Year 4, Month 6, Day 9: Billiard Balls

The Philadelphia Inquirer runs an op-ed on climate change. Illustrated, presciently, with this picture: .


With a new study showing 97 percent of scientific papers on climate change since 1991 agree that fossil fuels are largely responsible, the doubters need to stand aside so public-policy initiatives to protect the Earth can proceed.

There is as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere now as there was in the Pliocene Age, three million years ago, when oceans were 70 feet higher and temperatures warmer. Carbon dioxide levels are 41 percent higher now than during the Industrial Revolution – and climbing.

The doubters, though, have done a lot of damage. By insisting climate change isn’t occurring, or not caused by human use of fossil fuels and industrialization, they have reduced investments in alternative energy and slowed the progress of policies such as demanding higher vehicle gas mileage and imposing stronger emission standards on coal plants.

Their ranting has so muddied the water that less than half of the American public knows that most scientists agree that fossil fuels cause climate change, according to a Pew Research study. They have spewed so much misinformation that politicians, including President Obama, appear afraid to call them out.

So….I did the best I could with it:

The illustration accompanying Sunday’s editorial on climate change is curiously and ironically appropriate. The mastodon — a prehistoric version of the elephant — could be a fine symbol for the regressive and anti-science Republican party which has done so much to hinder our national ability to respond to a clear and rapidly growing threat. With an all-encompassing disregard for the intellectual advances made during the past several hundred years, today’s GOP is nostalgic, not for the Leave-It-To-Beaver Eisenhower decades, but for the Dark Ages.

This would be hilarious if it were in a movie, but as a recipe for governance, it’s a terrible mess. When legislators who deny cosmology, biology, climatology and physics can influence our public policies on matters of scientific fact, it’s potentially disastrous, as our current inability to address the accelerating greenhouse effect makes clear. Will inaction on climate change consign us, with the mastodon, to extinction?

Warren Senders

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