Republicans Poised to Accelerate
Climate Change Armageddon

Written by Ralph E. Stone. Posted in Opinion, Politics

Published on November 18, 2010 with 5 Comments

Cartoon by Mike Thompson, Detroit Free Press.

By Ralph E. Stone

November 18, 2010

As we all know, the Republicans now control the U.S. House of Representatives and have improved their Senate numbers, which means that efforts to control global warming and climate change are now dead for at least the dying days of the 111th Congress.

John Boehner (R-Ohio), House speaker-designate, and Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), the top Republican in the Senate, outlined their strategy for the remainder of President Obama’s first term: “His party’s main goal is denying Obama re-election.”  Thus, there is no way that the Republicans will allow Obama a legislative accomplishment on global warming or energy.

Last December, countries participating in the United Nation’s climate summit in Mexico failed to agree on an international treaty that would have required them to cut greenhouse gas emissions.  It is unlikely that there will be agreement on binding cuts in greenhouse gases.

President Obama has abandoned legislation that would cap emissions through a carbon market because Republicans consider it a tax on business.  Obama may attempt to bypass Congress by regulating greenhouse gases through federal agencies.  However, there is a proposed bill pending in the Senate that would suspend for two years the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, petroleum refineries, factories, and other “stationary sources.”  Passage is unclear during the lame duck session, but once the Republicans control the House next year, they are expected to push to completely ban EPA from regulating greenhouse gases.

For years, the global warming deniers have engaged in an effective disinformation campaign to undermine efforts to pass a clean energy bill that might have curbed our addiction to oil resulting in cleaner air, more renewable energy, a stronger dollar, and more innovative industries.  Even if 998 scientists out of 1,000 agreed that the main cause of the increase in global average temperatures in recent history is not because of any natural cycle — although natural cycles do exist — it is because of man, the deniers would probably seize on the two who do not agree.  Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) and Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) probably represent the views of global warming debunkers.  Senator Inhofe called “the threat of catastrophic global warming the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people.” And Representative Rohrabacher called the science behind global warming “emotional junk science.”  Even that eminent scientist Sarah Palin called global warming studies “snake oil science.”

The disinformation campaign has had its effect on public opinion.  According to a November 2010 Rasmussen survey, only 38 percent of voters think global warming is caused by human activity, while 45 percent say it’s caused by long-term planetary trends. Just 7 percent think there is some other cause for global warming, while 10 percent are not sure.

The danger to our planet is real.  The combination of flooding, heat waves and droughts this past summer were taken by most researchers trained in climate analysis to show that weather extremes are getting worse.  And the long-term warming trend over the last century has been well-established. Scientists who study climate are projecting substantial disruptions in water supplies, agriculture, ecosystems and coastal communities.

Is there a scientific consensus on global warming?  In the scientific field of climate studies, which includes many disciplines, a consensus can be demonstrated by the number of scientists who have stopped arguing about what is causing climate change.  So a consensus in science is different from a political one. There is no vote.  Scientists just give up arguing because the sheer weight of consistent evidence is too compelling, the tide too strong to swim against any longer.

“…the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.”  Professor Peter T. Doran, University of Illinois at Chicago, Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change.

In other words, more than 95 percent of scientists working in the disciplines contributing to studies of our climate, accept that climate change is almost certainly caused by human activities.  But you and I know that Republicans and some energy-state Democrats will focus on the 5 percent who do not accept this consistent, compelling evidence.

We can expect a continued heads-in-the-sand, do-nothing Congress on global warming for the next two years and possibly beyond.   Congress will fiddle while the earth burns.

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Ralph E. Stone

Ralph E. Stone

I was born in Massachusetts; graduated from Middlebury College and Suffolk Law School; served as an officer in the Vietnam war; retired from the Federal Trade Commission (consumer and antitrust law); travel extensively with my wife Judi; and since retirement involved in domestic violence prevention and consumer issues.

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Comments for Republicans Poised to Accelerate
Climate Change Armageddon
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  1. On this I didn’t think Carly Fiorina, who thinks global warming is bogus science, was going to be any worse than Barbara Boxer, who promotes clean coal, and, like Al Gore, cap’n crap.

  2. “Claims such as ‘2,500 of the world’s leading scientists have reached a consensus that human activities are having a significant influence on the climate’ are disingenuous,” the paper states unambiguously, adding that they rendered “the IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism.”

  3. In early 2008, the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) published their Petition Project, a list of names from people who all claimed to be scientists and who rejected the science behind the theory of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming (AGW). This was an attempt to by the OISM to claim that there were far more scientists opposing AGW theory than there are supporting it. This so-called petition took on special importance coming after the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report, and specifically the Working Group 1 (WG1) report on the science and attribution of climate change to human civilization. The WG1 report was authored and reviewed by approximately 2000 scientists with varying expertise in climate and related fields, and so having a list of over 30,000 scientists that rejected the WG1’s conclusions was a powerful memo that AGW skeptics and deniers could use to cast doubt on the IPCC’s conclusions and, indirectly, on the entire theory of climate disruption. And in fact, this memo has become widespread in both legacy and new media today. It is also false. See, “Scrutinising the 31,000 scientists in the OISM Petition Project

    See also, “The Oregon Petition: How Many Scientists Does It Take To Change A Consensus?

  4. I would like to take issue with the idea that there ever was a “scientific consensus” on global warming.

    I have asked journalists, politicians & alarmist lobbyists now totalling in the tens of thousands worldwide to name 2 prominent scientists, not funded by government or an alarmist lobby who have said that we are seeing a catastrophic degree of warming & none of them have yet been able to do so. I extend this same invitation here.

    There is not & never was a genuine scientific consensus on this, though scientists seeking government funds have been understandably reluctant to speak. If there were anything approaching a consensus it with over 31,000 scientists having signed the Oregon petition saying it is bunk, it would be easy to find a similar number of independent scientists saying it was true, let alone 2. The whole thing depends on a very small number of people & a massive government publicity machine, both very well funded by the innocent taxpayer.

    Because, to quote Mencken “the practical purpose of politics is to keep the polulace frightened & anxious to be led to safety by threatening them with an endless series of hobgoblins – all of them imaginary.”

  5. The big problem is that the AGW fanatics and the Kool-Aid drinkers that follow them, accept outlandish alternatives (Al Gore) and don’t present any reasonable solutions. The movie “Cool It” should be required viewing of everyone visiting this site.

    However, it might be too late. Al Gore exaggerated video and the email issue, plus the Carbon Trading fraud (designed to steal from the poor and middle class and give to the rich), may have soured the American public on investing anything on global warming.