Climate Change-the new wedge issue

August 20th, 2011

 

Melting Glacier in Glacier National Park: Before and After

The Washington Post:

“Climate change has become a wedge issue,” said Roger Pielke Jr., a University of Colorado professor who has written extensively on the climate debate. “It’s today’s flag-burning or today’s partial-birth-abortion issue.”

Historically, climate change has ranked near the bottom of issues that voters care about as they evaluate presidential candidates. It wasn’t a factor in 2008’s primary season or general election. The major parties’ nominees endorsed the scientific consensus and believed that the government should curb carbon emissions.

In fact, John McCain, back in 2007  clearly said to voters,

“I do agree with the majority of scientific opinion, that climate change is taking place and it’s a result of human activity, which generates greenhouse gases.” He made global warming a key element of every New Hampshire stump speech.

So what has changed?  It appears that some Republican candidates are trying to  out-conservative each other.  Others have stuck with scientific thought.  Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman have both indicated  that they  agree with the majority of scientific opinion, that climate change is taking place.   It’s a result of human activity and that green house gases are a by product of this human activity:

The nominal GOP front-runner, Mitt Romney, drew sharp fire from conservatives when he said in June that he accepts the scientific view that the planet is getting warmer and that humans are part of the reason. Former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr. (R) on Thursday tweeted: “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.”

This thinking is in sharp contrast to the beliefs of Candidates Perry and Bachmann (and others) who have spoken of faulty scientific process that lead to erroneous conclusions.  Much of the reaction seems to fanned by the flames of   the failed Cap and Trade bill that stalled in the Senate as a Cap and Tax Bill.  Rather than attack the legislation as faulty, the far right has come out swinging and concluded that all the scientifc evidence regarding climate change is bunk.  The Tea Parties have helped carry this message. 

 

The scientific community has contributed to the backlash against climate change:

Missteps by scientists have given critics ammunition. Most notorious were “Climate-gate”e-mails hacked from computers at the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in Britain in 2009. The e-mails showed scientists being combative and clubby, but multiple investigations in both the United States and Britain cleared the researchers of scientific misconduct, concluding that there was no evidence they tried to cook the books, as critics had alleged.

Embarrassing errors were also found in a seminal 2007 report by the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was supposed to establish, beyond question, the scientific consensus. One passage in the 3,000-page report, for example, stated that massive glaciers in the Himalayas would vanish by 2035 — which isn’t true.

Valid scientific evidence has been ignored and observable  evidence like melting glaciers in Glacier National Park and melting polar ice are often dismissed as ‘natural climate cycle’ and other justifications for exteme change resulting from climate variances.  In fact, no amount of scientific evidence is any match for those whose minds are made up. 

The full impact of the greenhouse gases that we’ve already added to the system today won’t be felt for 20 or 30 years,” said Bill Chameides, dean of the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University and co-author of a recent National Academy of Sciences report, “America’s Climate Choices.”

When Chameides and his colleagues began their research in 2008, they assumed they’d have to rush to finish before the government took action on climate change. Instead, they watched the political landscape change as “Climategate” and other controversies incited public doubts about climate science. They delayed their report to take a fresh look at the research in its totality.

It appears that all scientific evidence will be cast aside  and instead, the opinions of those near scientific greats, Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann, will serve as the definitive word on such matters.  I don’t know about you all but I am not ready to bet the ranch on the opinions of 2 politicians.  We have much more to learn.  We have to convince other nations to join us in efforts to protect the planet.

Visitors to other nations are often horrified by the filth and pollution in other countries.  I have an asthmatic friend who nearly died while in Egypt.  Our own athletes had to wear masks when disembarking in Beijing during the summer Olympics in 2008.  When other countries show so little regard for the environment, we know we have to work twice as hard to halt practices known to poison our air, land and water.  That hard work isn’t made easier by total dismissal of facts on the home front.  We need to come to some national consensus that involves scientific data rather than political rhetoric.  While we worry about the financial mess we are dumping on our kids and grand kids, we also need to worry about them not having clean water to drink, decent air to breath, and a climate that is habitable. 

Further reading:  Washington Post

Some glacier facts:

 

  • About 10 percent of Earth’s land is covered with glaciers.
  • During the last Ice Age, glaciers covered 32 percent of land.
  • Glaciers store about 75 percent of the world’s fresh water.
  • Antarctic ice is more than 2.6 miles (4,200 meters) thick in some areas.
  • If all land ice melted, sea level would rise approximately 230 feet (70 meters) worldwide.

SOURCE: NOAA

 

  1. August 20th, 2011 at 11:24 | #1

    But along comes Texas Governor Rick Perry claiming that some scientists of rigged the data despite the National Academy of Sciences survey that shows that 97% of the scientists survey agree that humans are contributing to global warming. Of course Perry failed to acknowledge that Texas is the worst CO2 emitter in the U.S. But that’s OK since he and other skeptics claim that despite solid scientific evidence, CO2 is not a problem since it is a naturally occuring gas. And, of course, global warming has nothing to do with one of the worse droughts Texas has experienced in decades. And people want him to be president. All hat and no cattle.

  2. August 20th, 2011 at 11:25 | #2

    But along comes Texas Governor Rick Perry claiming that some scientists of rigged the data despite the National Academy of Sciences survey that shows that 97% of the scientists survey agree that humans are contributing to global warming. Of course Perry failed to acknowledge that Texas is the worst CO2 emitter in the U.S. But that’s OK since he and other skeptics claim that despite solid scientific evidence, CO2 is not a problem since it is a naturally occuring gas. And, of course, global warming has nothing to do with one of the worse droughts Texas has experienced in decades. And people want him to be president. All hat and no cattle.

  3. August 20th, 2011 at 12:52 | #3

    I always think it is amazing the people now claim that man doesn’t influence the earth. How can he not?

    How can we dump emissions from hundreds of millions of cars into the atmosphere daily and expect no impact?

    That’s just the start. I hate to see something scientific become so politicized. How about we just play it safe and assume its true….where’s the harm where’s the foul?

  4. Juturna
    August 20th, 2011 at 17:35 | #4

    Any fishermen out there? That’s when enviromentalist are born, regardless of political party. Fish are SO political.

  5. Red Dawn
    August 20th, 2011 at 19:18 | #5

    How about MAN MADE weather manipulation? For decades they have had & used that technology to seed clouds to make rain; what about NOW? What advances have they made and used that we don’t know about to fight politically & cash in on promoting carbon credits, etc.,…yes, I still keep up w/ the consipracy theories ;)

  6. Red Dawn
    August 20th, 2011 at 19:42 | #6

    Throw in genetically modified food, etc., All of it throws of the natural balance ;)

  7. August 21st, 2011 at 08:50 | #7

    @Juturna

    Elaborate pls.

  8. Juturna
    August 21st, 2011 at 14:18 | #8

    As the water temperature changes, so do the species of fish. Both on the surface and deeper waters. Fishermen along the east coast have noticed changes in the kind of fish that are being caught over the past few years. Fishermen here and south also notice changes due to retreating marshes and wetlands… Fishermen on the west coast notice shifts in patterns of cold water fish, salmon and trout. The gulfstream provides warmer temperatures to Europe if it gets that far.

    The ocean is a terrific barometer of what is going on ecologically, problem is that althoug the changes are slow (so it won’t impact this or the next five elections) they are likely irreversible.

  9. marinm
    August 21st, 2011 at 21:43 | #9

    I think this would be less partisan if the science were settled. It’s not.

    • August 21st, 2011 at 23:25 | #10

      Is science ever settled? I mean dinosaur bones still aren’t running around so we consider the age of dinosaurs over. But…climate change is still going on. I would think it that would keep things in a state of flux.

  10. marinm
    August 22nd, 2011 at 09:29 | #11

    I’m pretty sure science has figured out the world is not flat.

    It’s settled.

    Well, except for Sherri Shephard.

    I have no objection to the theory of global warming. But, calling it fact is premature. Let’s wait for the science to be proven and not allow the narrative – one way or the other – to shape it.

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