On this week’s show: A long political rant on the recent US midterm elections, the War on Science in Canada, the scientific consensus continues to strengthen and new efforts to communicate it.
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The US midterm elections
“45 of 97 Republican freshmen and 85 of 166 reelected Republicans are confirmed climate zombies. There are no Republican freshmen, in the House or Senate, who admit the science is real.”
Conservative opinion has been steadily hardening—for decades Republicans were part of the coalition on almost every environmental issue, but now it’s positively weird to think that as late as 2004, McCain thought it would make sense for a GOP presidential candidate to position himself as a fighter for climate legislation. And all of that is troubling. Because we’re going to be dealing with climate change for a very long time, and if one of the great schools of political thought in this country has checked out completely, that process is going to be even harder. -Bill McKribben
The idea that carbon dioxide is a carcinogen that is harmful to our environment is almost comical. Every time we exhale, we exhale carbon dioxide.
The Republican War on Science
Representative Ralph Hall (R-TX) Claims Science Panel, Vows ‘Strong Oversight’ on ‘Climate Change, Scientific Integrity’
We must also conduct strong oversight over this Administration in key areas including climate change, scientific integrity, energy research and development(R&D), cybersecurity, and science education.
Rep. John Shimkus is standing by a controversial comment that global warming isn’t something to worry about because God said he wouldn’t destroy the Earth after Noah’s flood.
The Illinois Republican running for the powerful perch atop the House Energy and Commerce Committee told POLITICO on Wednesday that his understanding of the Bible reaffirms his belief that government shouldn’t be in the business of trying to address rising greenhouse gas emissions
“I do believe in the Bible as the final word of God,” Shimkus said. “And I do believe that God said the Earth would not be destroyed by a flood.”
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the incoming head of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, has pledged to hold hearings on the “Politicization of Science,” which will consist of a rehashing of the so-called ClimateGate “scandal.”
It’s conservatives who should fear climate change the most. To put it simply, if you hate big government, try global warming on for size.
Many conservatives say they oppose clean-energy policies because they want to keep government off our backs. But they have it exactly backward. Doing nothing will set our country on a course toward narrower choices for businesses and individuals, along with an expanded role for government. When catastrophe strikes – and yes, the science is quite solid that it will – it will be the feds who are left conducting triage…
In fact, far from being conservative, the Republican stance on global warming shows a stunning appetite for risk. When faced with uncertainty and the possibility of costly outcomes, smart businessmen buy insurance, reduce their downside exposure and protect their assets… And when military planners assess an enemy, they get ready for a worst-case encounter.
When it comes to climate change, conservatives are doing none of this. Instead, they are recklessly betting the farm on a single, best-case scenario: That the scientific consensus about global warming will turn out to be wrong. This is bad risk management and an irresponsible way to run anything, whether a business, an economy or a planet.
The great irony is that, should their high-stakes bet prove wrong, adapting to a destabilized climate would mean a far bigger, more intrusive government than would most of the “big government” solutions to our energy problems that have been discussed so far…
Today’s conservatives would do well to start thinking more like military planners, reexamining the risks inherent in their strategy. If, instead, newly elected Republicans do nothing, they will doom us all to bigger government interventions and a large dose of suffering – a reckless choice that’s anything but conservative.
The war on science in Canada
The union that represents federal government scientists has created a website – PublicScience.ca – to give a voice to the work of its members.
The move comes weeks after it was revealed that new restrictive rules have been placed on scientists at the Natural Resources department requiring them to clear a number of hoops, including approval from the minister’s director of communications, before they may speak with the press about their work.
While Natural Resources was singled out, reporters and scientists across a wide range of departments are well aware that the government frowns upon direct communication between its employees and the media without prior approval.
The scientific consensus continues to strengthen, and new efforts to communicate it
Climate change is a defining issue for our time. The geological record contains abundant evidence of the ways in which Earth’s climate has changed in the past. That evidence is highly relevant to understanding how it may change in the future.
While these past climatic changes can be related to geological events, it is not possible to relate the Earth’s warming since 1970 to anything recognisable as having a geological cause (such as volcanic activity, continental displacement, or changes in the energy received from the sun). This recent warming is accompanied by an increase in CO2 and a decrease in Arctic sea ice, both of which – based on physical theory and geological analogues – would be expected to warm the climate…
The geological evidence from the [warming event] 55 million [year’s ago]… and from earlier warming episodes suggests that such an addition [of carbon dioxide] is likely to raise average global temperatures by at least 5-6ºC, and possibly more, and that recovery of the Earth’s climate in the absence of any mitigation measures could take 100,000 years or more. Numerical models of the climate system support such an interpretation. In the light of the evidence presented here it is reasonable to conclude that emitting further large amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere over time is likely to be unwise, uncomfortable though that fact may be.
The Climate Science Rapid Response Team is a match-making service to connect climate scientists with lawmakers and the media. The group is committed to providing rapid, high-quality information to media and government officials.
Climate Science Rapid Response team member scientists areas chosen to cover a wide array of topics related to Climate Science. They have been selected based upon their publications in professional peer-reviewed scientific journals.
There is a wide gap between what scientists know about climate change and what the public knows. The scientists of the Climate Science Rapid Response Team understand that better communication can narrow this gap. The media is in the best position to deliver accurate science information to the general public and to our elected leaders but only when they have access to that information. The Climate Science Rapid Response Team is committed to delivering that service. We are advocates for science education.