You can see from the above photo the challenge our president faces in convincing, of all people, our meteorologists, that climate change isn’t simply cyclic, but ongoing, posing devastating consequences for America, with no region spared. Further, we humans are its driving force.
The National Climate Assessment came out yesterday, only to be immediately dismissed as “alarmist” by–imagine my surprise–Mitch McConnell (R-Ky). Guess he must think the same about the recently released UN Panel’s 40 volume plus study conducted by leading climate scientists. I’m reminded as a former prof of Victorian lit just what it must have been like for Darwin in the outpouring of public vitriol that followed upon his perceived tampering with hallowed establishment assumptions. By the way, I never cease to be amazed at the gall of politicians assuming equal footing with reputable scientists.
But it isn’t just the Republicans we have to worry about in Washington when it comes to taking climate change seriously and initiating immediate steps to at least mitigate its effects. You see this most pointedly when it comes to the Keystone XL project. Presently there’s a bipartisan effort to get a two-thirds majority in the Senate in favor of the project, assuring veto proof passage. So far, 11 Democrats have shown willingness to join 45 Republicans in such a move, with one Democrat optimistic of getting several more.
As always, it’s the old song-and-dance scenario of jobs, when the fact is that if we were to put environment on a war-footing we’d have universal employment in harnessing the forces to slow global warming. Solar energy has considerable promise, for example, and is already a key component in countries like Denmark. Instead of constructing pipelines with their potential for spills–and sabotage–we’d do better in shoring up our coast lines.
How wonderful it would be to see Republicans and Democrats give priority to long term public welfare rather than short term corporate interests and their reelection prospects. (Once again, a good point for term limits. If it exists for the Presidency, why not for Congress?)
As for the meteorologists, a George Mason University survey in 2010 showed only 19% of them accepted human activity as the primary contributor to global warming. Some deny climate change period! (http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/BAMS-D-13-00091.1 ) While good at short term forecasting, they fall considerably short at the long term. Public icons, they can be given to a narcissism of overreach. Unfortunately, 62% of us trust our TV weather forecasters more than we do climate scientists!
The greatest proofs of climate change lie not simply in natural catastrophes, but in their ever increasingly frequency. We have computer models for that!