Nel's New Day

August 13, 2013

GOP Blocks Help for Climate Change

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:36 PM
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The August Congressional town hall meetings give GOP lawmakers a great chance to disseminate their ignorant beliefs. In this case, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) on climate change:

 “Just so you know, global warming is a total fraud …. They want to create global government to control all of our lives.”

The vice chair of the House Science Committee once suggested that dinosaur flatulence might have caused global warming. In a House hearing, he asked, “Is there some thought being given to subsidizing the clearing of rainforests in order for some countries to eliminate that production of greenhouse gases?”

According to Jay Gulledge, a senior scientist at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change: “Clearing of tropical rainforests is the second-largest source of human-produced CO2, behind fossil fuel burning…. Moreover, clearing rainforest disrupts large-scale rainfall patterns, accelerates species extinction, and deprives society of natural products that are useful as food and medicine.”

Not all Republicans are as ignorant as Rohrabacker. Last week, four EPA chiefs who worked for Republican presidents published an op-ed in the New York Times called “A Republican Case for Climate Action.”

“The United States must move now on substantive steps to curb climate change, at home and internationally. There is no longer any credible scientific debate about the basic facts: our world continues to warm, with the last decade the hottest in modern records, and the deep ocean warming faster than the earth’s atmosphere. Sea level is rising. Arctic Sea ice is melting years faster than projected.The costs of inaction are undeniable.”

Because of the continuing gridlock in Congress, the writers support executive action in reductions in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by power plants, increase investment in clean energy technology, and limit powerful warming chemicals known as hydrofluorocarbons.

A week after this publication, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) said that attempts to fight global warming are both economically harmful and unnecessary because the belief in climate change is “more of a religion than a science.” King likes global warming because of “more photosynthesis.” The man who lives exactly in the middle of the United States added, “If sea levels go up 4 or 6 inches, I don’t know if we’d know that.” Iowa might not know, but one-third of the people in the United States would be affected as these interactive projections.

These facts demonstrate how bad just 2012 was for all of us:

  • Last year was one of the eight or nine hottest since the beginning of recording global average temperatures.
  • Arctic sea ice melted to reach record lows during the annual summer thaw. For example, 97 percent of Greenland’s ice sheet melted, four times the expected amount based on former melts.
  • The North Pole’s melt turned the Earth’s northern most point into a shallow lake.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions rose to the highest concentration in millions of years, with the carbon dioxide ratio in the Earth’s atmosphere exceeding 400 parts per million.
  • Diseases are proliferating. Warmer winters and wetter springs have brought back the West Nile virus to the U.S. In the Southwest, the deadly Valley Fever is on the rise.
  • The continued rise in sea levels reached a record high in 2012 even without the contributing effects of the phenomena known as La Nina that saw a significant rise in 2011.
  • Rising ocean salinity trends, first noticed significantly in 2004, shows that precipitation continues in already wet areas while evaporation intensifies in drier locations. The Caribbean had an extremely wet season at the same time almost 87 percent of the U.S. West had severe drought conditions.

John P. Abraham, professor of thermal sciences at the University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN), summarized problems:

“The latest ‘State of the Climate’ report shows that the Earth continues to heat, the atmosphere is heating, the worldwide ice loss continues, and other symptoms of our warming planet march forward, without cessation. A lot of people claim that global warming has magically stopped, but the facts, and the Earth, continue to disagree.”

Fire activity is another sign of global warming that brings higher temperatures, widespread drought, earlier snowmelt, and expanded insect and disease infestation to the nation. The seven largest fire years since 1960 occurred since 2000; the nine million plus acres burned each year in 2006, 2007, and 2012 equal the combined acreage of Maryland and Rhode Island. The annual cost of firefighting is over $3 billion, three times higher than during the 1990s. At the same time, Congress cut the budget for firefighting by 17 percent from last year to this.

Acres-Burned

If King doesn’t care about rising sea levels and devastating fires, he might want to consider some of the other things affected by climate change.

  • Beer: Warmer temperatures endanger clean water, quality barley, and ample hops.
  • Football: The number of players are dying because of the heat stress increased three times from 1994 to 2009. Drought also dries up football fields and kills grass; articifial turf can get up to 100 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than real grass.
  • Maple Syrup: Trees are keeping their leaves longer, requiring more sap to make syrup that still tastes different.
  • Hiking: Poison ivy thrives on higher temperatures and increased carbon dioxide levels; the potency and spread of poison ivy has doubled since 1960.
  • Coffee: Both increasing temperatures and a climate-change charged deadly fungus threaten 25 million coffee growers.
  • Sweaters: Sheep are susceptible to heat stress.
  • Chocolate: Cocoa is an extremely heat-sensitive plant; a small temperature increase could cause yields to drop and prices to soar.
  • Fishing: Drought, flood, and ocean acidification combine to make life difficult for swimming vertebrates.
  • Wine: Moving vineyards uphill to take advantage of thinner, cooler air is not very successful.
  • Pandas: With less bamboo in the Qinling Mountains of China, the giant pandas will go hungry and then disappear.
  • Apple Pie: Apple trees need a winter chill to properly bloom in the spring.
  • Surfing: Sea-level rise, saltwater warming, and ocean acidification threaten healthy coasts and regular waves. Erosion impacts wave patterns, and acidifying oceans dissolve coral reefs, valuable for surf breaks.
  • Peanut Butter: Peanut plants need a specific amount of rain at exactly the right time.
  • Fireworks: Last year, over 100 communities in the nation cancelled July Fourth pyrotechnic displays for fear of wildfires.

A serious problem of climate change is its link to human violence. Throughout the world, drought, flood, and high temperatures correlate with spikes in conflicts—domestic violence, assaults and murders, ethnic violence, land invasions, police violence, and civil conflicts. A possible global temperature rise of just 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit in the next 25 years could increase intergroup conflicts, such as civil wars, by over 50 percent.

The release of trapped methane in the atmosphere could cost the global economy $60 trillion by speeding up sea-ice retreat, reducing the reflection of solar energy, and accelerating the melting of the Greenland ice sheet. The methane is now bubbling out of the thawing tundra and Arctic Ocean, a surface area larger than the lower 48 U.S. states.

The United States is in great danger because of the eight GOP members on the Senate Environment Committee who don’t believe in the existence of climate change:

  • Roger Wicker (MS) wants “tolerance” for those who “come to a different conclusion” from the 98 percent of scientists who believe in human-caused climate change.
  • Jim Inhofe (OK) said that global warming is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” promoted by “the Hollywood elite.”
  • John Barrasso (WY) introduced sweeping legislation to stop the EPA from regulating carbon emissions without authorization from Congress, reverse the EPA’s findings that carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses are harmful to the environment, and prevent the federal government from employing a number of federal laws that are intended to deal with global warming.
  • David Vitter (LA) described talk of climate change as “ridiculous pseudo-science garbage.”
  • Jeff Sessions (AL) just doesn’t believe 98 percent of the scientists support the concept of climate change.
  • Mike Crapo (ID) wrote ”the underlying cause of these climactic [sic] shifts is ultimately not well-understood and is a matter of vigorous debate.”
  • John Boozman (AR) just waffles about the existence of climate change in convoluted language.
  • Deb Fischer (NE) thinks even if climate is changing that humans have not made a big impact on it.

In addition to Rohrabacher and King on the House Science Committee, these other members who refuse to believe in any climate change will block any positive legislation: Lamar Smith (TX) accuses scientists of hiding information; Ralph M. Hall (TX) is “more fearful of freezing”; F. James Sensenbrenner (WI) thinks “that the solar flares are more responsible for climatic cycles” instead of humans; Paul Broun (GA) doesn’t even believe in evolution; Randy Hultgren (IL) claims the globe is just in “a warmer time”; Steve Stockman (TX) refers to global warming as a “fad”; Thomas Massie (KY) challenged the president “to show us the linkage—the undeniable linkage—between droughts and the change of weather, and some kind of human activity”; Kevin Cramer (ND) accuses the EPA of “fraudulent science”; and Chris Stewart (UT) just isn’t convinced “that man-made climate change is the threat.”

The GOP was not always this ignorant. In 2003, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) sponsored the country’s first cap-and-trade bill and then backed legislation to curb climate-changing emissions. He also warned about global warming in his 2008 presidential campaign.

Rush Limbaugh summed up the GOP insanity: “If you believe in God, you cannot believe in global warming.” Earth to Rush: “Gravity exists. The Earth is round. Climate change is happening.” That’s the message from Organizing for Action, the advocacy group evolved from President Obama’s former reelection campaign.

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2 Comments »

  1. What is wrong with these addle-brained pols?

    Like

    Comment by Lee Lynch — August 13, 2013 @ 11:13 PM | Reply

  2. It never ceases to amaze me how people who don’t even understand climatlogy or look at the actual, hard data that is collected from all over the world as well as satellites have the gall to claim they know what is happening in the world. Thsse are people who look out the window and watch the weather channel and think they understand climate. Weather is not climate folks. Not even close.

    Like

    Comment by gkparker — August 13, 2013 @ 7:58 PM | Reply


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