Year 4, Month 3, Day 14: You Don’t Know What Love Is…

The Providence Journal gives a tip o’ th’ hat to senator Sheldon Whitehouse:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Nearly every week when Congress is in session, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse has stood on the Senate floor to deliver a speech on the dangers of climate change.

If Congress doesn’t act quickly, Whitehouse warns, global warming will lead to more air pollution, rising oceans, disease-carrying ticks and mosquitoes, Sandy-like storms and a wave of floods, heat waves, wildfires and droughts.

Whitehouse, a Democrat, says global warming is the top issue facing the country today, ahead of the economy, gun control and health care.

Environmental groups have praised him, conservative critics have excoriated him.

Whitehouse says he will continue his efforts until something is done.

“When it comes to this particular threat … Congress is asleep, and it’s time for us to wake up,” he says.

I dusted off an older letter in praise of Ed Markey, and did a bit of renovation. March 4:

Sheldon Whitehouse’s persistent calls for action make him one of the few politicians on the national scene to take climate change with the seriousness it demands. In truth, global heating carries the potential to make all other political issues irrelevant; a century from now the Sequester will be relegated to footnote status, but our children’s children will be struggling to survive on a drastically hotter planet. It’s particularly infuriating to compare the Senator’s work on this issue with the regressively anti-science positions of Senate and House Republicans, who’ve carried conservative anti-intellectualism to depths unplumbed since the McCarthy era.

Climatology is a scientific field, not an ideological stance, and the GOP’s readiness to politicize the debate on the threat and causes of climate change is a symptom of moral bankruptcy as well as scientific ignorance. Through his advocacy on behalf of future generations, and of the environment within which our civilization has flourished, Senator Whitehouse has occupied both the intellectual and ethical high ground.

Warren Senders

Month 11, Day 8: High Noon!

The Cleveland Plain Dealer runs an McClatchy article about climate scientists preparing to enter the media circus.

“This group feels strongly that science and politics can’t be divorced and that we need to take bold measures to not only communicate science but also to aggressively engage the denialists and politicians who attack climate science and its scientists,” said Scott Mandia, professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College in New York.

“We are taking the fight to them because we are . . . tired of taking the hits. The notion that truth will prevail is not working. The truth has been out there for the past two decades, and nothing has changed.”

Poor bastards. I’m going to send them all some letters of support; they’ll need all the help they can get.

It is terrific news that climatologists are preparing to challenge climate-change denialists. With the GOP takeover of the House, we can look forward to a long two years of anti-science theatrics, like Representative Darryl Issa’s promised hearings on the “climategate” non-scandal. Climate denialism is a linchpin of Republican ideology; these politicians insist (despite mountains of evidence and an overwhelming scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic global warming) that the problem either: A – doesn’t exist, B – exists but isn’t caused by humans, C – was fabricated by Al Gore and an international conspiracy of climate experts, or D – is too expensive to address. Each of these positions has been debunked many times over, but the minds of GOP politicians are, alas, closed to persuasion. I hope that the members of the proposed “climate rapid response team” are ready for the most exasperating and baffling arguments they’ll ever experience.

Warren Senders