Deniers and the Demise of Our Life-Support System

My alarm at those who deny the obvious fact of climate change and its frightening danger grows daily.

Perhaps the most mind boggling of them is Senator James Inhofe, a complete fool whom Republicans decided should be in control of what the US, and therefore the world, does about global warming. His most recent stupidity is that science means nothing because God can change everything in an instant. Should it be necessary to point out to Republicans that belief in magic should have no place in national policy? 

Inhofe has almost single-handedly prevented the world from addressing climate change in any sort of effective way because of his obstructionism. It is very difficult to get the rest of the world to do what they must do when the top polluter (The United States of America) is doing nearly nothing even at this late date.

Because of Inhofe’s beliefs in magic and his inability to understand science at its most elementary level, he may become the single person most responsible for deaths in the hundreds of millions. Future historians, assuming the climate allows survivors, will no doubt coin a title for him.

The totality of science points to an inescapable conclusion: Earth will become hotter than it has been for millions of years, sea level will rise inexorably, and survival of humans and all other animals is not at all assured. Melting ice could in time raise sea levels by well more than a hundred feet. When the temperature reaches 125ºF we will all die of heat stroke. We are on course for that event.

Meantime, this Republican-appointed idiot stands firmly on our coattails and prevents any forward movement at all, now and then coming on the Senate floor with a snowball or making absurd statements like the above to “prove” his point.

Aside from Inhofe, no matter how many well-researched scientific reports there are, there are always scoffers who cherry-pick some obscure statistic to “prove” their point. It is hard to say what will change their minds aside from drowning in hot water. Perhaps a few very obvious charts such as I have included below may help.

The first chart shows the trend of Arctic ice coverage. Even though this shows only a 14-year measurement, with seasonal variation, the downward trend is very obvious. Would this be enough for the senator with a snowball?

Screen Shot 2015-09-25 at 5.41.53 PM

Next we see a composite of global temperature change dating back to 1890, measured various ways. Measurements became considerably more accurate with orbiting satellites, shown in red, beginning about 1985. The upward trend, especially since 1980, is obvious. Would 115 years of close agreement between measurements be enough to convince Inhofe that we should do something?

Temperature_Composite_1024

Next we see average sea level since 1880, with its wide variations, and 20 cm of rise, about 8 inches. Satellite imagery, which is extremely accurate, is shown in red. In spite of the fact that we know very little about how the oceans will behave with global warming, the trend is obvious here as well.

Recent_Sea_Level_Rise

Deniers cherry-pick data to “prove” their point. According to them, there is no evidence for global warming because, for example, the trend on the right of this chart is “flat”. Scientists themselves found this odd, but with more recent recalculations using better measurements the temporary anomaly disappeared.

warming skeptic chart

Last we see a composite image of global temperature and atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration since 1880. This chart ends a few years before the present: CO2 concentration is now above 400 PPM, well above what many scientists believe is a tipping point, beyond which the effects of CO2 concentration cannot be reversed. The temperature and CO2 trend is upward over the entire period since the Industrial Revolution, with a geometric increase after 1960.

temp + CO2

It is dismaying that this single person Republicans saw fit to appoint has been able to completely confound any progress Congress might have made, because he is a True Believer who has no concept of science or how the real world works. Magic and fantasy is no way to govern a nation of 321 million people.

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