Colson: Ken Buck — a drowning Republican ostrich
Hit & Run
Some may have forgotten, but there were plenty of warnings back in 2015 that congressional hopeful Ken Buck, who hails from Weld County in northern Colorado, was too dumb to be elected to such an important office as U.S. representative of Colorado’s 4th Congressional District.
He won anyway, and now he’s proved those warnings to be correct, with his comments concerning efforts by the U.S. Navy to deal with the impending floods of seawater threatening to inundate the Naval Station Norfolk, said to be the largest naval base in the world.
For those who don’t know, climate-change scientists have been warning for years that the world’s oceans may rise by anywhere from 5 to 30 feet or so in the coming decades.
Unfortunately for much of the Eastern Seaboard of the United States, that future is now.
Up and down the East Coast, rising seawaters have invaded creeks and tidal pools, caused flooding of neighborhoods, coastal roadways and bridges, and even the historic district of Alexandria, Virginia, just south of Washington, D.C.
In one instance, the only road to Tybee Island, Georgia, crosses a bridge that disappears beneath the rising waters several times a year, cutting the island’s population off from the mainland — and if the waters keep rising, that might well become a permanent condition.
And at Norfolk, at the point where the Chesapeake Bay meets the Atlantic Ocean in Virginia, floodwaters have inundated neighborhoods near the shore, leaving behind a salty stain that kills trees and lawns, not to mention soaking the homes along the streets.
Some streets in Norfolk have become so deeply flooded, according to a story in The New York Times, the city has erected “huge vertical rulers” to alert motorists that the floodwater may be too deep to drive through.
In Fort Lauderdale, Florida, just north of the Miami metroplex, a man building a new home for his family reportedly has spent $500,000 or so to build up the level of his lot in an effort to get the house higher than the waters that regularly wash over the surrounding streets.
Our Republican-dominated Congress, however, has refused to allocate the needed money and resources that will be needed to hold back the waters even temporarily, its members preferring to sit on their climate-change-denying asses and point fingers in all directions rather than loosen up the federal purse strings.
And Buck, predictably, has been at the front of the denial brigade as he and his fellow politicians insist that any talk about global warming is overblown at best and at worst a conspiracy of sinister federal authorities who want to gain greater control over the politics and lives of, well, of everybody everywhere.
Earlier this year, when military planners tried to adopt a broad climate-change response strategy, the Republican Congress denied them the funds they needed. Some, I should note, estimate the need in the billions or even trillions of dollars as the crisis and the floodwaters deepen.
“When we distract our military with a radical climate-change agenda, we detract from their main purpose of defending America from enemies,” Buck said, implying that the fading and faltering Islamic State is more of a threat to American security and safety than the oceans that are threatening to wash major cities out to sea.
Buck sponsored a measure in Congress this year to prohibit taxpayer funds from being spent on what the military calls “climate resilience” planning. It passed in the House but is pending in the Senate.
An image comes to mind of an ostrich with his head firmly planted in the ground, even though the bird’s feet (and, indeed, its head if it could be seen) are underwater.
In The New York Times, accompanying an article about the troublesome floodwaters along the East Coast, is a map showing a sharp increase in the frequency of “sunny-day flooding,” meaning floods that are not associated with storm or rain but are caused by rising seas, tidal surges and other phenomena having to do with the oceans themselves, not the skies. In some areas, the flood frequency has risen tenfold since 1975.
And this is only the beginning, the experts agree.
As the polar ice caps melt away, two things will happen.
First, with the disappearance of the reflective snow and ice in the polar zones, the permafrosted ground will warm up, releasing untold amounts of greenhouse gases that had been trapped in the frozen ground.
Resultingly, global warming will speed up as more of the sun’s energy is trapped in our thickening atmosphere.
And that means that even as the coasts of all land masses are overrun by floods, the upper airs of the atmosphere will become increasingly roiled by hurricanes, cyclones, tornadoes and all manner of bad-weather phenomena.
Some say the oceans could rise by as much as 30 to 70 feet, and it could happen pretty quickly (geologically speaking), if the fossil record from the last inter-glacial warming period (about 125,000 years ago) is anything like what we’re about to experience.
But, hey, as long as the current crop of Republicans in Congress are able to hold onto their fat-cat government paychecks, pensions and other benefits, why worry about the future?
That will be somebody else’s problem.
Right, Mr. Buck?
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