Tuesday, February 15, 2011

More on GOP and Climate Change

Don't want to start up another battle, but here's an op-ed from Politico today by the head of an environmental group called Generation Hot. He stopped by my office today with some young activists and video cameras looking for something scandalous but didn't find anything. A big disclaimer is that this guy is pretty partisan and I don't agree with everything he says. What I do agree with though, is his assertion that no matter what you tell or show skeptics, whether it be legitimate scientific research or surveys of earth surface temperatures, they won't jump on board the climate change/ global warming boat. Another good point he makes is that for the past year the media has focused on "climategate" and largely ignored some of recent breakthrough studies on climate change and its potential effects on the environment and human life. Again, I don't necessarily agree with everything he is saying, but it's still an interesting read.


TJE said...

He appears to worship at the altar of apocalypse.

PBM said...

Yeah, he does make some pretty bold claims in a dramatic fashion. Though, disaster may be eminent if temperatures rise 6 degrees or however many they are supposed to in the next 100 years. Another side effect of man-made CO2 that is fully proven is ocean acidification. Even if you don't believe in global warming or think climate is too complex to calculate in the future, ocean acidification is fully proven. Basically, a significant amount of CO2 we emit gets into our oceans, which decreases the pH of the saltwater. This, in turn, makes it difficult for basic organisms and anything with a hard shell (think plankton, shrimp, reef, etc.) to produce that shell, which can have huge reverberations in the ocean's ecosystems. Here's the wikipedia for ocean acidification http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_acidification, and here is a 20 minute youtube video in the tradition of Planet Earth (narrated by Sigourney Weaver): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cqCvcX7buo.

Even if we luck out and climate change ends up being a "hoax," we will still have to worry about the devastating effects of CO2 on our oceans. We don't live in them, but they do provide a huge amount of sustenance to our nation and the world.

So basically to get back around to your point, Professor, his prediction of apocalypse may not be so off-base if you take into account our quickly decaying oceans.

ND said...

This type of talk is nearly as damaging to legitimate science as denialist attacks. Science is not a political issue, and by creating a we-them argument, he is not doing service to his cause.

The fact is, we can wait 359 years to believe in science. But there will be tremendous social and economic costs. Humans will not all die by climate change, but some will and many will suffer a decline in standard of living.

PBM said...

Yeah, I think that a lot of the reason that Republicans are straight up denying global warming is that Democrats have taken it up in an apocalyptic and alarmist tone that would be difficult to counter with rational argument about the costs and benefits of regulating CO2 emissions. I still do think, however, that ocean acidification poses as large a problem as climate change in environmental terms, if not also in human terms.