Hartmann: Republicans ‘helping to destroy all life on Earth’

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, June 12, 2012 15:50 EDT
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Progressive talk host Thom Hartmann speaks about climate change. Photo: Screenshot via YouTube.
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In a segment broadcast Monday night, progressive talk host Thom Hartmann doubled down on the true threat of climate change, explaining the oceanic biology that underpins all life on planet Earth, then highlighting how Republicans at nearly every level of government are leading the charge to crush it.

The situation has grown so dire and the hour so late, he said, that it is now fair to describe anti-science policies pursued by Republican as “helping to destroy all life on Earth.”

Tiny, ocean-dwelling plants called phytoplankton, which act as the basement level of the planet’s food chain and supply about half of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere, have been dying off at an increasing rate due to ocean acidification brought on by climate change.

Although scientists recently discovered a stunningly large bloom of plankton under the melting arctic ice cap, plankton overall are in serious decline around the world — a frightening reality confirmed again this week by a study conducted at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences in Maine.

“This is a catastrophic shakeup of the global food chain,” Hartmann explained Monday night.

But it’s not just the food chain that’s in trouble: should all the plankton die off, the composition of Earth’s atmosphere will change significantly as well.

“They phytoplankton are being killed off by a one-two punch of warmer waters, changing salinity levels and most importantly, increasing levels of carbonic acid in the ocean — acid formed when the ocean absorbs the carbon dioxide that we are pumping into the atmosphere when we burn coal, oil, gasoline and natural gas,” Hartmann said.

To make matters worse, ancient pete bogs under the polar ice caps are being exposed to the open air for the first time in millions of years due to the ice melt, causing them to decay and release large quantities of methane into the atmosphere. If enough ice melts, scientists worry it could trigger a “tipping point” that causes climate change to rapidly accelerate.

“If this continues, we’re looking at the end of the world as we know it in this century,” he added. “The Republicans in power and the oil barons that they’re slaves to are determined to let the phytoplankton die off… And every single freshman House Republican has gone on record to deny the existence of man-made global climate change” (link added).

“Meanwhile, phytoplankton continue to die off because global temperatures are rising,” Hartmann concluded. “If we haven’t already hit a tipping point when it comes to climate change, unless something is done very, very quickly, we will very soon.”

This video is from Thom Hartmann’s The Big Picture, broadcast by Russia Today on Monday, June 11, 2012.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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