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Written by Jim W. Harper   
March 2011

Oh, and “climate change” is just left-wing propaganda

bigstock_The_Last_Polar_Bear_2136446Wake up, Sen. Marco Rubio. And Gov. Rick Scott, too. You got elected after pretending that climate change doesn’t exist, but that fairy-tale position can’t last. What’s next? Are you going to deny that smoking causes cancer?

The majority of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives likewise wobble in skepticism about climate change. At least Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen got it right in 2009 when she stated that “global warming is real and man-made.”

If you won’t listen to her, ask any elementary school child, because they have ears to hear the truth. They can probably tell you these facts:

  • Last year was the warmest and wettest year on record.
  • Last decade was the hottest on record.
  • Last century the planet warmed by 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit.

Got it? The earth has been getting measurably warmer since modern record-keeping began in 1880. Global warming is a fact. Don’t waste the nation’s time and money debating ideas that have been settled.

“There hasn’t been a debate for decades,” says Brian Soden, an associate professor of meteorology and physical oceanography at the University of Miami. He contributed to reports for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that in 2007 earned a Nobel Peace Prize.

Soden points out that climate change deniers offer no predictions and no alternative models. He and other professors spoke at a recent University of Miami seminar to clarify what we know about “climate change,” the broader term that includes global warming and other phenomena.

Senator Rubio told Tampa Bay Online last year that there is not “scientific evidence to justify it,” and Governor Scott has issued similar statements. They sound like puppets of the petroleum and coal lobbies.

Deniers can’t dispute warming logically, so they attack the more complicated, “man-made” part of the equation. Change is natural, right? How can itty-bitty little creatures like us affect such an enormous planet?

Data show that humans kicked in with the Industrial Revolution, when machines began multiplying our effects. For 250 years the constant digging, chopping, building, and burning by billions of people and their machines has polluted the sky with invisible yet powerful gases that trap heat. One greenhouse gas in particular, carbon dioxide, is completely out of whack.

Today’s level of carbon dioxide stands at more than 390 parts per million, but an easier number to grasp is 800,000. That’s the number of years scientists can go back in time, using bubbles trapped inside ice cores, and verify historical, natural levels of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Today’s concentration of carbon dioxide falls outside the “natural variation of the past 800,000 years,” says Larry Peterson, professor of marine geology and geophysics.

The speed of current climate change is also unprecedented, and that’s the really scary part. Sure, we can adapt to longer summers and higher temperatures. The earth naturally, incrementally warms and cools over thousands of years, and that observable pattern has been essentially stable until modern times.

But rapid change within years instead of millennia? It’s neither natural nor normal. We’re living in the middle of an experiment that has never been performed before.

Many questions remain about where this experiment will lead, but we can be certain of at least five things today, according to Amy Clement, associate professor of meteorology and physical oceanography.

  • Carbon dioxide absorbs radiation and causes warming.
  • Increasing carbon dioxide results in heating, whereas reducing carbon dioxide results in cooling.
  • At least 50 years of the current global warming trend is undisputed.
  • The only explanation for this trend is carbon dioxide.
  • Carbon dioxide levels are rising because of humans.

Will someone please send this list to our governor and Senator Rubio?

Even when confronted with these and other facts, some leaders will remain in denial. They are ashamed to admit the ugly, painful truth: We have done this to ourselves.

“We are addicted to oil.” President George W. Bush said that years ago, and we know that burning fossil fuels like oil and coal account for the majority of carbon dioxide produced by humans. We know these things the same way a smoker knows that tobacco leads to cancer. No one needs to “believe” in cancer. You either accept it or deny it.

Interestingly, a study published in January in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that more people “believe” in global warming when inside a warm room. Okay, let’s take this mentality and work with it.

This summer, when the now-predictable heat waves make the news, let’s talk about climate change and carbon dioxide. Find out what can be done about this problem, and start doing it. Let’s get every leader and politician to agree that science deserves respect.

The world is round.

The earth orbits around the sun.

Our actions have consequences.

We have given Mother Earth the cancer of climate change.

It’s the carbon dioxide, stupid.


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