Climate change is real. There is almost no disagreement among the thousands of climatologists around the world who have conducted decades of exhaustive research that concludes the planet is warming and it’s due in part to greenhouse gases produced by man.
Most all nations agree with the science. The Paris climate accord was adopted in 2015 with the goal of reducing carbon dioxide emissions. President Trump, however, pulled the United States out of the agreement shortly after taking office. Since then, he has called climate change a “hoax,” and whenever there’s a cold snap he wonders aloud where global warming is.
That cold is called weather. It’s not what climate change represents. Rising temperatures mean warming oceans, bigger, more destructive storms, catastrophic flooding, melting ice caps and glaciers and sea levels rising — all of which is happening as I write this.
“(I)t is prudent to develop and implement strategies that address the risks to society associated with increasing greenhouse gas emissions.”
A climatologist didn’t say that. ExxonMobil did.
The insidious denial of scientific evidence is fueled only by Trump’s allegiance to the coal industry, big oil and gas producers, utilities, shipping and so on. To Trump, it’s more important to make the next quarter’s number than to leave behind a viable planet, and so typical of this president’s “leadership.”
“Let me blunt. Trump is choosing to kill people in order to increase to profits of the polluting interests to which he is beholden,” Michael E. Mann, a distinguished professor of atmospheric science at Penn State University told Salon this week. “I cannot think of a more craven act than this.”
Trump has never explained who is perpetrating his alleged climate change hoax. It’s another of the president’s baseless conspiracy theories aimed at adding confusion to a complex issue with which many Americans are only casually familiar.
But what motivates climate scientists? If there’s no such thing as global warming, why aren’t they all moving into other fields of study? And why do so many prestigious institutions continue to support their work?
“The throes of denial must feel a lot like skepticism,” Lee McIntyre of Boston University’s Center for Philosophy and History of Science wrote in the New York Times in 2015. “The rest of the world ‘just doesn’t get it.’ … Yet a warning should occur when we feel ourselves feeling self-righteous about a belief that apparently means more to us than the preservation of good standards of evidence.”
Here’s a good standard of evidence: Six weeks into a pregnancy, a fetus isn’t a human being yet, a fact established by medical researchers who, unlike the pro-birth crowd, know what they’re talking about.
“At six weeks, the embryo is forming what eventually will develop into mature systems,” Dr. Jennifer Kerns, the director of research in obstetrics at San Francisco General Hospital told Wired. The fetus at that point is, “a group of cells with electrical activity…we are in no way talking about any kind of cardiovascular system.”
Trump glommed onto abortion to win the support of evangelical Christians despite his well-documented immoral, unethical and inhumane behavior. Evidently, Trump’s evangelical base would rather shake hands with the devil than hold the president accountable under their own canons of piety.
The earth isn’t 6,000 years old, either. Science puts the age of the planet at more like 4.5 billion years. Nevertheless, at Ken Ham’s Creation Museum in Kentucky (admission $30), you can see an exhibit depicting Adam and Eve living harmoniously among dinosaurs in the Garden of Eden just a few thousand years ago.
Ham’s “proof” of this astonishing “fact” is the flag of Wales, on which is pictured a flying red dragon. His conclusion is flying red dragons are dinosaurs that lived in Wales with people. So, Mr. Ham, should “Flintstones” cartoons be presented in high school biology classes because they more accurately depict prehistoric life?
A century of scientific research has determined dinosaurs lived between 65 and 230 million years ago during the Mesozoic Era, long before man appeared. But if fundamentalist Christians accept that, Ham knows, they’d also be forced to confront everything they read in Genesis.
“No scientist observed dinosaurs die. Scientists only find the bones … and because many of them are evolutionists, they try to fit the story of the dinosaurs into their view,” argues Ham without irony.
Are any Republicans speaking out in support of science? Of course not. To punch a hole in Ham’s “reasoning,” for example, would be to lose votes, and therein lies the explanation for the GOP’s war on science. It’s more important for conservatives to endorse fallacies than stand up for the facts on climate change, abortion, evolution and a myriad of other issues that require science, logic and reason to fully understand.
Thus, a willfully ignorant electorate benefits Republicans; the less voters are willing to seek out the truth, the more likely conservatives are to win elections.
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, writer and author who lives in Kennesaw. You can contact him through his website at kevinemmetfoley.com.