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Hullabaloo


Thursday, April 10, 2014

 
Climate change for dummies

by digby

Senator Jeff Sessions, shows how it's done:

During Janet McCabe’s confirmation hearing [for the Environmental Protection Agency], Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) cited research from two Singaporean scientists and a widely-disputed political scientist to claim that there is no connection between intensifying weather and climate change. McCabe, whose critical job would put her in charge of many climate-related regulations, attempted to refute the claims, but was repeatedly interrupted.

Sessions: You believe that we’ve had more storms, more hurricanes.

McCabe: I believe that the scientific record shows that, over a long period of time and over broad geographic areas, there have been changes in our climate that…
Sessions: You dispute, then, the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]‘s recent finding, that “current data set indicate no significant observed trends in global tropical cycles frequency over the last century.” That’s the international panel on climate change.

McCabe: I know that the IPCC has made many findings relative to the effects of climate change around the world.

Sessions: Well, I’m just going to tell you, I’m going to submit this is writing to you, and if you continue to insist that we’ve had more hurricanes in the last century and that they’ve increased as a result of global warming — climate change — I don’t see how i can support your nomination. I don’t see how I can support somebody who can advocate against plain fact. My time is up.

Needless to say, despite noted scientist Jeff Sessions' expertise and devotion to the facts, he's the one misrepresenting the consensus. Click through for the full explanation.

Also too, they simply don't have a clue:
As many scientists would also note, Sessions’ demand that McCabe confirm or deny increases in the number of storms misinterprets how climate change works. Increased carbon emissions bring increased moisture and heat into the atmosphere, which has an effect on the intensity of weather events — not necessarily the amount of weather events that occur.

“The answer to the oft-asked question of whether an event is caused by climate change is that it is the wrong question,” Dr. Kevin E. Trenberth, a distinguished senior climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has written. “All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.”

I grew up in a country that fetishized science and technology although I guess the conservative evangelical anti-evolution strain was always there. We were the country of "Tomorrowland" and progress. Granted, climate change is a crisis to be solved rather than some shiny new adventure but I'm still surprised to see the conservatives go full-blown superstition on this. I understand why the Koch brothers and their ilk are resistant (although someone should remind them that they can't take it with them and their kids are going to pay the price for their greed and avarice.) And I guess those who are hoping and praying every day for the Rapture could be cleverly trying to do the Lord's work by hurrying on the end of the world. But how many of those people can there be?

Mostly, Republicans seem to be resisting this science simply because it validates certain obvious assumptions about the hazards of polluting the planet. I assume that because the hippies raised the alarm way back when it means these people reflexively oppose the very idea of it. It's really not an ideological issue in itself. If anything protecting the land should be a conservative ideal.  (Maybe we should re-brand earth-day as a religious holiday ...)

In any case, we've really gone through the looking glass if Republicans are using someone's belief in scientific consensus to deny them a post in the "clean air office" of the EPA.


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