Episode 72: Ice To Melt You

In the seventy-second episode of The Latest, we try to determine which climate change policy establishes room temperature. Dr. T.O. Souryal, an orthopedic surgeon who served as the 22-season head team physician for the Dallas Mavericks and hosts the “Inside Sports Medicine” radio show and podcast (www.insidesportsmedicine.com), joins the program for this week’s O.J. Simpson Twitter Update.

The Latest with Greg Ott
Episode 72: Ice To Melt You
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Transcript

Those voices are discussing climate change, a naturally occurring process that gradually raises the temperature in your apartment without having to call your landlord.

As the Biden administration prepares to address a wide range of climate-related challenges, those who are concerned that it’s too late to reverse some of the major damage done to our environment should be asking themselves a simple question: wasn’t this election supposed to usher in a breath of fresh air?

On Monday, a new and fun report published by the good people at The Cryosphere, which is either a nonprofit scientific journal or the group that was tasked with flash-freezing Larry King like a blueberry over the weekend, found the rate at which global ice sheets are melting is approaching the “worst case scenario:” they’ve decided to quit theater school to become a massage therapist. 

If nothing changes, and your roommate continues to forget to refill the tray after making another Moscow Mule, global temperatures are set to ultimately rise by more than five degrees. That’s not just one short of Kevin Bacon — that’s 3.5 degrees higher than the ideal 1.5 degree limit found in the Paris Agreement. If trends like these continue, you’re going to find bubbles in your champagne because it’s boiling. 

Alongside staffing the government with civil servants whose legislative experience extends beyond negotiating which burger is considered “gold” and which burger is considered “platinum” at the former president’s basement restaurant, addressing climate change appears to be one of the top priorities of the Biden Administration.

Less than a week after re-entering the Paris Accords, climate czar and professional statue John Kerry told a group of world leaders that he wants to make up for “the absence of the last four years” like a father who had stepped out for a pack of cigarettes in the middle of the night to smoke them for a thousand days straight. 

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer has called upon on President Biden to go so far as to declare a national emergency on the climate, just as Mr. Trump declared an emergency in order to “build a wall” in the minds of his supporters to block out any visible memories of his original promise that Mexico would fund the project.

I try to talk about climate change on this program because it’s a subject that’s often filtered out of the background, kind of how like how you’re able to pretend that guy isn’t actually asking you for change on the subway because you’re wearing AirPods.

According to media critics, one major reason is that reporting on climate change is often incomplete, leaving most Americans without a true understanding of the basic facts behind the science that proves our way of life is heating up our atmosphere, an unfortunate but surprising conclusion for a nation of science skeptics who won’t take the coronavirus vaccine because they’re afraid it might make the earth seem round.

In 2019, a Washington Post poll found that 3 out of 4 people hadn’t heard enough about the Green New Deal to form an opinion about it; and in October, another poll by The Center of American Progress found that the vast majority of Americans neither support or oppose the Green New Deal; instead, 53% of us can’t even describe what it is. It’s hard to muster up support for something when most people can’t tell  tell whether it’s a sale on solar panels, broccoli rights legislation, or the closing number to the Shrek musical.

But to me, what’s worse than all that is the lack of attention climate change tends to muster up points to our nation’s inability to plan for its future. 

Rather than reinvesting in bridges so they don’t collapse like Lindsay Lohan at happy hour, we subsidize football stadiums whose functional lifetime seems to expire the moment the owner gets caught being fondled in a massage parlor and wants to build a set of box seats with a better view in lieu of community service, may it please the court.

But climate change isn’t an eyesore that you’ll be able to drive past and forget about once you get home — it’s moving in and wants to fiddle with the AC.

And I’m not just talking about snow becoming a quaint artifact like the scrambled picture of a black and white television. Melting ice is makes it easier for diseases to travel the earth without Global Entry, and thawing permafrost may potentially revive-long dormant diseases as if they were Carter-era Hungry Man dinners hidden in the back of Earth’s freezer. 

This week, the government is introducing a suite of climate policies, such as a ban on new oil and gas leases on federal land, new environmentally-friendly job creation programs, and a million-dollar moonshot program to develop plant-based deli slices that have a taste distinguishable from their cardboard packaging. 

Last Thursday, industrialist Elon Musk even claimed he would donate a hundred million dollar prize to whoever develops the best technology to clean the air a little more effectively than that yellow tree in your Uber that’s supposed to resemble vanilla.

And even though these are just a few small things that might steer us towards a lower carbon future, if we don’t start thinking about what the world might look like 5, 10, or 20 years down the road, we’ll soon be wishing we could use the same words that we use to describe the state world of today: not so hot.