EarthTalk: Still in denial about climate

Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space & Technology Committee, calls the Barack Obama administration’s 2014 National Climate Assessment — which squarely pins the blame for global warming on human industrial activity — “a political document intended to frighten Americans into believing that any abnormal weather we experience is the direct result of human carbon dioxide emissions.” (Photo courtesy of NASA HQ, Flickr CC)
Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science, Space & Technology Committee, calls the Barack Obama administration’s 2014 National Climate Assessment — which squarely pins the blame for global warming on human industrial activity — “a political document intended to frighten Americans into believing that any abnormal weather we experience is the direct result of human carbon dioxide emissions.” (Photo courtesy of NASA HQ, Flickr CC)

From E — The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Are there still outspoken global warming deniers in Congress or the mainstream media? If so, what do they say when presented with scientific facts and anecdotal evidence pointing to an increasingly warming atmosphere? — Ben Charles, Cary, North Carolina

Given the preponderance of data showing rising temperatures around the globe in recent decades — along with the increasing frequency of extreme weather events — it’s hard to believe there are still any climate change deniers. But a recent survey by the non-profit Center for American Progress found that some 58 percent of Republicans in the U.S. Congress still “refuse to accept climate change.” Meanwhile, still others acknowledge the existence of global warming but cling to the scientifically debunked notion that the cause is natural forces, not greenhouse gas pollution by humans.

One of the chief doubters in the U.S. House of Representatives is Texas Republican John Carter, who reports on his website that the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the East Anglia Climatic Research Unit in Great Britain — two of the world’s foremost authorities on the extent and severity of global warming — hid their own research results showing that world temperatures have not actually been rising, but in fact have been falling, over the past several years.

We may or may not even be in a warming cycle,” says Carter. “Even if we are, scientific evidence does not conclude that activity by man plays any significant role.”

Regardless, Carter supports more research and development of solar, wind, tidal and geothermal energy, along with the continued development of hybrid, natural gas and all-electric vehicles.

Another outspoken climate naysayer in Congress is House Science, Space & Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, another Texas Republican, who calls the Barack Obama administration’s 2014 National Climate Assessment (which squarely pins the blame for global warming on human emissions) “a political document intended to frighten Americans into believing that any abnormal weather we experience is the direct result of human carbon dioxide emissions.” He adds that “the Obama administration feels compelled to stretch the truth in order to drum up support for more costly and unnecessary regulations and subsidies.”

Of course, the right side of the aisle in Congress isn’t the only place you’ll find climate change deniers. In a recent op-ed article that appeared on FoxNews.com, scientist and author Daniel Botkin comments that the 2014 National Climate Assessment “ignores … the real history of life itself: endlessly changing, highly adaptable, and never subject to the kind of stasis that the climate change consensus imagines, wrongly, to be Nature’s ideal state.” Plenty of other conservative media voices on Fox News and elsewhere are vocal in their skepticism about humans’ (leading) role in climate change.

But regardless of how persuasive some of these pundits might sound, the facts speak for themselves. IPCC reports that human influence on the climate system is “clear,” with greenhouse gas emissions driven largely by economic and population growth skyrocketing to record levels and leading to atmospheric conditions unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. IPCC adds that greenhouse gas emissions are “extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century” and that warming will be a “very likely” catalyst for increased heat waves, extreme precipitation events, warmer oceans and higher sea levels.

CONTACTS: U.S. Rep. John Carter (R-TX), carter.house.gov; U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, lamarsmith.house.gov/; FoxNews, www.foxnews.com; IPCC, www.ipcc.ch.

EarthTalk is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E — The Environmental Magazine (www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: earthtalk@emagazine.com.

Posted Dec. 22, 2014

3 thoughts on “EarthTalk: Still in denial about climate

  • December 22, 2014 at 12:52 pm
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    The fossil fuel industries need to convince you that physical phenomena are a matter of belief or political opinion. Even better, they’d like you to make that notion part of your identity. Then climate science related news will pose a threat to your identity, and you’ll deny it unconsciously. That’s why they spend so much money on the most sophisticated anti-science campaign ever waged. These congresscritters are paid well by oil and coal industry lobbyists to deny the science, but average Americans have to be fooled into it.

    • December 22, 2014 at 3:47 pm
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      The reason I’m posting this, very upsetting to me. I have a lived in a box or a shell lived in the real world. I have to say it’s almost like a demonic possession that the Republicans. So ignorant about climate change. If you look at the medical community in science. They are both interlocked. We will believe the medical community with all the new scientific data. Pertaining to cancer, Alzheimer’s, and so on so forth. We can believe that. The problems that comes from global warming people denounce. We’re the only living earth so far that we can’t not find another planet like ours. And we’re willing to destroy mankind or harm future generations primarily. The wealth of the large corporations. Politicians are bought off if they’re not bought off the religious fanatics. But we are destroying this earth. It’s obvious it’s happening. The lies the storytelling the twisting of the truth. It’s very pathetic. I think of my grandkids in future generations. It doesn’t take a highly intelligent individual to realize the pollution that we produce on this mother Earth. And a politicians deny that there’s any problems. So we can stand back and let them destroy this earth. People need to really read and not believe the newscasters that are nothing more than corporate mongrels in producing the real truth. One chance we have been through the last few centuries we’ve been destroying the most beautiful wonderful planet in the world. Animals are disappearing environment is being damaged as I speak. The world needs to wake up. We will have global flooding. We will have droughts we will have more illness, disease and sickness. Only for one reason and that’s financial wealth the part of corporations that is taking hold. And my heart goes out to the future generations. But the old geezers said sitting on our radical politicians that’s plan God. Our demonic there ignorant their buffoons are pompous asses. And they don’t care because it’s only here and now they do not have the foresight. To the future. I hope some will grow up and realize hatred, bitterness, bigamy knowing everything as the politicians. That the world will rise up with love of this earth. When is very young. I worked in a refinery. The most sickening thing I ever saw was birds like pigeons. They had no feathers and I had all types of cancerous growths in their bodies. That is reality. We just don’t harm the wildlife we harm ourselves we are our worst enemies. Every country in the world. I just hope that this opens the light so many people that look at our earth is the most beautiful wonderful blessing.

  • December 22, 2014 at 2:55 pm
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    Very well said, especially the ‘identity’ part.

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