Berkeley declares “Existential Climate Emergency”. Deniers go bonkers.
Last week, the Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to declare an “existential climate emergency” and pledged to become a “carbon sink” by 2030. Their announcement doesn’t seem to have gotten much attention from the mainstream press (we wonder why). The right wing media, however, did pounce on the news, delighted to have found another totally intellectual, totally mature way to try to own the libs.
Breitbart, the Blaze, Daily Caller and Fox News all commented on the Berkeley resolution, choosing to focus on the common alarmist tropes of social engineering, population control and comparison to war time.
One of the common talking points was also their astonishment and derision of the fact that the emergency declaration talked about anticipated future calamities with a certain level of surety. How can we know what will happen in the coming decades when we don’t know tomorrow’s weather, the deniers ask?
Well, they might want to read the Nasa’s Climate Kids page. Or the sobering interviewwith James Hansen in the Associated Press, reflecting on his testimony to the Congress 30 years ago that accurately warned about the future impacts of carbon pollution.
Another common theme was deniers’ alarmist propaganda that climate activists want to take the country back to “bearded Amish people driving about in horse-drawn carriages.” They coupled this with the defeatist messaging that it’s too late to act anyway and that ambitious climate targets aren’t achievable.
But the ultimate beauty is the Tucker Carlson interview with commentator Anushay Hossain. “If it’s an actual emergency, why does anyone in Berkeley have an air conditioner?” asked Carlson, demonstrating his absolute zero grasp of the climate change problem. Hossain handled his question well, explaining how climate action requires solutions from different sectors and that residents certainly need to do more for real climate action. Beaten, furrowed-brow Carlson proceeded to berate environmentally conscious cities for being Democrat-controlled havens of filth who should be more focused on picking up their trash. This led to another schooling by Hossain, and the 04:55 mark in the video is a must see for the glorious three seconds of absolute silence where Carlson just doesn’t know how to respond.
To clarify, there are genuine criticisms about the Berkeley city council’s declaration in that their current actions don’t reflect the urgency the council seems to understand is needed. “There are plenty of obstacles in the way: NIMBYs, town politics, and the powerful inertia of the status quo,” writes Grist’s Nathanael Johnson, who argues that major housing and transportation reform is needed for the city to become fossil fuel free by 2030.
But as Dr. Janice Kirsch, an activist working with Climate Mobilization, tells Johnson: Now begins the hard work. Meanwhile, the denier media can continue to fight on the losing side.
(Originally appeared at DailyKos. Cartoon by Tom Toles at GoComics.)