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Global Warming, Climate Change, and the Three Shades of Green

by Peter A. Belmont / 2019-02-20
© 2019 Peter Belmont


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Everyone these days has heard about Global Warming and Climate Change (GWCC) but people’s understandings of GWCC differ widely and—more important—their attitudes toward GWCC differ widely.

Since the future of mankind and of most life on earth depends on these attitudes, it behooves us to take a look at the three principal divisions of these attitudes, especially the attitudes of the political class in the USA—the politicians, pundits, media owners, and the oligarchs—the CEOs of major corporations and the billionaires—whose money purchases such devoted obedience in the nation’s legislatures and administrative offices.

If attitudes toward GWCC can be said to have colors, then we may say that there are three principal shades of green.

The first “color”, and most dangerous, is the color black, or un-green, my color choice for the attitude that GWCC is a hoax, a fraud, a mistake, something to be ignored as if it did not exist or threaten. I have no hope whatever for politicians of this sort. They must be replaced by True-Green politicians in the 2020 elections.

The second “color” is True-Green, the color of the Green New Dealers and others who recognize that GWCC is a present crisis and must be dealt with without delay.

The third “color” is Hesitant-Green, Dithering-Green, the color for those politicians who acknowledge that GWCC is some kind of a problem, but who fail to recognize that it is a present crisis which demands immediate corrective action.

Let’s examine these attitudes in detail.

The matter of the work necessary to combat GWCC is the subject of a separate essay.

Attitude #1: Black Un-Green—Better Dead Than Green

The first attitude, that of the so-called “climate-deniers”, may be called “Better Dead than Green”. People who adopt this attitude would, so it appears from their actions, rather die in a climatic disaster than take any action to stave off GWCC, and these folks are actually quite powerful. Are you old enough to remember “Better Dead Than Red”? I guess these “We’ll never agree to mitigate GWCC though the heavens fall” folks believe “Better continue as a predatory capitalist civilization until we all die than give over the governmental helm to the control of those damned environmentalists and Green New Deal freaks.” In other words, this group believes “Better Dead than Green”.

Kinda reminds me of what a little boy once said to explain a behavioral decision, “I don’t wanna and I ain’t gonna.” A complete and cogent argument for that little boy, and, it would seem, for the climate-deniers, who’d have you believe they are adults.

These people, the climate change “deniers”, are either really, truly persuaded that GWCC is a myth or hoax—or they are directly or in effect being paid to act and speak as if they believed that.

Since the “deniers” that really matter, apparently including the whole of the Congressional Republican Party and not a few Democrats, are elected officials, and since all these folks believe that being reelected is more important—to themselves anyhow—than anything else, and since they mostly take large sums of money to secure their continuing government-service lifestyle from a very, very few, very, very wealthy folks—CEOs of large corporations and billionaires—and in effect agree to represent these very, very few folks rather than representing the very, very numerous members of their electorates, well, then, it seems safe to say that this group do as they are paid to do rather than following their actual beliefs when they staunchly act as “climate change deniers”.

Attitude #2: True Green: Those Who Will Work Hard to Reverse GWCC

The second attitude is that of realists who know the threat and know more or less what must be done about it. These people [A] know that the climate catastrophe is at a crisis point today, and that massive, immediate, long-continuing, disruptive, and expensive steps must be taken to reverse GWCC, and [B] are ready to take real action, including taking professional and economic risks themselves, in order to get some kind of ”Climate Restoration” under way.

So we may call these people the “True Greens” to distinguish them from the tepid folks who are merely “Hesitant-Green”, see below. True Greens will “walk the walk” and wish to “run the walk”.

Most of the True Greens understand that the political compromises known as the Paris Accords were too little and too late when adopted and are tragically too little and too late today. They also know that the IPCC reports—scary as they are—are politically mediated reports which have made many compromises in the direction of understating the risks of disasters and the magnitude of needed remedial works. In other words, True-Greens understand that today’s crisis is much worse than has generally been stated even by those who believe that they are “telling it like it is.”

Attitude #3: Hesitant-Green, Dithering-Green

This attitude may be called “Better Hesitant-Green Than Entirely Embarrassed”. Folks who take this attitude sort of know, kinda believe, you know, that civilized life, maybe, who knows?, much of life itself, is threatened by GWCC. These people know that if mankind keeps behaving for another 50 years the way it’s been behaving during these last 50 years, really bad things will happen. Someday. Probably not soon.

Members of this group will say the right things about GWCC, but are likely to want to “kick the can down the road”—that is, to continue to do little or nothing today to reverse GWCC. surely, they seem to say by their actions, whenever asked, there is always another 10 years in which to dither.

A visceral evidence of this timidity or reluctance is this video of California Senator Diane Feinstein telling kids that she knows best and doesn’t need the Green New Deal. It appears that whereas most of the “Better Dead Than Green” politicians are Republicans, most of the Dithering-Greens are Establishment Democrats.

Many such “green” politicians promise to do something “by 2050”, or otherwise to set very distant goals which reveal that they have not tried to keep up-to-date on either the severity of the catastrophes already happening due to GWCC or the magnitude and nature of the work that must be done to reverse GWCC. These politicians are not “walking the walk”. At best they are “crawling the walk”, proposing baby steps where major strides are required.

Most likely members of this group have not heard the phrase ”Climate Restoration”, which denotes an attempt to return the atmosphere to the conditions which obtained in 1900 (or in some other target “better time in the past”).

This group is dangerous because it is not committed—not yet anyway—to full-speed-ahead expensive work to reverse climate change.

But the members of this group may be persuadable, whether by political persuasion or by receipt of scientific information, to join the true-Greens. Let us hope so.






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