Who Doesn’t Want to go Back to That?
All That’s Needed is the Political Will to Make it Happen!
Could we be Looking at the End of Civilization?
We always thought the end of the world would come from fire, of flood, or interstellar rocks. It could be that the end of the world comes from profit motive.
Click Here to go to the Last Hours website.
Fukushima is here!
If you think you are far enough away that you don’t have to worry about the radiation from Fukushima, you may have another think coming. Fukushima is Here.
Global Warming? What Global Warming?
(Click the image for the source)
Nothing to see here, folks. Go back to what you were doing.
This is all a socialist plot!
Who are you going to believe? A bunch of stupid climate scientists or well respected, right-wing think tanks?
You know how those environmental hippy whackos are!
No changes are necessary.
Join 350.org and connect the dots yourself. Global warming is real. It’s happening. And it’s our fault. And it’s our responsibility to do something about it.
The evidence is right before our eyes.
This is my pet Russian tortoise. Her name is Tort. Isn’t she beautiful?
Notice the time stamp, January 20, 2012. Normally, at this time of the year, Tort is buried underground, happily hibernating for the winter. She starts digging her hovel sometime in October/November as a response to cooler weather trends. Her goal is to maintain her body temperature at around 53°F.
Yet here she is, in late January, perfectly content to walk around and seek out yummies to eat. She hasn’t even started to burrow.
She hasn’t even begun to dig a burrow for herself. Frankly, there has been no reason for her to dig in. For the most part, we haven’t experienced nearly the cooling that we normally get. It seems to be significantly warmer this year than last. I have tomatoes and peppers growing in the garden. We really haven’t had the cold snap that usually destroys the vegetable garden. Yes, there was a span of a couple of days when we had to cover the plants. I had to bring Tort inside because she was unprepared for the cold weather. This was just a few days in December. Since then, the temperature has not been below 50 for any significant amount of time. According to the Weather Channel, we are unlikely to get a cold snap in the next ten days.
I would say that this is unusual weather, but last year we didn’t get a significant cold spell either. Tort dug in last year because there were some noticeable cooling trends, but my Maringa trees usually lose branches if there is a cold snap lasting any significant length of time. Last year I didn’t lose so much as the tip of a branch from my trees. Tort came out of hibernation in March rather than April.
I’m not a climate scientist. From what I’ve read from climate scientists, they are loath to conclude that any given weather event is caused by general trends. This is for sound scientific reasons. But it seems to me that the evidence is right in front of us. At some point we have to start confronting those who have their heads in the sand with regard to climate change. We should do this with scientific evidence, of course, but also the evidence of our own experience.
We really need to start pulling those heads out of the sand before it’s too late.
PS: This blog is written on January 28. Tort is out and walking around without a care in the world.
It must be remembered that regardless of how we feel about the flogged and lamented Climategate scandal the scientific consensus on global warming is almost universal. The American Geophysical Union conducted a poll of those in the geoscience community. Of this community 90% agreed that global temperatures have risen and over 80% agree that human activities are a significant contributor to global warming.
As you can see from the graph below, there is a significant difference on the feelings of human contributions to global warming between those who are familiar with the research and the public in general. Now this could be explained by the institutionalization of the idea of global warming which biases geoscientists toward a “belief” in global warming. This would be unlikely, however, considering how this consensus has developed over time.
What interested me the most, however, is that only 47% of petroleum geologists concurred with the rest of the scientific community about the causes of global warming. This indicates that there is an institutional bias involved in opinions about global warming. Still, it’s telling that those who are most intimate with the research are the more overwhelmingly unanimous.
Climategate is an important issue, not because it squashed fraudulent global warming claims, but because it highlights the very real nature of institutionalized biases. It is crucial to examine the institutional biases that might impact scientific objectivity, and mainstream science should not shy away from this very real and applicable dilemma. However, this is no less true for global warming deniers (GWD) as it is for the mainstream scientific community. Conservative pundits and other GWD often harp on how the scientific community is bought by moneyed interests invested in global warming fraud (though it’s unclear who they are and how they benefit) yet neglect the obvious conflicts of interest among GWD organizations with regard to oil and petroleum interests.
Secondly, climategate makes an obvious case for increased computer security. We don’t know who these hackers are and how they got access to these e-mails, but I would imagine that there’s a lot of deleting going on right now. Every scientist in the world knows that sending e-mails to colleagues may not be as private as they think. As yet there is little outrage about this breach of privacy that could constrain communication between scientists.
Thirdly, climategate brings our cultural ignorance of scientific process and methodology to the surface. Climate research is very complex. The Earth is an impossibly dynamic system (much like society). The intricacies of global climate systems never conform to easy predictions, models or analysis. How can the earth be getting hotter if it was colder in New England, and snowing early in Houston? How can oceans rise in one part of the world, but not in another? To the lay person it sounds as if scientists are talking out of both sides of their mouths when they point out how short term trends do not contradict long term trends. Climate scientists must find a way to make their science more accessible to the lay person if they want their warnings to be understood and taken seriously. Also, science education must provide more in depth experience with scientific and statistical methodology. This is a kind of depth that cannot be attained through high stakes tests.
We also need a better understanding of the sociology of science. What takes place in the arcane chambers of the scientific world? For many people the science lab is as inaccessible as El Dorado. When a piece of that world is revealed to us, and it turns out that scientists are just folks doing a job there’s almost a betrayal of our preconceived notions, especially when those scientific folks turn out to be flawed. The statements made by the invaded scientists were certainly questionable. It’s easy to understand how a lay person would be irate over the idea of scientists “hiding” data or using “tricks”. It’s also reprehensible that scientists might try to hide their data from competitors and detractors. This is not your high school science lab. This is interaction between people who do science for a living, people with the same frustrations that all working people have with their jobs. That’s not to condone the more questionable statements, though I do understand what they may have meant about hiding declines and doing tricks. For the lay person, however, reading these e-mails (or rather about these e-mails from a select conservative pundit) is understandably outrageous. Climategate comes nowhere near unveiling a worldwide conspiracy to convince people they are getting warmer(?), but it certainly can be spun in such a way. People knowledgeable in science, and I would hazard the sociology of science (of course this might be an institutional bias) would be more likely to see beyond the spin.
I really hope that all of the explanations about the hacked e-mails are true. I have enough experience to suspect that they are not, but I also know that this is no revelation of conspiracy. Climategate will be used as a tool to call into question the incredible consensus that exists on global warming. What’s more, it will be used to destroy the political will to act boldly and radically on climate change. In this issue science and politics overlap. That’s a dangerous combination. Science can highlight, but cannot solve problems. Only political action can do that, and political action is subject to claimsmaking and social movements. I hope it is coincidence that this bomb fell before a major international conference on climate change, and without evidence to the contrary I will assume that it is, but the timing couldn’t be worse. Let’s just hope that the rest of the world is not as subject to sensationalism as we are in the United States.
Here’s an article by the Union of Concerned Scientists addressing this issue. Read Debunking Misinformation about Stolen E-mails.
For the last couple of years I’ve come to realize that the debate about global warming has become so polar that it might be time for environmentalists to change track. As a paradigm shifting discourse, global warming has gone as far as it can. Those who accept the mountains of data verifying the reality of global warming may be convinced of the righteousness of their cause, however, those who deny the validity of global warming are also entrenched in their own ideas. I use the term Ostrich Theory to describe such individuals. They are so invested in their beliefs that they will ignore any evidence to the contrary and embrace any supporting evidence regardless of it’s inanity. Another term for this is “confirmation bias.”
That’s not to say that environmentalists and scientists should stop educating us on global warming. Indeed, there may be some whose minds are not made up. There’s the upcoming generations, those who will be most affected by global warming, who need to know what they are walking into. Also, it’s possible, albeit unlikely, that some global warming deniers can be convinced of the validity of global warming claims (of course the same could be said about those who accept global warming!)
Regardless, the debate has stagnated. Instead of a didactic discussion in which the merits of one side prevails over the other, we are faced with a polar issue with clear and equally entrenched lines of division and disagreement. Environmentalists, those who are driving the debate on global warming, can only lose legitimacy in such a contest.
For this reason I suggesting chancing our paradigms for encouraging the development of alternative fuels. Yes, burning fossil fuels is the cause of a significant amount of global warming, but it is so much more harmful than that. There are significant health costs associated with the burning of fossil fuels. The New York Times reports that as many as 20,000 people die every year due to health complications resulting from the combustion and pollution of fossil fuel.(1) The Times is referencing an extensive report by the National Academy of Sciences that puts the unaccounted health costs of burning fossil fuels at $120 Billion!
If anything, this report understates the hidden costs of fossil fuel as it only includes those attributed with energy production. The profound damages caused by extraction and waste or accidents (such as the TVA coal ash spill in Tennessee pictured below), as well as the political costs of being dependent upon other nations for our energy needs, were not included in this assessment. The study also excluded trains, ships and planes from its cost analysis. If all costs were included it’s likely that the figures would be much more dramatic.
Global warming is an abstract concept laced with a certain amount of futility. On the one hand, the convolutions of as dynamic a system as the global climate is so far beyond the understanding of most people (including the scientists who study it) that it’s hard to make a concrete claim. The complex mathematics that describes global warming can be reshaped into convincing arguments that global warming is not an issue at all, perfect for the “Ostriches” noted above.
Even if convinced, one must deal with the ominous reality that this is a global issue requiring people all over the world to work together toward a common solution, something that has never happened in all of history. How can we as activists affect change in the face of the awesome obstacles of dynamic climactic phenomenon as well as the daunting task of getting politicians to put their immediate national interests aside to come up with a global consensus. Then there are the economic contingencies that are so complex as to defy description.
But the information in the above study is clear and disturbing in its conservatism. People are dying and the rest of us are losing billions of dollars in the fossil fuel game.
The costs of fossil fuels are not just defined by the digital score keeper on our gas pumps. There are hidden costs that need to be brought to light in a study even more comprehensive than the one mentioned above. When these costs are factored into the final billing for fossil fuels, suddenly the benefits of alternative energy becomes much more marketable. This is true even if global warming is not included in the discussion. Wind energy and solar energy, so far billed as being too expensive to replace fossil fuels at this point, are comparatively more affordable in light of the NAS study.
1. The number of dead does not include those who die as a result of global warming. The World Health Organization estimates that over 150,000 people worldwide die every year as a result of global warming.
For a few years now I’ve suggested changing track when it comes to the hydrocarbon debates. It’s not that I’ve changed my mind about Global Warming. Global Warming is very much a reality and may be happening even faster than experts have predicted. When it comes to the discourse, however, the lines are pretty well drawn. Those who do not accept the validity of Global Warming, for whatever reason, are unlikely to change their minds. That does not mean that such people cannot be brought into the movement for change that can perpetuate global warming policy.
The fact is that the same chemicals contributing to global warming are also contributing to other negative consequences for our society. Such consequences include the destruction of our future, not through cataclysmic climate change, but equally cataclysmic destruction of the intellectual capacity of our future.
According to research done by the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, pre-natal exposure to high concentrations of air polution can result in a five point IQ deficit. Now, I’m not sure of the predictive value of a five point IQ deficit, but the fact that air pollution can have such effects bares consideration.
Controlling carbon emissions is not just about keeping the earth from heating up, but also about keeping the brains of our children from cooling down.
I’ve lived in South Florida for twenty five years. After a quarter century of living in the sunniest part of the Sunshine State I can say that I have never never become acclimated to the oppressive heat of this climate. There was a time when I would simply endure the summers and live for the winters, which were quite bearable. Now, however, even that consolation is disappearing. There was a time when I could expect reasonable weather sometime in late September or early October. Now Im sweating (and cranky, my wife reminds me) well into December. Even when some cool spells do give me respite, they are very brief. Then, just as Im starting to maybe enjoy living in Florida again, the heat descends like a wet blanket.
To make matters worse, sometime around late April or early May South Florida seems to burst into flame as the dry season sucks the moisture from the land and creates a veritable tinder box in my back yard. According to the NOAA, this years dry season is the second driest on record. They didnt have to tell me. Rains that only twenty years ago used to come and go almost like clockwork have since become spotty and unpredictable, creating greater and greater water deficits every year.
For about twenty-five years or so I have been following the phenomenon known as Global Warming. At first there was significant debate as to the existence, extent or cause of this phenomenon. Since then, however, a growing consensus has developed. Global Warming is happening and it is caused largely (though admittedly not exclusively) by human actions, including the burning of fossil fuels and the annihilation of forests. The solution is as conceptually simple as it is economically and politically complex: stop destroying the forests and stop burning fossil fuels. For the last quarter of a century we could have been and should have been working toward a greener, more sustainable strategy for meeting our needs.
But we havent. Instead, weve been bickering about whether or not global warming is real! Naysayers can point to a number of holes in the information that are out there about global warming, such as the margins of error delineated by using computer models, the fact that certain regions are experiencing cooler than normal weather and even some alternative research that suggests global warming is a myth. By holding to their version of science global warming deniers can ignore the ever growing and expanding science archive that reveals their perspective as mere mythmaking.
The fact that the top fifteen hottest years on record have occurred since 1990 is either not true, or coincidental. Measurements taken by the likes of NASA and the Goddard Institute confirming a significant warming trend since 1880 can be ignored. The top scientific institutions in the world and the International Panel on Climate Change are nothing more than dupes of a radical environmentalist agenda to uh to to what?
In my dealings with global warming and climate change deniers and my research into alternative versions of the global warming story Ive heard tell of a secret environmentalist agenda to perpetuate the myth of global warming. Okay! But what is the environmentalists agenda in spreading this lie? What do they get from perseverating on this false issue when there are admittedly very real environmental matters on which they could be concentrating? It cant be funding, because the global warming deniers are never at a loss for funding sources from fossil fuel companies, automakers and neo-con think tanks.
Of course, this agenda is not as mundane as funding opportunities for desperate scientists, or conformity to institutional norms supposedly designed around the erroneous assumption of global warming. No! The secret agenda of environmentalists is much more insidious than that. Why, global warming is nothing less than an attempt to
dun dun duuuuunnnnnnn!
TAKE OVER THE WORLD!
Environmentalism is the New Communism!
One of the recurring themes of this absurd conspiracy theory is that environmentalism is communism re-incarnate. Environmentalists are intent on taking over the world and instituting a global government that will, ultimately, control every aspect of the individuals life. In short, environmentalism, via the myth of catastrophic global climate change, hopes to scare the entire world into acquiescing to a domination that Joseph Stalin could only have dreamed.
Steven Milloy, author of Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Ruin Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them and the founder of junkscience.com reflects this sentiment by calling environmentalists the wannabe rulers of the world and rationers (sic) of our energy supply. According to a blurb for Chris Horners book, Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism, on the Heritage Foundation website, manipulation of global warming is the ideal scare campaign for those who hate capitalism. A Whistlblower Magazine article called Hysteria: Exposing the Secret Agenda Behind Todays Obsession with Global Warming claims that environmentalism is nothing less than the global elitists replacement ideology for communism/socialism. (Communism and elitism? Hmmm?)
Any number of websites can be cited to confirm the Ludwig von Mises Institutes assertion that environmentalism is recycled communism and Nazism. One source that continues to pop up in my myriad of web searches was Czech Republic President Vaclav Klaus, who is quoted time and again, in this case by Charles Krauthammer, as saying the largest threat to freedom, democracy, the market economy and prosperity is no longer socialism. It is, instead, the ambitious, arrogant, unscrupulous ideology of environmentalism.
There it is. The President of the Czech Republic said it. It must be true!
Environmentalism is, in essence, un-American. It is associated with communism and Nazism, despite the fact that communism and Nazism are fundamentally different ideologies. References to elitism and a one-world government cabal behind the environmentalist movement are straight out of Illuminati folklore. Theres a deep, dark, conspiracy to steal your freedoms for which the environmentalist movement is a front and the global warming paradigm is a scare tactic designed to get us to surrender all of the things we hold dear.
If, as you are reading this, you are experiencing the bitter taste of McCarthyism, you are not alone. In this case, however, the commie hunters are not elected and appointed government officials (thank God). Instead, the environmentalist conspiracy theory has, at its roots, the same free market capitalist edge as the Red Scare of the 20s, and McCarthyism in the fifties. Research on Global Warming poses a threat to long held assumptions on the primacy of free markets to deliver the greater good. If the possibility of global catastrophe can be traced to capitalism, then that blows a big hole in the greater good concept.
Also, policies to deal with global warming will, undoubtedly influence the corporate bottom line, and open polluting industries to dreaded regulation. This will not be tolerated any more than will fair labor policies or living wage laws. This may explain why major corporations who have a stake in climate change policy, like Exxon/Mobil, fund fuzzy science that offers a spin against the global scientific consensus.
And the best way to silence sensible ideas? Label them communism or socialism or even Nazism/Fascism. It doesnt matter if these labels make sense, so long as the PR sticks. Then any time someone, even the former Vice President of the United States,
makes a stand, all we have to do is defer to the President of the Czech Republic for reassurance that we are right and they are wrong.
Environmentalism is a New Religion
The second major claim to explain the myth of Global Warming is that environmentalism constitutes a practice of religion. As a new belief system, it evangelizes to gain a greater following and thus greater power for the environmentalist movement. This has been especially successful among our scientific elite (just about all of them, apparently).
The most common proponent cited for this claim is the late novelist Michael Crichton, author of Jurasic Park, The Andromeda Strain, and other science based fictions. His novel, State of Fear (which to be honest I have not read) is offered as a compendium of the environmentalist plot to convince the world that disaster looms. According to Barnesandnoble.com, Crichton destroys the case of the environmentalist assertions on global warming. Many who have commented on the novel agree. As is typical of Crichtons novels (and I am a fan of Crichton), he blends thrilling fiction with enough science to give the plot credibility. Yet, we must remember, Crichton is a fiction writer.
Crichton is the main proponent for the environmentalism as religion paradigm. Environmentalism seems to be the religion of choice for urban atheists, he claimed in a speech. When asked to explain why he believes that environmentalism is a religion, he falls back to his college studies of anthropology for a definition of religion. He claims that, anthropologically speaking, environmentalism offers a collective set of beliefs, has leaders, asks its followers to contribute to the belief system by making changes to their lifestyle and embracing a total worldview of what is good and what is bad. He states that environmentalists have advanced a mythology of a naturalistic Eden which does not match reality. This Eden has been lost to industrial development, so environmentalists offer a way to salvation through sustainability.
Thats a brilliant application of anthropological paradigms! Except that its not exactly anthropological. Im a sociologist, with a sociological understanding of religion, but what is the anthropological definition? It is not as described by the medical doctor (not an anthropologist) Michael Crichton. Anthropologists admit that there is some variability in definitions of religion, but suggest that to qualify as a religion, an institution must have a religious ideology, or belief in the supernatural, an odd concept for urban atheists; religious rituals such as prayer or meditation; and a religious social organization, or a hierarchy of experts who interpret supernatural dogma.
Though one could conceivably suggest that many environmentalists do have a religious fervor, and a spiritual/idealistic relationship with nature, they do not have a cohesive ideological acceptance of a supernatural order as would participants in a religion. Indeed, environmentalists are often representative of many different religious beliefs from atheism to Wicca, from Paganism to Protestantism.
As a participant in environmental activism Ive never submitted to any rituals for invoking the supernatural. Any prayer or meditation that takes place is individual. Yes, Ive participated in Earth Day festivals that have featured many activities that might be construed as religious; but these were not pre-established theo-environmental practices, but rather activities used to provoke interest in the cause.
And the hierarchy of environmental institutions is not based on some shamanistic expertise in understanding religious dogma. Indeed, Ive often found myself nominated for board positions based on nothing more meritocratic than the fact that I consistently showed up for meetings.
Its clear that environmentalism does not pass anthropological muster as a religion. Of course, by Crichtons definition, any institutionalized belief system could be defined as a religion. The Republican Party is a collective set of beliefs, with a leadership and a following that is encouraged to embrace a total world view of good and bad and fit their lifestyles accordingly. One might even say that the Republican Party also has a concept of an Eden and a way to salvation such as a free market and salvation through capitalism. The same could be said of the Democratic Party, or the Libertarian Party or, for that matter, global warming deniers. How does Crichton, by his own standards, justify labeling environmentalism a religion and not Globalwarmingdenierism?
Another problem with Crichtons definition is his claim that the religion of environmentalism is an anthropological response to atheism. Religion, according to Crichton is an anthropological constant, something that human beings need. If we do away with formal religion something must take its place. That something is environmentalism. I think that you cannot eliminate religion from the psyche of mankind. If you suppress it in one form, it merely re-emerges in another form. So by suppressing religion and embracing environmentalism we are reproducing a cultural imperative.
Thats an interesting theory from which we should be able to hypothesize that environmentalists are self identified atheists. If this hypothesis proves to be untrue, however, then the theory is burdened with trying to explain why people who already profess a religious belief need to embrace environmentalism at all. So when we see organizations such as the Environmentalist Evangelicals, The Evangelical Environmental Network, Old Testament Ecology, The Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life, just to name the first few that popped up when I did a Google search to test Crichtons theory, one must question the scientific validity of the celebrated authors claim.
In fact, many established religions have what could be called an environmentalist component in that they recognize the natural world as being spiritual or godly. Therefore, followers are expected to revere the natural world. Nature and ecology is often incorporated into their belief systems. Buddhism, Shinto, Daoism as well as most indigenous religions are known for their reverence of nature. This contradicts Crichtons assertion that environmentalism is a religion in and of itself and that it is somehow a replacement religion for urban atheists.
Regardless, Crichtons misguided concept of theo-environmentalism is not uncommon among the pundits and the blogosphere. The false concept of a theo-environmentalism has been reinforced by conservative pundits like Rush Limbaugh (imagine that). Of course, their version of theo-environmentalism is a radical, misanthropic religion. One article, The Truth About the Destructive Religion of Environmentalism claims, the bottom line: the most consistent, dedicated environmentalists want you, and everyone else, to die. Its as simple as that. Really? Environmentalist parents, like me, even want our own children to die?
So what is the spin, here? The insinuation being made when claims makers point their fingers and pronounce heresy on the New Religion is that environmentalism is anti-Christian. In the United States, to label something anti-Christian is a silencing technique akin to the label communism. In fact, if we remember our Cold War history, communism was often preceded with godless, as in those godless communists. That something like environmentalism could be both godless and communistic means that it is lacking in any legitimacy.
Pseudo-scientific alternatives to global warming then become legitimate paradigms for those who love America or those who are Christian. Claims are made that there has been no change in any of the indicators of global warming or even that the earth is actually cooling. Other claims makers suggest that global warming is the result of natural cycles of heating and cooling. These explanations have little, if any scientific validity, yet drape themselves in the vestment of science to offer credibility.
The science on global warming is clear and unmistakable. The earth is getting warmer and human actions are the largest part of the cause. Unfortunately, the science is also more complex than the laypersons understanding of science. The global climate is impossibly complex, so the science of global warming is attenuated by margins of error that can be misread or misrepresented (by both sides of the debate, to be honest), or other vagaries inherent in studying dynamic systems. With so much complexity and uncertainty it is understandable, even healthy, that people have doubts about the science. Alternative explanations are less burdened with such margins of error or vagaries. They are, therefore, more attractive to the scientifically uninitiated.
Global warming science is neither communistic, nor religious. When the theory was first presented in the seventies it met with the requisite scientific skepticism. Indeed, there were those who believed that the Earth was actually heading toward a new ice age. Through the years global warming has been tested and re-tested using a variety of approaches, from global temperature monitoring, measurements of ocean levels, ice core samples, tree ring analysis, satellite imagery, field work and yes, computer models. These tests have been improved and duplicated. Computer models become more accurate as more climatological variables are understood and added to the algorithms. And the results from this science become increasingly more accurate. The results remain, essentially the same. Global warming is real and is largely a human made phenomenon. Today, this is the consensus of the world scientific community.
Despite the almost unanimous acceptance of global warming among scientists, however, the claims made by global warming deniers appear to be accepted by an increasing percentage of lay people in the United States. A Gallup Poll done this year found that though a majority of Americans still accept the global warming thesis the majority is waning. Meanwhile, increasing percentages of Americans feel that global warming is exaggerated. These numbers follow party lines, as more Republicans are skeptical of global warming than are the least skeptical Democrats. Yet even among Democrats increasing numbers accept the claims of exaggeration. (It must be noted that believing global warming is exaggerated does not equate to accepting that global warming is not real, nor does it confirm the thesis above)
Skepticism is a good thing. To be honest, the skeptics are often correct when they believe that global warming claims are exaggerated. It is not uncommon for environmental interest groups, for instance, to advance global warming claims by using the most ominous predictions from scientific models that have an admitted margin of error. Environmentalists are not immune to questionable claims making practices. Lets face it, the famous movie The Day After Tomorrow is just as fictional as is State of Fear and takes the same kind of poetic license with science.
Silencing scientific discourse, however, by equating it with political and religious extremism or apostasy is dishonest. If we are to have a real, critical discussion about global warming and the consequences then we must get past the claims of the conservative punditocracy. The scientific community can help by making the science more accessible to the lay person. The rest of us can help by calling the global warming deniers to task on their absurd claims and forcing them to defend their pseudoscience using real scientific methods.
Twenty years ago the infamous oil taner Exxon Valdez, commanded by a drunk, spilled 10.8 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s beautiful Prince William Sound. The oil slick covered over 11,000 square miles and destroyed the natural habitat of the Alaskan shore.
Though there were some efforts to clean up the overwhelming contamination, these were mostly unsuccessful. Local residents claim that Exxon was not cooperative in efforts to clean the sludge. According to reporter Greg Palast, even after twenty years, the oil remains hidden in the sediment of the shoreline. Palast Article
Since we know that Exxon has not spent the last twenty years effectively cleaning their own mess, what has it been doing? Why, it’s spent over $10 million on politicians! In this case, over 86% of contributions went to the Republican Party.