We keep Politico's nom de snark stashed away for use only on special occasions here in the shebeen. This is because the publication has cleaned up quite a bit of its act since the day when the Two Presiding Geniuses left to launch their next project. For example, Politico has been doing quite a good job keeping track of the mischief being done at the Cabinet level by All The Best People hired by Camp Runamuck through its oh-so-rigorous vetting process.
On Monday, Politico brought us a report about how this mischief is crippling our response to the great existential crisis of our time, namely, by burying any mention of the effects of the climate crisis on American agriculture-or, to use its brand name, food.
The studies range from a groundbreaking discovery that rice loses vitamins in a carbon-rich environment - a potentially serious health concern for the 600 million people world-wide whose diet consists mostly of rice - to a finding that climate change could exacerbate allergy seasons to a warning to farmers about the reduction in quality of grasses important for raising cattle.
All of these studies were peer-reviewed by scientists and cleared through the non-partisan Agricultural Research Service, one of the world’s leading sources of scientific information for farmers and consumers. None of the studies were focused on the causes of global warming – an often politically charged issue. Rather, the research examined the wide-ranging effects of rising carbon dioxide, increasing temperatures and volatile weather.
The people most directly affected by these phenomena know what's going on. No matter if you're a farmer in Nebraska, or a rancher in Colorado, or a longline skipper from Massachusetts, you know that something screwy is going on with the climate because you're right in the middle of it and it's costing you money.
As Jane Fleming Kleeb, the Nebraska state Democratic chairman, put it in a recent op-ed:
"What I have experienced is the hope and creativity that farmers and ranchers have demonstrated as they already are confronting climate change on their own," she said, while also standing solidly together to protect their property rights. "They don't need a white paper to tell them about climate change; they are installing wind and solar and water sensors and planting cover crops."
The key to developing a strong enough policy to confront the crisis and to do so within a democratic republic-if such a thing is possible, and I'm not sure it is-is to make sure that all the people most directly affected by it have enough information to connect the damage that is being done to their livelihoods to the crisis itself. The climate crisis has to be demystified for those farmers and ranchers and fisherfolk. This, it seems, is something this administration is consciously trying to avoid.
“The intent is to try to suppress a message - in this case, the increasing danger of human-caused climate change,” said Michael Mann, a leading climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University. “Who loses out? The people, who are already suffering the impacts of sea level rise and unprecedented super storms, droughts, wildfires and heat waves.”...
... a POLITICO investigation revealed a persistent pattern in which the Trump administration refused to draw attention to findings that show the potential dangers and consequences of climate change, covering dozens of separate studies. The administration’s moves flout decades of department practice of promoting its research in the spirit of educating farmers and consumers around the world, according to an analysis of USDA communications under previous administrations.
The lack of promotion means research from scores of government scientists receives less public attention. Climate-related studies are still being published without fanfare in scientific journals, but they can be very difficult to find. The USDA doesn’t post all its studies in one place.
Good thing, too. Because, when Washington is underwater, we're going to have to move the capitol to Tippecanoe County, Indiana, anyway.
Born - 2.8 million B.C.
Died - Sooner Than It Should Have
C.O.D. - Greed and Stupidity (Deliberate).
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