In previous blogs we have discussed the virtual Mathematical impossibilityof every Stupidparty member of the House Energy committee (31 of them) being so Stupidparty that they actually believe the climate is not warming. A far more plausible explanation is that they have been corrupted by financial contributions to their campaigns. Yes there might be a few genuine skeptics – we deal with Senator James Pinhole here. In this second piece on climate denial we shall take a closer look at the actual Science. This article also points out some of the religious confusions that Stupidparty disciples resort to. But such confusions would rapidly be cleared up if they had a) a better understanding the the real Jesus and learnt that the New Testament God, the Christian God, is very different from the old Testament God and b) if they could simply handle some basic guidance from the Pope:
“When we exploit Creation, we destroy the sign of God’s love for us. In destroying Creation, we are saying to God, `I don’t like it! This is not good!’ `So what do you like?’ `I like myself!’ Here, this is sin. Do you see?”
Pope Francis is saying that humanity’s destruction of the planet is a sinful act, likening it to self-idolatry. Let me repeat – to destroy the planet is a sinful act. No, the Pope is not ripping America – he is ripping the sandy foundations of the Stupidparty house, that is made of straw – and the big bad Pope has just huffed and puffed and blown that house down. Do you see?
By Jason Newell
I was aghast: my neighbor had not only cut me off, he cited Biblical pre-determinism in order to explain physical concepts. But, knowing my propensity for responding to objectively dubious statements, I touched on the scientific method, astronomical instruments, and theoretical truths—he peered back up to the moon, shrugged his shoulders, and stayed mum. What this story demonstrates, and, I assume, millions of other comparable Right wing arguments, is a tendency for some individuals to bypass logic and science; as well as, of course, blindly adhere to principles of predeterminism to get a good night’s rest.
You see, this is the simplistic route–accepting things as they are. And, that is why conservatism (that is, the extreme form) neatly coincides with predeterminism: if God has determined every outcome, why bother? Change is—not only impossible—it runs contrary to His commands. To put it bluntly: Progressive change is the antithesis of scripture.
One may respond to my assertions with: “so what, how does predeterminist ideology impact a nonbeliever?” Answer: it has a tight grip on the contemporary Republican Party. However, after allocating time to research the Biblical clauses relating to the environment and climate, I found this gem:“The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left” (Isaiah, 24).
Wait, come again? Contemporary translation: “if you destroy the Earth by polluting it with mass amounts of CO2, I [God] will raise the temperature of the Earth [with the greenhouse effect] so its inhabitants are literally cooked alive.” While citing a short excerpt from the Bible may be perceived as cherry picking, this clause highlights a sheer contradiction. This clause, in a sense, gives humanity freewill—humans have the capacity to consciously destroy the earth, apart from God’s predetermined sequence of events. Why, is it the case that Jon Inhofe refuses to mention this portion in his bewildering congressional speeches?
A while back, Inhofe expressed his views regarding climate change (while presumably holding a snowball in his hand): “The hoax is that there are some people that are so arrogant to think that they are so powerful that they can change climate. Man can’t change climate” No, Mr. Inhofe, your conclusive statement is arrogant. Rather than blurting out unproven statements; let me invoke some facts and logic to address right leaning arguments regarding climate change.
Argument One: “It’s cold outside; therefore, the climate is cooling.”
First of all, the fight against climate change is an issue of comprehension: weather and climate are two separate terms—they are not conveniently interchangeable.
Furthermore, while the East Coast has been bombarded by snow storms, this blip, even though it seems lengthy when one resides within its path, is a weather event. These storms, in no way, represent the average, yearly temperature: within the last ten years, the NOAA determined that the two highest globally-averaged temperatures—recordings began in 1880—were 2007 and 2015 (temperatures were recorded during the month of January). Moreover, since 1980, the Earth has been experiencing a foreboding rise in temperature:
“Miraculously,” this is a trend that appears to coincide with CO2 emissions:
Even though the old maxim, correlation does not imply causation, should be noted, ignoring the parallel between the increase of C02 and the rise in global temperature, is, in my opinion, doing a grave disservice to the Earth. The fact is: the yearly, global temperature is exponentially increasing, at an alarming rate.
Argument Two: “The Hockey Stick theory is incorrect”
More specifically, the contrarian argument centers on global warming being a natural occurrence, whereby temperature fluctuations are a non-human phenomenon. Nevertheless, the causes of the Medieval warming period do not include contemporary causal factors. There may, have in fact been a rise in temperature, but it was likely localized, i.e. not global. Regardless, what is crucial to understand is: the Earth does in fact emit its own carbon emissions, through natural forces, such as volcanic explosions, but the driving force behind the recent warming is most likely man-made carbon emissions (97% of climate scientists concur with this assessment).
But the Earth, through natural processes (plant growth/ocean absorption), for the most part, cleanses itself—in contrast, carbon emissions brought about by human activity, lack a natural remedy. This means, humans are adding to the net amount of CO2, without attempting to offset the greenhouse effect. As mentioned earlier, even if one assumes the hockey stick theory to be a tad suspect: the cause of the two separate periods of warming is presumably different. Humans, in the Middle Ages, did not have the industrial capacity to impact global climate—but, from Industrial Age, until now, the recent periods of immense growth have been the catalyst of increasing carbon emissions. (By the way, the warming period of the Middle Ages was caused by the sun.)
My determination: If mankind lacked the capacity to pollute to the same extent in the Middle Ages, then the cause was unique to that era. In the contemporary era, it is a scientific fact that humans are increasing net carbon emissions. Therefore, while Medieval warming had separate causes, the current warming trend includes a whole new factor: human created emissions. (Even more worrisome, the cooling sun is partially masking the Earth’s meteoric temperature rise.) Disregarding a new causal factor as false due to the fact that there was a previous warming era—with dissimilar contributing factors–is lazy and quite frankly, bad science.
Argument Three: The climate change, middle ground fallacy.
One such scientist, Wei-Hock Soon, is a proponent of the solar activity global warming theory, which centers on sunspots being the causal factor. And while the Earth’s temperature does partially fluctuate due to UV irradiance, solar activity has dwindled over the last 30 years. Therefore, another causal factor, other than the sun, is contributing to the increase in global temperature.
Disappointingly, Wei-Hock Soon’s work—science that may have proven beneficial to the scientific community—was marred by funding from the fossil fuel industry. According to the New York Times, “At least 11 papers he has published since 2008 omitted such a disclosure, and in at least eight of those cases, he appears to have violated ethical guidelines of the journals that published his work.” So what was seemingly a good intentioned attempt to provide contrarian science, should now be labeled as corrupt Right leaning propaganda.
No matter who you are, disclosing your donor, especially in a highly-regarded profession, is a moral expectation. Failure to do so implies a conflict of interest; one where the profit motive of major energy companies distort and cloud an attempt to create compelling, objective science. As a consequence of Soon’s research grants, his work should be viewed as unfairly biased—a determination that the majority of scientists have already given.
The argument of reasonable doubt should be applied when an actual middle ground exists—a few contrarian scientists, presumably propped up by big oil, fail to provide a reasonable numerical value. Once again, the Right naively relies on scientific falsities—and those good old logical fallacies—in order to propagate a fabricated agenda.
Argument Four: “Well, I’m not a scientist!”
“I’m not a scientist, but, I still want to dictate America’s environmental and energy policy.”
(I constructed the non-italicized portion of the quote.)
Welcome to the GOP’s mantra—if a GOP congressman is not a ________ (insert profession here), one should not address an issue involving the said field. However, the mantra, in reality, requires a slight modification: if a GOP congressman is not a ________ (insert profession here), one should completely disregard the relevant issue in public, but when legislating, they need to do so as if one is an expert in the said field.
Personally, I find ceding authority on an issue to an expert to be a virtue—one that can place a check on one’s ego, and at the same time, produce more pragmatic outcomes. While Democrats, along with the President, have ceded authority to the scientists working within the climate change field; the GOP, on the other hand, has rejected the consensus to favor the economic aims of the fossil fuel industry. And when grilled on either the campaign donations received, or the bills proposed, the GOP is quick to retort with, “But, I’m not a scientist.”
Despite the appearance of outward ignorance, the GOP is simply playing dumb. More specifically, the Republican Party can bypass contentious and pressing environmental issues by absolving themselves of any responsibility–talk about weak leadership. But here is the real problem: the current congressional makeup is dominated by passive Republicans, who choose to sit on their thumbs, while the Earth’s temperature is rising; oceans are warming (and being depleted of wildlife); sea levels are increasing; and lastly, but surely not least, pollution is literally choking the developing world.
Even if it is, one day in the distant future, shown that human emissions were not the primary cause of climate change, the cost of instituting climate change initiatives, when compared to the cost of losing the only known habitual planet (our Pale Blue Dot, a name coined by the late Carl Sagan), will–assuming we are the primary cause—be considered chump change in comparison to the value the Earth.
Incidentally, these non-scientists are obstructing legitimate climate change proposals that may mitigate the global rise in CO2 emissions, with one such justification being jobs. I can concede that drastic climate change measures may stifle growth in certain sectors, especially in the fossil fuel industry, but the investment for cleaner energy sources exists–a whole $27 trillion dollars of it. Once business starts to move in a more eco-friendly direction, then maybe, in a delayed fashion of course, the GOP will finally alter their faulty rhetoric. Because we all know that they follow the corporate cash.