By Clay Waters | October 13, 2019 9:17 PM EDT
The latest New York Times Sunday Review was graced by Justin Gillis, who served as chief environmental reporter for the paper until late 2017 and is now a contributing opinion writer free to spout in even more partisan and hysterical tones about the “troglodytes” and dangerous deniers who don’t see impending climate catastrophe: “Our Climate Future Has Arrived.”
The text box? “We ignored warnings of wildfires, flooding, heat waves and rising oceans.” He also loved teenaged climate activist Greta Thunberg.
The online headline deck was a call to vote Democrat: “Fire, Floods and Power Outages: Our Climate Future Has Arrived — The most urgent imperative now is to turn our fear and frustration into votes.” The tone was confidently alarmist (click “expand”):
Now we suffer the consequences.
In Northern California, power was cut to more than a million people this week. Near Houston, houses that flooded only two years ago just succumbed again. The South endured record-shattering fall heat waves. In Miami, salt water bubbled through street drains yet again as the rising ocean mounted a fresh assault.
All of it was predicted, in general outline, decades ago. We did not listen. Ideologues and paid shills cajoled us to ignore the warnings. Politicians cashed their checks from the fossil fuel lobbyists and slithered away.
Today, we act surprised as the climate emergency descends upon us in all its ferocity.
As tempting as it is to blame the politicians and the fossil fuel executives for the fix we find ourselves in, that is too easy. At any time in these last three decades, we could have woken up. We could have heeded the warnings of scientists like James E. Hansen of NASA, who told Congress in 1988 that the planet was warming sharply and would continue to do so if we persisted in burning fossil fuels. We could have voted James Inhofe, the climate-denying senator from Oklahoma, out of office. Had we been aroused and angry, we could have wielded our democratic power to bring the fossil fuel companies to heel.
I remember sitting with Dr. Hansen in his NASA office the week he retired, in 2013, wondering along with him when the public revolt over the climate crisis would finally begin.
Now we have our answer. Under the unlikely leadership of a brave 16-year-old schoolgirl from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, we are marching in the streets now by the millions. We are making demands. We are angry, and should be, but let’s spare a moment to be angry at ourselves for waiting so long.
People keep asking: Is it too late?
Yes, in some sense it is. What the events in California and Miami and Houston tell us is that we are living through the risks of an altered climate now, not a hundred years from now. Expect the situation to keep getting worse for the rest of your life. The ocean will keep rising for centuries, probably much faster than today. We will lose our great coastal cities.
Gillis pivoted to voting Democrat and was unctuously servile toward “schoolgirl” Greta Thunberg:
The most urgent imperative now is to turn our fear and frustration into votes.
The climate troglodytes must be thrown out of office, starting with Donald J. Trump. We need laws with teeth to propel the clean energy transition: hard targets, bans, taxes, mandates. We cannot stand back for another presidential election in which the Republican Party lies about this issue while the Democratic Party hides from it.
Granted, “Curtail future damage!” is not an inspiring battle cry. “To the Bastille!” it is not. Yet millions of young people have begun to understand the stakes, their fears given voice by that young lady from Sweden, with her moral intelligence and her capacity to wield the truth like a rapier.
Gillis also appeared in the paper in June 2018 to mark the 30th anniversary of NASA scientist and climate scold James Hansen’s jeremiad to Congress on global warming (now “climate change”). The Cato Institute checked up on Hansen’s predictions and came away less than impressed.