustainable. Therefore, I need, in my heart, to take my last breath knowing that I did my best for my caregiver: Mother Earth. I foresee doing that by once again living off the power grid and honoring Earth’s gifts of air, water, food, animals, and so much more.

  7. colinc says:

    I dunno’, I find this image and the fact that from 1-Dec thru 30-Dec there were nearly 3 times as many Hi-temp records vs. Lo-temp records in the CONUS pretty damn funny!!