The entire issue of the next N.Y. Times Sunday Magazine (8.5) is devoted to the steadily losing war against climate change. Written by Nathaniel Rich and titled “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change,” the central thesis is that civilization could have arrested climate change if responsible meaures had been taken during the mid to late ’80s, or more precisely during the George H.W. Bush administration.
Alas, former New Hampshire governor John Sununu, Bush’s chief of staff, successfully argued against such measures, and so the opportunity was lost. Have tens of thousands aided and abetted, including President Trump? Of course, but Sununu stands alone — the satanic ogre who did more than any other single person in a position of power to block constructive measures against climate change during a key period, and who set forces in motion that will essentially doom millions to untold meteorological horrors.
From a 2.6.90 N.Y. Times story titled “Bush Asks Cautious Response To Threat of Global Warming“: “President Bush called today for a cautious response to the threat of global warming, pleasing those in his Administration who want a deliberate policy but disappointing many environmentalists.
“In a speech to an international environmental group, the President called for global action but warned against policies that would interfere with economic growth and the free market.
“Administration officials said the speech struck a middle ground between conflicting positions among Mr. Bush’s aides. His chief of staff, John H. Sununu, wanted to emphasize scientific uncertainties about global warming and to warn of economic dangers in rushing to act. Several agency heads, including William K. Reilly, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, pressed for a stronger message of America’s commitment to action.”
Sununu quote #1: “The global warming crisis is just the latest surrogate for an over-arching agenda of anti-growth and anti-development. This agenda grew and gathered support in the years following World War II.” Sununu quote #2: “Nature will eventually do what nature has always done. It will respond in a self-stabilizing manner over the long term with moderate variability over multi-decade periods and with occasional significant variability over the short term.”‘
Asked on PBS to summarize the conclusion of his lengthy N.Y. Times report, Rich said that “the simple political answer, a very narrow answer, which is that [in] the first George Bush administration…chief of staff John Sununu was an engineer [and] was very skeptical about the science of global warning, and he suspected that it would be used by a cabal of folks who wanted to suppress growth and economic advancement, and he managed to win an internal fight in that White House against action.”
Sununu quote #1: “The global warming crisis is just the latest surrogate for an over-arching agenda of anti-growth and anti-development. This agenda grew and gathered support in the years following World War II.” Sununu quote #2: “Nature will eventually do what nature has always done. It will respond in a self-stabilizing manner over the long term with moderate variability over multi-decade periods and with occasional significant variability over the short term.”
Beginning of Rich piece: “The world has warmed more than one degree Celsius since the Industrial Revolution. The Paris climate agreement — the nonbinding, unenforceable and already unheeded treaty signed on Earth Day in 2016 — hoped to restrict warming to two degrees. The odds of succeeding, according to a recent study based on current emissions trends, are one in 20.
“If by miracle we are able to limit warming to two degrees, we will only have to negotiate the extinction of the world’s tropical reefs, sea-level rise of several meters and the abandonment of the Persian Gulf. The climate scientist James Hansen has called two-degree warming ‘a prescription for long-term disaster.’ Long-term disaster is now the best-case scenario.
“Three-degree warming is a prescription for short-term disaster: forests in the Arctic and the loss of most coastal cities. Robert Watson, a former director of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has argued that three-degree warming is the realistic minimum. Four degrees: Europe in permanent drought; vast areas of China, India and Bangladesh claimed by desert; Polynesia swallowed by the sea; the Colorado River thinned to a trickle; the American Southwest largely uninhabitable.
“The prospect of a five-degree warming has prompted some of the world’s leading climate scientists to warn of the end of human civilization.
“Is it a comfort or a curse, the knowledge that we could have avoided all this?
“Because in the decade that ran from 1979 to 1989, we had an excellent opportunity to solve the climate crisis. The world’s major powers came within several signatures of endorsing a binding, global framework to reduce carbon emissions — far closer than we’ve come since. During those years, the conditions for success could not have been more favorable. The obstacles we blame for our current inaction had yet to emerge. Almost nothing stood in our way — nothing except ourselves.”