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Snowed Under - The African World By Bill Fletcher, Jr., Executive Editor


(Note: If you missed it on the BC Facebook and twitter pages, click here to read Bill's commentary "Don't deny peaceful protests in West Bank" on

In the middle of one of the worst weeks of snow that the Washington, DC area has seen, Republican opportunists have begun crowing—again—about how climate change is an illusion.  Where do these guys come from?

It is amazing the amount of media attention that the Republican climate change-deniers have been receiving.  Ridiculing former Vice President Al Gore for his warnings regarding global warming, these charlatans have been taking advantage of fear and denial among the populace, as well as ignorance in order to argue that snow storms indicate that the world is not getting warmer.

There is a saying that I learned when I was child that seems to be appropriate here:  a little bit of knowledge in the hands of an idiot is a dangerous thing.

It is criminal the way that the Republican climate change-deniers have been focusing on events in isolation in order to reinforce their pro-corporate views regarding the environment.  I think that it is past time that we strike back and drive their views into oblivion.

I am not sure how many times scientists need to repeat the point, but let’s go through it again.  Global warming does not mean that the planet turns into a desert all at once.  It means that the planet is getting warmer.  This is a demonstrable fact.  The impact of the global warming, as we have been shown time and again, is the distortion of the world’s climates.  Hurricanes increase in intensity; droughts worsen; and water vapor increases in the atmosphere making little events, such as snow storms, become major events, such as blizzards, particularly in areas where they had not, historically, been major episodes.

The Republican climate change-deniers, however, want to focus on the term “global warming,” and instead of showing its relationship to the larger matter of climate change, wish to distract us from the fact that the world’s climate IS in crisis.  For them, using their sophistry, the fact of snow storms means that there is not global warming and climate change.

We have to ask them, what does it mean that there is an increase in species annihilation?  What does it mean that coastal reefs are being bleached out of existence?  What does it mean that Greenland was 46 degrees Fahrenheit at the same time that Washington, DC was under more than two feet of snow with temperatures in the twenties? 

The Republicans are playing to a fear in the population that takes the form of denial.   It is actually very simple when you think about it.  If the climate is changing, irrespective of the role of humans in that, what can individuals do to stop it?  If individuals cannot stop it, then why accept it as a reality?  The fact that this is both illogical and irrational is irrelevant to the extent to which masses of people accept this line of thinking.

Thus, for those of us on the left side of the aisle, it is not enough to scare people through the recitation of facts, or the showing of films such as An Inconvenient Truth or the drama, The Day After Tomorrow.  What needs to happen is to show individuals what collections of individuals, organized through social movements, can actually do to affect the future of this planet.  That is what hope is actually based upon.  And that is actually how we can demonstrate that the Republicans are quacks who are better suited for cartoons than political office. Executive Editor, Bill Fletcher, Jr., is a Senior Scholar with the Institute for Policy Studies, the immediate past president of TransAfrica Forum and co-author of, Solidarity Divided: The Crisis in Organized Labor and a New Path toward Social Justice (University of California Press), which examines the crisis of organized labor in the USA. Click here to contact Mr. Fletcher.


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Issue 363
February 18, 2010

is published every Thursday
Executive Editor:
Bill Fletcher, Jr.
Managing Editor:
Nancy Littlefield
Peter Gamble
Est. April 5, 2002
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