Year 3, Month 9, Day 29: One False Move And The Bunny Gets It!

The Kennebec Journal (ME) has a denialist jackass named M.D. Harmon weighing in on a debate between various candidates for Senate in the state:

“Democrat Cynthia Dill answered next: ‘The exact opposite of what he said.’ Dill said the evidence is clear and ‘I am also convinced that it is the biggest threat to civilized society.'”

Wow. The chance that temperatures might rise on average a couple of degrees over the next hundred years is a bigger threat to civilization than the chance that Islamic jihadists might get nuclear bombs?

Doesn’t she know it will be a lot hotter at Ground Zero if the Iranians blow up Tel Aviv (or, for that matter, New York) than it might become on a midsummer day in Cape Elizabeth in 2075 because of “climate change”?

As “biggest threats to civilized society” go, one can think of quite a few more immediate worries than Al Gore having his beachfront house in Malibu swamped by a higher tide than he’s used to.

The article added, “Former Gov. Angus King, an independent, disagreed with Summers, too, and pulled up a graph on his smartphone showing carbon dioxide levels rising in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution. ‘I don’t see how you can possibly avoid the science,’ he said.”

OK, Mr. King. You’re a smart guy, and we both know that carbon dioxide levels have been rising since industrial development began lifting people out of widespread poverty in the 19th century.

But those levels have been 10 or 20 times higher in the distant past, and somehow life managed to continue.

Indeed, it flourished, as carbon dioxide is plant food and nursery owners now pump it into their greenhouses because current atmospheric levels aren’t high enough for maximum growth.

If carbon dioxide increases, so will food crops and trees, and that’s not a bad thing.

Double facepalm. Sent September 22:

As M.D. Harmon demonstrates, the ludicrous climate-change-doesn’t-exist arguments just keep on a’coming. Scientifically aware citizens do grow tired of playing whack-a-mole; there are surely better ways to spend one’s time than in endlessly debunking the same old arguments, exposing the same old strawmen.

Yes, life existed back when CO2 levels were much higher than they are today. No, it wasn’t human life. Yes, given enough time to evolve into new conditions, life is adaptable. No, the accelerating greenhouse effect isn’t going to give us enough time; we’ve got, not millions of years, but a few centuries.

Yes, many world governments are shying away from greenhouse gas reduction treaties. No, it’s not because they’re a bad idea, but because the fossil fuel industry is pouring billions of dollars into misdirection and misinformation.

Yes, a two degree increase seems small. No, it isn’t: two degrees (Celsius, not Fahrenheit) is the now-abandoned-as-unattainable maximum level consistent with sustainable civilization; we’re now heading for an increase closer to six degrees,. And therein lies the difference between climate reality and Harmon’s jihadist-with-a-bomb fever dream: a city or nation might take a decade to rebound from a terrorist attack, but an overheated planetary atmosphere (replete with mass extinctions, whole populations of climate refugees, collapsed agriculture and destroyed infrastructure) may well set human civilization back by millennia.

Warren Senders

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