“I, therefore, juxtapose feminist posthumanist theories and feminist food studies scholarship to demonstrate how eastern fox squirrels are subjected to gendered, racialized, and speciesist thinking in the popular news media as a result of their feeding/eating practices, their unique and unfixed spatial arrangements in the greater Los Angeles region, and the western, modernist human frame through which humans interpret these actions.”
– Professor Teresa Lloro-Bidart (below)
“Trump and the climate-destroyers he brought into office with him, such as Rex Tillerson and Scott Pruitt, are not driven by compassion for victims. They are animated by a callous and rapacious search for profits for themselves and their cronies. If they cared about children killed by noxious gases, they wouldn’t want to ban Syrian refugees like the Kurds from the United States. Nor would they want to spew ever more tons of the most noxious gas of all into the blue skies of the only planetary home the human race has.”
– Professor Juan Cole, The Nation (below)
It’s absurd and offensive enough when a “liberal studies” professor from California State Polytechnic University (!) wastes our tax and tuition money writing worthless gibberish for an “academic” journal like Gender, Place and Culture.
In what some will call a scholarly article, Teresa Lloro-Bidart, PhD explains how a relatively recent shift in reddish-brown garbage-eating tree squirrel demographics
presents a unique opportunity to question and re-theorize the ontological given of “otherness” that manifests, in part, through a politics whereby animal food choices “[come] to stand in for both compliance and resistance to the dominant forces in [human] culture.” I, therefore, juxtapose feminist posthumanist theories and feminist food studies scholarship to demonstrate how eastern fox squirrels are subjected to gendered, racialized, and speciesist thinking in the popular news media as a result of their feeding/eating practices, their unique and unfixed spatial arrangements in the greater Los Angeles region, and the western, modernist human frame through which humans interpret these actions.
Thankfully, this extract from an abstract will be seen by few people outside Ms. Lloro-Bidart’s circle of like-minded academics with too much taxpayer support. Unfortunately, other academician nonsense gets far more attention, indoctrinates too many of our children, and influences too many important public policies, especially on energy and climate.
The ‘Miracle Molecule’ as Poison
University of Michigan history professor Juan Cole’s April 17 article in The Nation is a case in point. (You can’t make this stuff up, nor can you say any longer that it’s just an isolated case, an aberration.)
Bashar al Assad’s sarin gas attack killed people and “consumed the world’s attention,” Professor Cole intones. But President Trump is far worse. He is committed to releasing hundreds of thousands of tons a day “of a far more deadly gas – carbon dioxide.”
A deadly gas? Carbon dioxide is the Miracle Molecule that enables plants to grow and makes all life on Earth possible. Plants absorb CO2 exhaled by humans and emitted by burning wood, dung, fossil fuels and biofuels – and then release oxygen that humans and most animals need to survive.
Hundreds of studies demonstrate how slightly higher atmospheric CO2 levels (rising from 0.03% or 300 parts per million a century ago to 0.04% or 400 ppm today) are making crop, forest and grassland plants more drought resistant, helping them grow faster and better, and “greening” vast areas that had been brown and barren deserts.
Claims that CO2 has replaced the solar and other powerful natural forces that have always controlled Earth’s climate, and is now causing “dangerous manmade climate change,” are not supported by actual planetary evidence that could survive peer review, despite any supposed 97% consensus, or any analysis beyond the closed circle of alarmist scientists who are all chasing more government grants and seek to protect one another’s data, analyses, conclusions, reputations and funding.
Earth as Venus?
Professor Cole goes even further off the deep end when he pontificates that “CO2 is a deadly greenhouse gas that turned Venus into a torrid hellhole hot enough to melt lead.” The world is putting “32 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere” every year, he warns, and the United States emitted “5.17 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2016 all by itself – some 16 percent of the total.” Turning Earth into Venus could easily happen, and soon, he implies. Please breathe deeply and slowly, Mr. Cole.
Venus is 26 million miles closer to the Sun than Planet Earth – which likely plays at least some small role in making the Evening Star hot and uninhabitable. Another factor might be Venus’s atmospheric composition: 96.5% carbon dioxide, with the remainder being mostly nitrogen.
That’s 965,000 parts per million – 2,412 times Earth’s 400 ppm. That concentration would indeed be deadly for most life on this planet, but it will take us a few more years to get to that point, even if humanity keeps emitting such prodigious amounts of CO2 each year.
Even CO2 that is washed out of the atmosphere “typically goes straight into the oceans,” Prof. Cole continues, “where it turns them acidic,” threatening a “mass die-off of marine life.” What absurd bunk.
Fossil records show that marine life thrived when CO2 levels were many times higher during past geologic eras. Far from being or becoming acidic, the oceans are mildly alkaline. Their vast volumes of water will not become acidic from human fossil fuel use: that is, to drop from their current pH of 8.1 into the acidic realm below 7.0 on this logarithmic scale.
Oceans may become slightly less alkaline with another century or two of human carbon dioxide emissions, but most marine organisms will be unaffected, while others will adapt or evolve. Moreover, mankind’s ultimate resource – our creative minds – will likely invent miraculous new non-carbon energy technologies long before even that slight reduction in alkalinity actually occurs.
(Someone should also remind the good professor that all those renewable energy sources he seems to favor – wood, animal dung, charcoal, ethanol, wood chips, methane from plant waste digesters and so on – also generate carbon dioxide when they are burned. And the amounts we can get from anything short of converting nearly all cropland and wildlife habitat worldwide into biofuel plantations would support far more basic life styles and living standards than even college professors and students will likely tolerate.)
More Floods, Droughts?
In his next few paragraphs, Professor Cole returns to more mundane matters – blaming fossil fuels and carbon dioxide for floods, droughts and rising seas.
Scientists, he says, have been able to find “no natural explanation for how rapidly Syria has been drying out over the past century or for the withering severity of the latest drought.” Human-caused climate change, they concluded, “made this Frankendrought as much as three times more likely to happen than if our coal plants, factories and automobiles had left Mother Nature alone.”
Just as bad, a “massive flood in Pakistan in 2010 killed 2,000 people, made 20 million homeless, and for a time submerged a fifth of the country.” That too happened because “human-caused climate change is messing with the jet stream,” say other scientists. As fossil fuels heat the Earth, “the jet stream sometimes gets stuck in a particular pattern, fixing weather extremes such as droughts in place for longer.”
Syria has been drying out since the middle of World War I, according to this timeline, and the Dust Bowl dried up much of the United States during the 1930s, sending millions of Americans far from home, in search of jobs and better lives. But now, Cole says, we must contend with manmade, CO2-driven Frankendroughts – to go along with Frankenfood, Frankenenergy, Frankenfloods, Frankenseas and other fearsome monsters that inhabit the anti-technology activists’ universe.
Roman, Mayan, Mesopotamian, Chinese, Egyptian, Anasazi and other cultures prospered in warm, wet periods and collapsed during cold and drought eras, climate historians Dennis Avery and John Brooke observe. This happened many times, in centuries-long patterns of success and affluence, followed by long periods of utter failure when millions died and millions more migrated. The cold, stormy periods of crop failures, disease, starvation and death described in Brian Fagan’s The Little Ice Age occurred when carbon dioxide levels were 280 ppm or lower.
One of the longest droughts in history still afflicts an area that for more than 1,000 years was a verdant savannah and river region, populated by elephants, hippopotami, crocodiles, giraffes, antelope, other wildlife, and human hunters – but for the past five millennia has been the vast Sahara Desert. It dried up because of the same powerful and still poorly understood natural forces that caused ice ages, little ice ages, Roman and Medieval warm periods, and countless other climate changes. Humans played no role.
Blaming fossil fuels for today’s climate and weather problems is disingenuous fear-mongering.
Rising Seas by Feet?
Manmade climate change is also “expected to raise sea levels some four feet by the end of this century. With storm surges, the loss of life could be substantial,” Cole claims next, citing no experts.
However, as meteorologist Robert Endlich points out in his recent MasterResource.org post, Virginia tide gages show perceived sea level changes of only 0.2 inches per year, or 20 inches per century – and a large portion of that is not melting ice or rising seas at all. Instead, much of what appears to be sea levels getting higher and inundating more coastal areas is actually lands subsiding for multiple reasons, causing coastal areas to dip below ocean waters that are rising very little.
Indeed, sea levels worldwide have risen some 400 feet since the last major ice age ended – with no help from humans! In recent decades, seas have actually been rising at only seven inches per century. That may cause a few problems, especially when hurricanes and “superstorms” hit during high tide and full moon, but it is hardly the catastrophe that Juan Cole, Al Gore and other alarmists suggest.
Killer Carbon Dioxide
In his final tirade, Professor Cole fumes:
Trump and the climate-destroyers he brought into office with him, such as Rex Tillerson and Scott Pruitt, are not driven by compassion for victims. They are animated by a callous and rapacious search for profits for themselves and their cronies. If they cared about children killed by noxious gases, they wouldn’t want to ban Syrian refugees like the Kurds from the United States. Nor would they want to spew ever more tons of the most noxious gas of all into the blue skies of the only planetary home the human race has.
As Alex Epstein and I and many others have repeatedly pointed out – to no avail, when speaking to activists of the eco-imperialist Left – reliable, affordable carbon-based energy improves living standards, saves lives, supports job creation and preservation, and benefits our poorest families most.
Professor Cole would have us safeguard people and planet from a host of exaggerated, fabricated and illusory manmade climate change cataclysms, by banning the fossil fuels that still provide more than 80% of America’s and the world’s energy. He would have us ignore the inconvenient reality that no one is dying from any climate or weather events that can be tied by any convincing evidence to those vital fuels.
Infinitely worse, he would have us ignore the horrid reality that, in Earth’s most impoverished regions, more than two billion people still burn firewood, charcoal and dung in open indoor and outdoor fires for cooking and heating. For them, access to oil, coal, natural gas and electricity is literally a matter of life and death.
In those destitute, desperate regions, millions are dying every year from lung infections caused by pollution from these open fires. Millions more perish annually from intestinal diseases caused by bacteria-infested food and water. Still more millions die because medicines spoil due to lack of refrigeration, and because healthcare is primitive at best in clinics and hospitals that still do not have electricity, clean water, proper sanitation, refrigeration or even window screens to keep disease-infested insects out.
It is frightening to think that academics like this ill-educated history professor are indoctrinating our children. It is more frightening to realize they are advancing policies that will impair livelihoods and living standards in developed nations – and help perpetuate energy deprivation, poverty, misery, disease, malnutrition and premature death in the most impoverished countries on the only planet they have.
Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.