Year 2, Month 3, Day 23: Ignorance Vs. Attendance

The Pasadena Star-News has a pretty good article on the recent study from NASA that subtracts most of the non-human drivers of climate change from the equation and finds (surprise!) that we clever apes are in fact responsible.

The crucial paragraphs are buried, of course:

Michael Ghil, a distinguished professor of climate dynamics at UCLA familiar with the research calls the graph “pretty striking.”

But while he says the study “adds another brick in the edifice of the scientific evidence,” he warns, “it’s not going to convince people who don’t want to be convinced.”

“The political controversy about action to be taken is fairly independent of accumulated scientific evidence. The evidence for anthropogenic effects is there,” he said.

Sent March 14, in between watching the disaster in Japan and feeding my daughter and her friend some snacks.

The findings of the JPL study make it clearer that human activity, in particular our relentless transferal of carbon into the atmosphere, is the prime driver of global warming. To anyone who’s followed climate science over the past several decades, this conclusion is hardly surprising — but a disturbing proportion of Americans no longer trust or understand science and scientific method. Even if we ignore the climate crisis, a national loss of scientific literacy is a tragic choking of our hopes for a prosperous future. But when the consequences of runaway climate change are factored into the picture, it’s an intellectual as well as an environmental catastrophe. When ideology supersedes fact, it’s a recipe for disaster. Our nation’s citizens and policymakers cannot afford ignorance’s long-term consequences. Those who derive financial reward or political capital from distorting scientific facts act against the best interests of our nation and our species.

Warren Senders

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