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From: TomDispatch <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wed, Aug 4, 2010 at 7:26 AM
Subject: Tomgram: Bill McKibben, A Wilted Senate on a Heating Planet
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TomDispatch.com: A Regular Antidote to the Mainstream Media
August 4, 2010
Tomgram: Bill McKibben, A Wilted Senate on a Heating Planet

Where are they now?  Last winter, when record snowstorms brought life in the northeast corridor to a halt, Virginia Republicans  launched a web ad, “12 inches of global warming,” and the family of Oklahoma senator and global warming “skeptic” Jim Inhofe built an igloo on the national mall, labeling it “Al Gore’s new home.”  Now, as Xtreme weather has been setting new records for pure swelter along that same corridor (and  pure drench in the Midwest), who’s building a sweat lodge on the Mall labeled “Jim Inhofe’s new home”?  Where are the mocking Democratic web ads?  Has the president said a word?  In fact, amid temperatures that hit  105 degrees and above in the East, has anyone said a word?  Do you realize just how rare are the stories in major papers or on the TV news that even suggest heavily covered weird weather in our nation and elsewhere could in any way be linked to global warming in a year that may break world warmth records?

Sweltering New York --  103 in the shade and getting hotter, it seemed -- with its aging power infrastructure teetering at the edge of serial blackout, was the drumroll for the start of my 66th year on this planet.  Now, at a moment when you can hardly check out the news and not notice a weather anomaly that looks curiously like  the new norm -- heat of a sort  Moscow has never seen, drenching monsoon rains and floods, killing more than a thousand people, that are a  singular first in Pakistan -- the mainstream media has largely left global warming in a ditch somewhere, especially when it comes to weather reporting.  Writers at Scientific American may think that global warming is, by now,  “undeniable,” but the U.S. Senate, undoubtedly aware not only of the temperature outside but of the degree of American media (and public) denial about it, has reached other conclusions entirely.

Bill McKibben,  TomDispatch regular and author of the invaluable new book,  Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, assesses our national moment in the heat and just how wilted we’ve seemed to be.  (And while you're at it, catch him in Timothy MacBain's latest TomCast audio interview discussing why the public needs to lead the fight against global warming by clicking  here or, to download it to your iPod,  here.)  Tom

We’re Hot as Hell and We’re Not Going to Take It Any More
Three Steps to Establish a Politics of Global Warming

By Bill McKibben

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the planet has just come through the warmest decade, the warmest 12 months, the warmest six months, and the warmest April, May, and June on record.

* A “staggering” new  study from Canadian researchers has shown that warmer seawater has reduced phytoplankton, the base of the marine food chain, by 40% since 1950.

Nine nations have so far set their all-time temperature records in 2010, including Russia (111 degrees), Niger (118), Sudan (121), Saudi Arabia and Iraq (126 apiece), and Pakistan, which also set the  new all-time Asia record in May: a hair under 130 degrees. I can turn my oven to 130 degrees.

* And then, in late July, the U.S. Senate decided to do exactly nothing about climate change. They didn’t do less than they could have -- they did nothing, preserving a perfect two-decade bipartisan record of no action. Senate majority leader Harry Reid decided not even to schedule a vote on legislation that would have capped carbon emissions.

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