Year 2, Month 6, Day 2: How Many Times Must A Man Turn His Head?

The Miami Herald runs a piece on how climate change has become a low priority for Florida’s government since the Scott takeover. Big surprise.

Four hundred scientists gathered in Copenhagen recently to talk about the warming temperatures in the Arctic. Their conclusion: The Arctic’s glaciers are melting faster than anyone expected due to man-made climate change.

As a result, the world’s sea level will rise faster than previously projected, rising at least two feet 11 inches and perhaps as high as five feet three inches by 2100, they said.

In low-lying Florida, where 95 percent of the population lives within 35 miles of its 1,200 miles of coastline, a swelling of the tides could cause serious problems. So what is Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection doing about dealing with climate change?

“DEP is not pursuing any programs or projects regarding climate change,” an agency spokeswoman said in an email to the Times earlier this month.


Crist’s successor, Gov. Rick Scott, doesn’t think climate change is real, even though it’s accepted as fact by everyone from NASA to the Army to the Vatican.

“I’ve not been convinced that there’s any man-made climate change,” Scott said last week. “Nothing’s convinced me that there is.”

That guy is really a pustulent sore on the body politic. Sent May 21:

When Governor Scott pronounces himself unpersuaded about the reality of global climate change, saying that nothing’s convinced him of its existence, he reveals more about himself and the contemporary Republican party he represents than about the state of contemporary climate science. In the world of science, nobody needs convincing anymore; evidence for the human causes and catastrophic consequences of climate change is overwhelming and utterly unambiguous. In GOP-world, however, the laws of physics and natural phenomena are subordinate to popular preference; the disasters attendant to the greenhouse effect will be nullified by tea-party decree. Why isn’t Mr. Scott convinced? Hint: it’s not because he’s examined the evidence. Rather, it’s because he (along with his ideological allies throughout the country) is philosophically opposed to any policy that doesn’t generate higher profit margins for the fossil fuel industry. The Governor’s already made up his mind; don’t confuse him with the facts.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 2, Day 5: Keep ’em Ignorant!

The Attleboro Sun-Chronicle (MA) runs a fairly standard “hey, it’s snowing! Does that mean global warming is bunk?” piece, replete with a quote from an Accuweather denialist at the end.

So-called “climate skeptics” are fond of pointing out extreme snowfalls as somehow “disproving” the whole notion of global warming, thereby demonstrating the dismal state of science education in our country. A warmer atmosphere means that more water evaporates and turns into precipitation, be it rain, snow, hail or any of the peculiar combinations for which Massachusetts is rightly famed. The science of evaporation is hardly controversial — and the science behind the greenhouse effect has been firmly established for many decades. One of the first predictions of climatic instability as a consequence of increased atmospheric CO2 appeared in Popular Mechanics — in 1953! — and climatologists have been refining their analyses ever since. But most “climate skeptics” are unworthy of the term; a skeptic is one who relies on evidence and understanding, while the current crop of naysayers wear their ignorance of basic scientific concepts as a badge of honor.

Warren Senders

Month 12, Day 15: Betcha Didn’t See THAT One Coming!

The Times reports on a new study released by the National Academy of Sciences that predicts a world of hurt for the Southwest.

As scientists attempt to warn residents of the American southwest that potentially catastrophic droughts are all but inevitable in the coming decades, the area’s politicians are locked in an ideological trap that makes it impossible for them to respond sensibly. Since the rise of the Tea Party movement, inflexible denial of the very possibility of climate change is now the only position open to Republican legislators who wish to avoid primary opposition. Interestingly, this isn’t the first time they’ve refused to admit the relevance of warnings from other sectors of society. If I recall correctly, “nobody” anticipated the breach of the levees in New Orleans, the absence of Iraqi WMDs, the collapse of the housing market, or, for that matter, that Osama Bin Laden might attempt a terror attack in the United States. The word “nobody” seems to be a sort of conservative shorthand for “people who understand the problem.”

Warren Senders

Month 11, Day 24: Climate Zombie Apocalypse Warning

Struggled to find an article to use as a hook for tomorrow’s letter. Finally gave up and wrote POTUS.

Dear President Obama,

As the 111th Congress enters its lame-duck phase, Republican legislators are already telling their supporters to expect hearings and inquiries. I imagine they’d probably subpoena your dog, Bo, if they could find a pretext.

It is folly to imagine that compromise is possible with this group of nihilists. While I applaud your bipartisan instincts, they are useless against the incoming GOP caucus.

There is no area in which a willingness to compromise is more dangerous than that of climate change. With “climate zombies” like Joe Barton, John Shimkus and Darryl Issa all eagerly anticipating opportunities to subject climate scientists to hostile questioning and intimidation, we can look forward to a profoundly depressing couple of years — years in which one climatic “tipping point” after another will come and go, leaving us as a nation and a species with fewer options for our survival.

There can be no “middle way” between species extinction and survival. The actions of the United States in the upcoming Cancun conference are of critical importance — and yet we hear over and over again that we shouldn’t expect too much.

My daughter will be six this coming January. She expects to live happily in a world filled with life and beauty. Is that too much?

These destructive, thoughtless, anti-science, anti-reality forces have declared war on you, and on all of us — please fight them with all the strength and resources you have. We are depending on you, and we’re getting pretty worried.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

Month 11, Day 23: Surprise!

The 2006 report criticizing Michael Mann and his colleagues for methodological slip-ups was in large part plagiarized, reports USA Today.

Goodness. I’m shocked, I tell you! Shocked!

There are two important things to understand about the news that a 2006 report to Congress which fostered a Republican cottage industry of climate conspiracy theorizing was substantially plagiarized. Dan Vergano’s article correctly notes that plagiarized material in the report doesn’t necessarily invalidate its conclusion that the climate scientists whose work Dr. Wegman examined made methodological errors. But the corollary point is that such problems don’t necessarily invalidate the climatologists’ conclusions. Innumerable subsequent studies have validated their work; the world is indeed getting hotter exactly as Mann and his colleagues predicted. Not that this will make a difference to the “climate zombies” entering the House of Representatives, who are now poised to spend the next two years holding irrelevant hearing after irrelevant hearing, wasting the time of scientists who are struggling to address the most significant threat humanity has yet faced in its millennia of existence on this planet.

Warren Senders

Month 11, Day 1: Evidence? We Don’t Need No Steenkin’ Evidence!

The L.A. Times runs an article by Neela Banerjee noting that the Republican climate zombies are in a position to screw everything up should they (as seems distressingly likely) gain power in this election.


When Republican congresspeople dismiss the scientific consensus on the role of carbon dioxide in global climate change, they selfishly sacrifice the long-term health of the country and the planet for the sake of immediate political expediency. Their readiness to declare that climate science is not “settled” demonstrates a distrust of expertise that runs counter to their ideological slant — and they’ve been equally ready to dismiss expert information in other areas — as in the run-up to the Iraq war, where the Bush administration and their enablers in the Republican caucus systematically cherry-picked intelligence to support their predetermined policy objectives. That debacle cost us the lives of thousands of soldiers, countless Iraqi civilians, and our country’s credibility in the eyes of the world. It’s time for climate deniers to listen to the experts: the evidence for human causes of global warming is far, far stronger than that for Iraqi WMDs.

Warren Senders

Month 10, Day 31: It’s Halloween! I’m Going As David Koch!

Tim Rutten writes in the LA Times about the corporate role in creating the current army of climate zombies who threaten to derail our already pitiful progress on getting a law in place to deal with GHG emissions.

Voters are regularly told that experience in business is a political plus; the notion of running the state or the country “like a company” is extolled. But tobacco companies conspired to hide a fact: their product killed people who used it, and oil companies have likewise conspired, hiding the reality that their product is rendering our planet uninhabitable. Apparently corporations are not only prepared to ignore facts if they get in the way of a healthy quarterly report, but they haven’t yet figured out that killing your customers is bad for business. If we elect corporate CEOs to public office, we should not be surprised if they behave like corporations, employing mendacity, avarice, and short-sightedness to the detriment of our common welfare. The fossil fuel interests’ fixation on denying the existence of the gravest threat humanity has ever faced makes the big tobacco companies look like a bunch of pikers.

Warren Senders