Thursday, July 24, 2014

Climate Change Denial


I've often wondered why people would rather believe that climate change isn't happening, versus people who readily accept the consensus of 97% of the world’s scientists that it is. Then again, Mulder from the X-Files would be ‘proud’ that we’re in an age of conspiracy theories… except that was a TV show and reality is much more boring.

I've seen detractors of the science behind climate change point out anything from a lone dissenting scientist, to Fox News ‘coverage’, to supposed ‘studies’ that claim to refute the consensus of the VAST (nearly total) majority of climate scientists. What these folks focus on are things called ‘outliers’ to bolster their claim that somehow, someone thought it would be a great idea to tell us that man is altering the environment, and atmosphere, which in turn warms the planet and alters weather patterns and sea levels – all to probably sell solar panels or battery powered cars. In short, they think it’s a massive liberal conspiracy to – I don’t know what… sell more batteries? Good god, run for your lives. Hippies are telling you how to drive.

Any sane person would recognize that the argument against climate change is directly funded, organized, and disseminated by the Oil, Gas, and Coal industries.

Why would they try to convince you to carry on as normal and say that Global Warming/Climate change is all some conspiracy? Because this fact loses them money if CLEAN energy is deployed, like solar, wind, and geothermal.

Some of the bullshit lies that they say I will directly address. But first, let’s focus on science, and how you understand it (or don’t).

Climate scientists can analyze ice samples from glaciers that are millions of years old; Ice that has not melted since the dinosaurs were around. You can find such glaciers in Antarctica, and Greenland. Perpetually frozen places (well historically anyway). Ice accumulates in layers. Snow falls, and is weighed down by other snow storms over time. Every layer adds around ¼ centimeter, and over time, you have a thick ice sheet. The snow that falls brings with it particles from the air at the time it was formed. This gives scientists an accurate picture of the global atmospheric composition, and from there they are able to deduce what the environment was like. You can couple this data with fossils, and other organics in order to gain an even more accurate picture: What life was thriving and dying, what volcanoes were erupting, even how thick or thin the ozone layer was. We can carbon date these samples to accurately say WHEN they came from.

It IS an exact science. The only thing that should cast doubt on any conclusion are things called ‘x-factors’, or factors that haven’t been added to the model. Occasionally someone will say something like ‘hey, did we factor in seismicity? Meteor impacts? Solar flares?’; And if the answer is ‘no’, then that data is added (not subtracted) to the model, in order to further refine it.

So really, what you are looking at over the past several decades is that we are refining a formerly fuzzy picture of the climate into a clearer image. Not the opposite direction. This is what has been OBSERVED.

What scientists know is that there has never been this much carbon in the atmosphere, this fast. Global average temperatures have never raised this fast without a massive natural disaster (like the Chicxulub asteroid impact that killed most of the dinosaurs). Since the Industrial revolution, carbon levels in the atmosphere have skyrocketed. Carbon is black, and black things absorb heat. Carbon particles absorb the heat in the atmosphere, warming it. In contrast, things like silver nitrate, or sulfur dioxide reflect heat back into space, cooling the atmosphere. If for example, we were to pump the atmosphere with many metric tons of silver nitrate, you would see a temporary cooling effect on the global average temperature.

Now, the ‘global average temperature’ is what climate scientists refer to as ‘global warming’ or climate change. Averages are calculated by gathering many sets of measurements, adding them up and dividing by the number of measurements to get the global ‘average’ temperature. So while it may be -25F in Alaska, for example, the ‘average’ would be offset by say, 135F in Death Valley, which would be a record.

Globally, the ‘average’ temperatures are rising. This causes weather patterns to become more severe, ice to melt in places it has not previously melted, and sea levels to rise.

Now, there have been some seriously ZANY fucking things, said by idiots who have NO understanding of climate science, such as I do, in order to politicize the issue, or display full-on their ignorance of the subject and contempt for ‘nerds’ who ‘think they know better than I do’.
So first, I’d like to address the ‘deniers’:

You are not a scientist. You have no understanding of what science is. You do not understand what ‘peer-reviewed’ means. You do not understand what ‘outliers’ are. And you are not qualified to question the conclusions of 97% of theworld’s EXPERTS. Let me repeat – EXPERTS. It is unfortunate that you ‘deniers’ are given equal time on news stations, in order for them to appear ‘balanced’. News channels exist these days to make money, to keep their viewers watching, and to promote the agendas of their sponsors. News channels are not scientists either. They are ‘infotainment’. They are also unqualified to comment on Global Warming/Climate Change.

To the ‘outlier’ scientists:

It is unfortunate that people have misconstrued the efforts of scientific skeptics, who are necessary to keep science honest and accurate, as a ‘movement of dissent’. Science is ALL about questioning common knowledge and consensus, but even the biggest science skeptic will tell you, all they have is a theory, and even their theories eventually need to be proven, or discarded. On an issue as important as this one, you ought to do a better job of explaining that your dissent is not proven science. It is a necessary component of science and it is getting the wrong amount of publicity and attention. One dissenting scientist out of 100, will require EXTRAORDINARY evidence, to be peer reviewed, in order to challenge current models. So far, not one scientific skeptic or peer reviewed study has turned out to be CORRECT. In fact, no climate denial study has EVER BEEN PEER REVIEWED! NOT ONE. Yet cable channels will go OUT OF THEIR WAY to find that one skeptic who swears up and down they are right. And they don’t care how crazy they are, so long as you’re watching.

To the cable channels:

Shame on you. You are the worst. You have singlehandedly turned an important issue that could be an existential threat to the human race and sensationalized it, politicized it, twisted it, and made it into a joke. You are probably going to be the sole reason nothing gets done to seriously address the threat of rising sea levels, severe weather, and damage to life and property, and the whole time you’re laughing your way to the bank. If you were a person, I’d have you savagely beaten, drug out to the street, and executed for treason. You are the WORST.

To the politicians:

The surprising lack of urgency on your part (liberals) is astounding. This isn't a ‘social issue’. This isn't a tax issue. This isn't even a re-election issue. This is a national security threat, a global problem, and will eventually make this world absolutely miserable. To the conservatives, your persistent pandering to the religious extremists in the Evangelical sector is not only dangerous, and sad, it is unbelievable. You would sacrifice the very future of this planet and the human race, just so you don’t look ‘wrong’ in the eyes of the people who believe in the Apocalypse. Honestly? The most dangerous kind of stupidity is the one  you possess.

To you:

Please stop reaching for outlier sciences. If they were in fact true, science would support that theory as prevailing. Science looks at hard data. While occasionally one of them gets greedy or falsifies data, this is not the norm, and those people will never work in the industry again. Peer review all but assures this will not happen. Science does not have an ‘opinion’. Belief in a scientific principle is based solely on if that principle works. If it can be refined, it will be. The one in a million expert who says things like ‘I challenge the current climate model’ must back it up with peer reviewed evidence, or it is just a theory.

In conclusion:

Science is not wrong. There is a reason Al Gore chose the title ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ for his climate change opus: IT IS NOT A CONVENIENT THING FOR US TO ACCEPT. He knows full well, that this is just as inconvenient as say, someone hitting your car, or your house being broken into. It is a shock. It’s something we DON’T want to accept. Who WANTS to accept that we are hopelessly destroying the entire food chain, the forests that give us air, the very weather patterns, and could eventually make the planet uninhabitable for human existence? It makes us feel BAD that we could be that horrible. But until we accept this ‘inconvenient truth’, we’re just making the problem worse and ignoring it.

Time to grow up, and put the X-Files where it belongs… on Netflix – for entertainment.

Why on earth would this be a ‘conspiracy’? What are ‘they’ trying to do? Sell you solar panels? That’s the conspiracy? Wow, seriously evil plan there, guys. I don’t know about you but I LoooOOoove my sky high A/C bill, and soot/smoke generating, fossil fuel burning, inefficient oil leaking car! Why the hell would I ever want a Tesla Model S? Doesn't even make that ‘Vroom vroom’ noise! That’s un-American, and an Obama plot to make me buy something that’s not a FORD!

Seriously. Grow. Up.

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