Fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, extreme heat and drought. Weather events that used to be referred to as “once in a century” events have now become commonplace.
It’s true that weather events have always been with us but the scope and the scale of events in the past several decades has been increasing with frightening speed. Just this past year we have witnessed huge wildfires in the western U.S., severe drought in Texas and the Midwest, and extreme heat throughout most of the country, making 2012 the hottest year on record. Seems like every year we are now hearing from climatologists that we have just experienced the hottest year on record. We have watched news footage of communities devastated by fires, floods, tornadoes and hurricanes, the latest of which, Sandy, was the grandmother of them all. Mother Nature isn’t trying to tell us something. She is screaming at us. She is telling us in no uncertain terms that it is time to stop dithering and start doing something and that we’d better do it now and do it with conviction. We need a national policy to address the very real consequences of climate change and we need it yesterday. Actually, we needed it a few decades ago but that is water under the bridge.
In the face of this incontrovertible evidence of climate change, the Republican Party House leaders have come up with three candidates to head up the Congressional Committee on Science, Space and Technology to replace outgoing Chair, Ralph Hall of Texas. The Committee has jurisdiction over energy research, NASA, the National Weather Service and the National Science Foundation, as well as a host of related programs. And who did they pick? Three climate change deniers: Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California.
Rep. Smith has stated:
“The [ABC, NBC and CBS television] networks have shown a steady pattern of bias on climate change. During a six-month period, four out of five network news reports failed to acknowledge any dissenting opinions about global warming, according to a Business and Media Institute study.
“The networks should tell Americans the truth, rather than hide the facts.”
You can read his entire statement here.
Rep. Rohrabacher, on December 8, 2011 on the House floor, said this:
“In my lifetime, there has been no greater example of this threat [the military-industrial complex], which Eisenhower warned us about, than the insidious coalition of research science and political largesse–a coalition that has conducted an unrelenting crusade to convince the American people that their health and their safety and–yes–their very survival on this planet is at risk due to manmade global warming. The purpose of this greatest-of-all propaganda campaigns is to enlist public support for, if not just the acquiescence to, a dramatic mandated change in our society and a mandated change to our way of life. This campaign has such momentum and power that it is now a tangible threat to our freedom and to our prosperity as a people.
“Ironically, as the crusade against manmade global warming grows in power, more evidence surfaces every day that the scientific theory on which the alarmists have based their crusade is totally bogus. The general public and decisionmakers for decades have been inundated with phony science, altered numbers, and outright fraud. This is the ultimate power grab in the name of saving the world; and like all fanatics, disagreement is not allowed in such endeavors.
“Prominent scientists who have been skeptical of the claims of manmade global warming have themselves been cut from research grants and have been obstructed when trying to publish peer-reviewed dissenting opinions. How the mainstream media or publications like the National Journal, for example, have ignored the systematic oppression that I speak about is beyond me.”
It is worth noting that Mr. Rohrabacher has also stated on the House floor that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.
“[T]he emails leaked from the East Anglia University . . . simply revealed to the world what we already knew. There is a portion of the scientific community that is more interested in defending its findings rather than in finding the truth. . . .
“Climategate revealed that climate science is less about honest debate than ideological warfare. Despite the relentless push to dismiss the emails and to clear the scientists involved, the leaked emails can only be honestly read as an exposure of partisanship among climate change scientists. For that reason, it tainted not only the science but the investigations that would follow as groups scrambled to exonerate the scientists involved and to minimize the impact of their words.”
One has to wonder why these people who have been charged with the safety and welfare of their constituents, and by virtue of their position in the government, the safety and welfare of the rest of the country, are still so intent on denying what is as plain as the noses on their respective faces. The answer is as old as politics: money and power. They are willing to turn a blind eye to the truth in favor of defending the rights of polluters and providers of dirty energy while ignoring the very real fact that climate change is not only here but it is running rampant and will continue to do so until we either do something to ameliorate the damage we have done to the planet or until we pollute ourselves to extinction.
So here we are. Again. We won the election but the battle rages on. Under the leadership of any of the three, we can count on the House Science Committee to do absolutely nothing to address the problem of climate change other than to obstruct whatever measures President Obama tries to take to combat the threat facing not only us, but the planet. So it’s up to us to make some noise and to keep on making it until those in Washington wake up and smell the ozone.