The first section of this morning's Ft. Lauderdale News Sun Sentinel contained two chilling, attention-grabbing stories. The first, on page 5A carried the headline, Report: Planet likely to be too hot by end of century; the second, on page 8A offered Nazi leader's long-lost diary offers new insights.
We'll get to the first story in a couple of paragraphs. For the nonce, the article about the "Nazi leader's long-lost diary" shall occupy our attention. The diary in question is the work of Alfred Rosenberg (1894-1946), who played a pivotal role in the extermination of millions of Jews, Romani and other people during World War II. Rosenberg who, despite his last name was not Jewish, served as one of the Nazi Party leaders during Hitler's imprisonment following the failed 1923 "Beer Hall Putsch." While the future Fürher was writing Mein Kampf, in his jail cell, Rosenberg was hard at work on his "masterpiece," a rambling racial diatribe entitled "The Myth of the Twentieth Century" (Der Mythus des 20. Jahrhunderts). Rosenberg would go on to become editor of Völkischer Beobachter, the official Nazi paper, and Leader of the Foreign Policy Office from 1933-1945. He was captured at the end of the war, tried at Nuremberg, and found guilty of conspiracy to commit crimes against humanity; planning initiating and waging wars of aggression, and war crimes. He was sentenced to death and executed on October 16, 1946.
According to a preliminary U.S. government assessment, Rosenberg's diary "could offer new insight into meetings he had with Hitler and other top Nazi leaders, including Heinrich Himmler and Herman Goering." According to one historian who has seen the diary, ". . . it will be an important source of information to historians that complements, and in part contradicts already known documentation. . . .It is of considerable importance for the study of the Nazi era, including the history of the Holocaust."
Not that anyone with an ounce of sanity or humanity requires any additional proof of the utterly unfathomable evil perpetrated by the Third Reich. Nazi psycopathy was so unspeakably twisted that they truly believed the wind of history was at their back. As such, they documented virtually every move, every stratagem, every breath they ever took; it's all there for us to read, to view and to hear. And yet, as anyone with internet access knows, there are hundreds of websites devoted to Holocaust denial. How, one wonders, can anyone be so blinded by racial and ethnic hatred as to deny that the most meticulously-documented abomination in all human history never occurred; to steadfastly affirm and avow that each and every document, each and every historic 'fact' has been created by the very people who claimed to be its victims? I guess I'm just a tad too lucid and rational to grasp such lunacy. To me, there are such things as incontrovertible historic facts.
Which brings us to the article on page 5A -- the one about "Planet likely to be too hot by end of century." According to a new report issued by the International Energy Agency, ". . . emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases are growing so fast that the world will likely exceed a safe limit in average global temperatures by the end of the century." According to their report, carbon dioxide emissions grew at a rate of 1.4% in 2012, reaching a record high of 31.6 gigatons released into the atmosphere. Unless seriously reversed, IEA scientists conclude, the world's average temperatures are on track to increase between 6.5 and 9.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2099. Soaring temperatures, of course, would have profound implications for everything from water supplies and electricity production to agriculture and public health.
There are some bright signs on the horizon: of late, emissions of greenhouse gases have be falling in the U.S. to levels not seen since the mid-1990s -- thanks largely to a natural gas boom. Also, just the other day President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to phase out hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) -- a potent heat-trapping chemical used in appliances as a refrigerant. Still, reducing HFCs addresses only a tiny element of climate change. So much has to be done by the countries of the world. The scientific facts are overwhelming; unless we act smartly -- and as one planet -- we are going to burn up.
But just as there are millions of people who willfully blind themselves to historic facts and deny the reality of the Holocaust, so too are there millions upon millions who -- willfully or not -- blind themselves to scientific facts by denying the reality of Global Warming. And I truly regret to report that more than 100 of them are elected members of the United States Congress. Unbelievably, there are nearly 90 representatives and 22 senators who simply deny (or at best, "just aren't convinced") that man-made global warming is real or that carbon dioxide is harmful. The list includes such well-known members of the House as Speaker John Boehner, Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Steve King (R-IA), Dana Rohrbacher (R-CA) and Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senators such as Tom Coburn (R-OK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL). And lest anyone think we are singling out Republicans for partisan effect, we are not; there simply isn't a single Democrat on the list of Congressional climate deniers . . .
Please don't get the idea that I am equating those who deny man-made global warming with those who deny the reality of the Holocaust; such is not the case. Those who deny the Holocaust inhabit a truly perverse parallel universe in which reality's puppet-strings are always being manipulated by a conspiratorial cabal of omnipotent, indescribably malevolent Jews and Zionists. Indeed, if one spends even an hour glancing through some of deniers' websites, one is forced to conclude that if God, in Co's (meaning "His or Hers") infinite wisdom had not created the Jews, anti-Semites, in their infinite insanity, would have. These are truly sick, evil people.
Global warming deniers -- from Bachmann and Boehner to Portman and Paul -- are neither sick nor evil. What they are is willfully self-deluded. And unlike Holocaust denying, the mere mention of which would cause any political career to die aborning (except, perhaps in Paraguay or a number of authoritarian Muslim countries) questioning or denying global warming can act as a positive political "dog whistle" -- a notification to the far-right that like them, they too disdain the dictates of effete pointy-headed intellectuals who think they know more than so-called "real" people. Holocaust deniers see conspiracies of Jews and Zionists; with those who deny global warming its liberals, progressives and intellectuals.
If this "blessed plot, this earth, this realm . . ." is to survive, we, its inhabitants are going to have to get our act together and recognize our mutual stewardship. If this revolutionary change is to occur, it will of course take the leadership of the United States. And if the United States is to lead, it will require those who deny the reality of science get the hell out of the way.
At this late date, fables are for fools . . .
©2013 Kurt F. Stone