Fox's Jesse Watters Explains We Can Just 'Adapt' Our Way Out Of Climate Emergency

Fox News idiot Jesse Watters has a terrific idea: Instead of trying to prevent the Earth's climate from continuing to get warmer, how about we just "adapt" to it? That should be easy, especially since he's not the one who'll be explaining to three billion people in Earth's tropical zones that all they need to do is get used to temperatures that, by 2070, may become literally too hot to sustain human life.

We suppose that the bizarre segment from Fox's "The Five" yesterday is at least noteworthy for illustrating how the locus of climate denial has shifted: Instead of insisting there's no such thing as global warming, the rightwing smarmsters have moved on to saying it's no big deal. Mind you, they also suggest that maybe it's fake anyway, since people working to get the world off the fossil fuel teat still participate in society, the hypocrites. For instance, that John Kerry, Joe Biden's special envoy for climate, still flies on airplanes to have in-person meetings with world leaders.

Here's the clip, via Media Matters:

Waters noted that, since the start of the Biden administration in January, John Kerry has traveled to a whole bunch of countries, then made the fact-free claim that the total of those flights was "more than like a city's emissions" — which we aren't going to bother fact-checking, because what city, and for what period of time, and also just no.

We'll simply note that this is merely another whataboutism con job along the lines of complaining that Al Gore has a large house. As The Nationexplained years ago, actually tackling the climate emergency will require international changes in energy production and use. One person's carbon footprint only matters in that context, and individual consumer choices only nibble around the edges. [That said, every person should do what's in their power to nibble around the edges, and Official Wonkette Editorial Policy is "stop saying only institutional change matters and discounting any personal responsibility for one's own consumer choices, it annoys Rebecca and people's actions add up."]

So, on to Watters's "thoughts" on adaptation to climate change, helpfully transcribed at Joe. My. God.:

Do you really think the Chinese and these Middle Eastern oil kingdoms are gonna listen to John Kerry and stop fossil fuels? Come on, man. He's just in it for the luxury travel. If you want to stop climate change, you don't fight climate change.

Leaving aside the weird notion that the husband of a ketchup heiress is somehow starved for the chance to travel first-class, the whole point of Kerry's climate diplomacy is getting the rest of the world to live up to, and expand on, the commitments they've already made under the Paris climate agreement. He's not just starting from scratch here, and international agreements really are the entire game.

It's not like John Kerry has to watch Fox to know that China is key to decarbonization worldwide — although if you only watched Fox, you might also not know that China is cleaning America's clock when it comes to developing and adopting EVs and electric-powered bus fleets. Is China doing enough? Not yet, and that's why America and the EU need to do the whole leadership thing Watters mocks.

(Bizarrely, in the full segment, another of the panelists — I am blessed not to know her name — indignantly pointed out that Kerry himself has acknowledged that even if the USA immediately stopped all greenhouse emissions, the effect on global warming would be minimal. You and I, knowing that word "global," might think that's a reason we have an international climate envoy; she saw it as absolute proof that we shouldn't change anything at all.)

Then it's time for the glib "we'll adapt!" bullshit:

If it's getting warmer, you adapt to it. Let's just say, the sea levels rise a couple inches over the next century. It's a great civilization we have here. I think we can adapt to that. The Netherlands – 25% below sea level – they're like a powerhouse in Europe.

They didn't just destroy their economy to fight the rise of the sea levels right there, they built reservoirs and kind of adjusted around the coastline and they're fine. They didn't have to break the bank to do it.

The Netherlands, huh? The country that's synonymous with managing dikes and reservoirs, and which basically exists as a nation-state because for all of its history, it has spent a great big chunk of its GDP on flood control and massive public-works projects to hold back the sea? That's Watters's example of a no-big-deal "adaptation" to climate change? Huh.

We should probably add here that those happy-go-lucky dike-builders in the Netherlands are committed to reducing greenhouse emissions by 95 percent of 1990 levels by 2050, and remind you that a Dutch judge recently ordered Royal Dutch Shell to cut its carbon emissions more aggressively, in accord with European human rights laws. So if Jesse Watters says we should emulate them, I guess that would be a pretty good idea.

At least he didn't suggest that people in coastal areas just sell their soon-to-be-flooded houses.

Oddly, nobody in the Netherlands is saying, "let's keep making the world hotter, and then adapt." It's almost as if they know a thing or two about all this. We're already going to have to adapt. But we need to decide just what degree of bad we'll be adapting to.

And if Watters thinks we can easily "adapt" every part of our world to an increasingly hotter climate without huge disruptions, we'd suggest he take a Napa Valley climate tour, or ask people in Germany and Belgium how easy it is to "adapt" to thousand-year floods.

[Joe. My. God. / Media Matters / The Nation / NBC News]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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