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Rajendra Pachauri, one of the lead scientists for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), warned on Monday that the world is “five minutes before midnight” with regards to climate change.

Speaking at a conference marking the 20th anniversary of the founding of Green Cross International, Pachauri said, “May I submit that humanity has completely ignored, disregarded and been totally indifferent to the debits?”

“Today we have the knowledge to be able to map out the debits and to understand what we have done to the condition of this planet,” he added.

The IPCC is set to release the first of a three-volume report card on climate change, titled the Fifth Assessment Report, on September 27.

A leaked draft of the report revealed strong evidence that humans are the cause of climate change. The report states that sea levels could rise three feet by the end of the century, and also rejects the idea that the climate change is slowing down.

Contrary to the available evidence, most congressional Republicans and many other conservatives insist that climate change is a hoax. CNBC anchor Joe Kernen has called climate science a “cult,” Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) has claimed that the climate is better now than ever before, and Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI) has even asserted that colder-than-average days are a clear sign that global warming is not occurring and climate change is an idea fabricated by the left. Representative Paul Broun (R-GA) has said, “Scientists all over this world say that the idea of human-induced global climate change is one of the greatest hoaxes perpetrated out of the scientific community. It is a hoax. There is no scientific consensus.”

The IPCC is made up of hundreds of scientists from around the world who refute these irresponsible statements — 97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is caused by human activity. Perhaps more importantly for Broun, Paul, and Ryan, 58 percent of registered voters say they will consider a candidate’s position on global warming when deciding how to vote, according to a recent report from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication

A previously released report from the IPCC advised that if nothing is done to improve pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, there will be an increase in species extinctions, as well as in “droughts, heatwaves and floods, affecting food security and water supplies for many millions.”

Pachauri’s speech on Monday and the report that will be released at the end of September is the result of a non-partisan group made up of climate scientists who are gravely warning how ignoring these issues of climate change can and will affect us in the future.

“We cannot isolate ourselves from anything that happens in any part of this planet. It will affect all of us in some way or the other,” Pachauri said.

H/T: The Raw Story

Photo: Kris Krug via

Photo by expertinfantry/ CC BY 2.0

At this moment, the president of the United States is threatening to "throw out" the votes of millions of Americans to hijack an election that he seems more than likely to lose. Donald Trump is openly demanding that state authorities invalidate lawful absentee ballots, no different from the primary ballot he mailed to his new home state of Florida, for the sole purpose of cheating. And his undemocratic scheme appears to enjoy at least nominal support from the Supreme Court, which may be called upon to adjudicate the matter.

But what is even worse than Trump's coup plot — and the apparent assent of unprincipled jurists such as Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh — is the Democratic Party's feeble response to this historic outrage. It is the kind of issue that Republicans, with their well-earned reputation for political hardball, would know how to exploit fully and furiously.

They know because they won the same game in Florida 20 years ago.

During that ultimate legal showdown between George W. Bush and Al Gore, when every single vote mattered, a Democratic lawyer argued in a memorandum to the Gore team that the validity of absentee ballots arriving after Election Day should be challenged. He had the law on his side in that particular instance — but not the politics.

As soon as the Republicans got hold of that memo, they realized that it was explosive. Why? Many of the late ballots the Democrats aimed to invalidate in Florida had been sent by military voters, and the idea of discarding the votes of service personnel was repellent to all Americans. Former Secretary of State James Baker, who was overseeing the Florida recount for Bush, swiftly denounced the Democratic plot against the soldiers, saying: "Here we have ... these brave young men and women serving us overseas. And the postmark on their ballot is one day late. And you're going to deny him the right to vote?"

Never mind the grammar; Baker's message was powerful — and was followed by equally indignant messages in the following days from a parade of prominent Bush backers including retired Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, the immensely popular commander of U.S. troops in the Desert Storm invasion that drove Saddam Hussein's army out of Kuwait. Fortuitously, Schwarzkopf happened to be on the scene as a resident of Florida.

As Jeffrey Toobin recounted in Too Close to Call, his superb book on the Florida 2000 fiasco, the Democrats had no choice but to retreat. "I would give the benefit of the doubt to ballots coming in from military personnel," conceded then-Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Gore's running mate, during a defensive appearance on Meet the Press. But Toobin says Gore soon realized that to reject military ballots would render him unable to serve as commander in chief — and that it would be morally wrong.

Fast-forward to 2020, when many of the same figures on the Republican side are now poised to argue that absentee ballots, which will include many thousands of military votes — should not be counted after Election Day, even if they arrived on time. Among those Republicans is Justice Kavanaugh, who made the opposite argument as a young lawyer working for Bush in Florida 20 years ago. Nobody expects legal consistency or democratic morality from a hack like him, but someone should force him and his Republican colleagues to own this moment of shame.

Who can do that? Joe Biden's campaign and the Democratic Party ought to be exposing the Republican assault on military ballots — and, by the same token, every legally valid absentee ballot — every day. But the Democrats notoriously lack the killer instinct of their partisan rivals, even at a moment of existential crisis like this one.

No, this is clearly a job for the ex-Republicans of the Lincoln Project, who certainly recall what happened in Florida in 2000. They have the attitude and aptitude of political assassins. They surely know how to raise hell over an issue like military votes — and now is the time to exercise those aggressive skills in defense of democracy.

To find out more about Joe Conason and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at