This will be out of character for me, a mostly genial, calm human being.
But I can stand by quietly no longer. You sir, are condeming my generation to throw flowers on the graves of those that will die by climate change, if I am not one of the victims eventually myself.
When I compare you to him, I want you to consider there is no lower stature than Donald Trump, a man responsible for the near destruction of the United States of America. His sheer evil, his unbridled malevolence, is rarely matched throughout history, and no, Senator Manchin, I do not think you are an insurrectionist. But if we do not address this existential threat to humanity it will not go away.
Humans might. Humanity might very well face an extinction level calamity if we do nothing. Perhaps at your age this is not concerning to you. Perhaps you are ignorant of the science, or too bought to care.
We have a planet to attend to. Actually, it is you, me, and millions of desperate people around the planet who face threats to their lives because of a man named Manchin, a woman named Sinema, and the national metastatic cancer that is the Republican party.
You want to act like some kind of heroic arbiter of the middle, when all you are is just a bought and sold, generic, and unremarkable politician. Yet here you are, threatening my very existence. And for what? Coal money? Your golfing buddies being able to choke the planet with their disgusting pollution?
This is our last best chance to save this planet from climate destruction, and the likes of you get to doom the planet? This is what it comes down to? A misguided, greedy Napoleonic Senator gets to decide for my baby brother, for my cousins, for future generations that they have to move, or drown, or burn up when the wet bulb temperature makes their environment inhospitable to human life.
Now you probably don’t know what wet bulb means. So I will sum it up. Basically the air becomes too thick for sweat to evaporate, and the person suffocates.
And do you know just how many you and your yacht rock associates imperil? 250 million. At a minimum. Wasting this last best chance to save humanity from the perilous effects of climate change will threaten the lives of 250 million human beings. And that is just the wet bulb side of things.
It’s getting hot in here. In a poster presented at this week’s meeting of the American Geophysical Union, researchers from Columbia University’s Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory found that over the next 45 years, intense heat conditions could become not only stronger, but also more frequent, eventually exposing 250 million people to potentially dangerous heat conditions, like the ones that struck Iran and Pakistan earlier this year.
Such extreme weather conditions could lead to dramatic changes in how society operates in order to cope with the new normal. Physical activity during the daytime on those days could be deadly, so agricultural or construction jobs might have to shift to cooler parts of the day, such as the evening. And electrical demands during the summer could increase even more, as air conditioning becomes not just a luxury, but a tool of survival.
The study authors agree with other recent research that suggests that some areas of the world could become uninhabitable because of heat in the next century.
Next up we have sea level rise which could displace billions. With a B. Then there are hurricanes, severe weather outbreaks, and wildfires; oh those are cute. That is where a fire breaks out because of massive unrelenting drought and burns down entire towns. Yes Senator. Entire towns. To the ground. Like a housefire, only, as I said, a town. And this said town, with schools, and homes, and banks, and you know, humans, has a real impact on the economy.
Until it burns down.
The Dixie Fire, swollen by bone-dry vegetation and 40 mph (64 kph) gusts, raged through the northern Sierra Nevada community of Greenville on Wednesday. A gas station, church, hotel, museum and bar were among the fixtures gutted in the town dating back to California’s gold rush era where some wooden buildings were more than 100 years old.
The fire “burnt down our entire downtown. Our historical buildings, families’ homes, small businesses, and our children’s schools are completely lost,” Plumas County Supervisor Kevin Goss wrote on Facebook.
Plumas County Sheriff Tom Johns, a lifelong resident of Greenville, said that “well over” 100 homes were destroyed, as well as businesses.
Now that is California. Sadly, our close friends up north in British Columbia suffered a similar tragedy, when the town suffered temperatures forty degrees above normal. Poor Lytton, B.C. was basically cooked alive by a heat wave.
A wildfire that forced people to flee a small town in British Columbia that had set record high temperatures for Canada on three consecutive days burned out of control Thursday as relatives desperately sought information on evacuees.
The roughly 1,000 residents of Lytton had to abandon their homes with just a few minutes notice Wednesday evening, after searing the previous day under a record high of 121.2 F (49.6 C).
The province’s public safety minister, Mike Farnworth, said Thursday afternoon that most homes and buildings in Lytton had been destroyed and some residents were unaccounted for.
All told, in British Columbia, 815 people died in one week. This is because the air cooked people who were not accustomed to being in a stove, after a lifetime of cooking on one, living a life in a previously temperate environment. But you don’t care. Even though over half of Seattle does not have air conditioning, and it too cooked, and had it been slightly worse tens of thousands could have died, you don’t care.
Well understand this; if you don’t care about Americans dying, for the purposes of dealing with a bean counter such as yourself, dead Americans are really bad for the economy you claim to care so much about.
To that end, congratulations. You have managed to do with the mere threat of a vote what other men could not do with a nuclear weapon: Threaten the whole of humanity.
You make Trump look like a shoplifter in a candy store.
It doesn’t have to be this way, but Joe Manchin only believes in the intelligence of Joe Manchin.
And when the day comes when humanity is imperiled by climate change more so than even now, the world will have its opinions on your intelligence. It will look at your record, and your friends, and your donations, and your family. It will want to know what was so special about the small man from West Virginia who doomed it.
And the answer will be nothing. You are just another cynical politician, who can’t see beyond his own needs and greed. You can’t envision the damage you are creating because your world view is informed by the praise you get from small minded pundits and deep pocketed donors. You forgot that legacies are not always positive, and that it is better to be an anonymous hero, than a famous villain.
And make no mistake, Senator. Humanity will judge.
But here you are turning your back on the planet, and casting into peril hundreds of millions of humans worldwide. And ultimately, that will be your legacy, Senator.
You will be the man who doomed the planet by omission, the man who let the coasts drown, and the forests burn and the polar ice caps melt without so much as mounting even the slightest efforts to preserve our future.
And, before I go, remember this-
The late great John Denver once called your home state, West Virginia, “Almost Heaven.” So I ask one favor Senator:
Think about what the potential, and preventable, opposite of that is.
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