environment Politics: assholes denialists idiots Republican obstructionism scientific literacy
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The Christian Science Monitor extols the potential of new technology for carbon capture:
Global temperatures are rising faster than scientists thought possible even a few years ago. The Arctic icecap is melting at a rate that few researchers had anticipated, and, most ominously, the permafrost is beginning to thaw, which could release vast amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than CO2.
The situation is indeed grave – but not unsolvable. While the majority of scientists agree that we humans have made the problem, new innovations show that we can also solve it. Climate change is a global problem, but the world looks to the US for leadership and solutions.
There are three reasons for this. First, America is the world’s largest economic power. Second, the US has been the main obstructionist at global climate conferences preventing the tough action that needs to be taken to cut the emissions of greenhouse gases and slow the progress of climate change. Finally, and more hopefully, the US remains the world leader in science and innovation.
I saw proof of this when I visited Dr. Klaus Lackner, the chairman of the Earth and Environmental Engineering department at Columbia University in December. He showed me a palm-sized mockup for an “artificial tree” that mimics the photosynthesis of real trees by chemically sucking CO2 out of the air. A single such tree-sized device left standing in the wind, Dr. Lackner told me, would remove one ton a day of carbon from the atmosphere, the equivalent of the greenhouse gases produced by 36 automobiles.
If horses could fly, they’d be airplanes. Or something. Feb 9:
It’s comforting to think that American ingenuity, resourcefulness, and determination can mitigate the rapidly accelerating climate crisis. After all, we’re the nation that initiated the Manhattan Project, that landed men on the moon and brought them back safely. Surely the threat of global heating can be eliminated with good old American know-how and our iconic “can-do” spirit?
Maybe. But putting all that ingenuity, resourcefulness, and determination to work addressing the climate threat will take money, a taboo subject for the Republican lawmakers currently blocking forward motion on meaningful energy or environmental policy. So much for the “can-do” part of the equation. If we can take their public statements on scientific subjects as evidence, those same legislators are notoriously short on know-how.
Yes, scientific and technological innovations may well provide ways to cope with climate change — but only if our politicians fully accept the science and fully fund the innovation.