Year 3, Month 11, Day 25: New Math

The Iowa City Press-Citizen is aware of a problem:

More than 40 University of Iowa scientists — some of them irked by the lack of climate change discussion in the recent presidential election — added their name to a statement released Monday declaring that climate change caused the 2012 drought.

All told, 138 science faculty and research staff from 27 Iowa colleges and universities — 44 from UI — put their stamps of approval on the statement, which conceded that although science can’t with 100 percent certainty pin human activities as the drought’s culprit, such extreme weather events in recent years are symptomatic of a climate that’s growing warmer because of the accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

With Iowa in the midst of an ongoing drought and the recent devastation of the East Coast by the unprecedented Hurricane Sandy, now is a “teachable moment” when it comes to climate change, said Jerry Schnoor, co-director of UI’s Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research and a leader in organizing the statement.

“We wanted to make clear that most scientists and people who teach science in our colleges and universities in Iowa feel quite strongly that climate change is here now and we’re suffering costs as a result of that,” he said. “There are a lot of things we can do to respond, both in terms of adapting to climate change and mitigating it and lowering our own emissions.”

Science, biyotches. Sent November 20:

While it was amusing to watch Republican strategists get sucker-punched by math and facts on election night, the moment of reckoning for climate change’s reality won’t be much to laugh about. Think about it: a major political party in the most powerful nation on Earth has rejected science and expertise in just about every area of policy. The GOP is grimly determined to create their own reality: Damn the experts! Full speed ahead!

This is fine for political reality, which is determined by the demands of the 24-hour news cycle. But climatic reality is determined by other factors, like the amount of CO2 in the upper atmosphere and the albedo of Arctic ice coverage. Carbon dioxide molecules don’t watch TV, and Arctic ice doesn’t care whether Karl Rove’s math is accurate. How much more devastation will it take for Republicans to acknowledge the scary factuality of a radically transforming climate?

Warren Senders

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