A ridiculous irony of climate change

One of the most ridiculous, far-fetched, totally made up claims of the climate change deniers has been that scientists all over the world have just been making up claims of climate change in order to get grants. A massive conspiracy! A fraud against the public! Republicans have turned this bogus claim into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For one egregious example, see “State of Fear” by Michael Crichton, a fictional version of this claim which is jammed with footnotes to discredited denier papers by the few scientists, mostly in the direct or indirect pay of fossil fuel companies, who can be bribed to falsify science or who are blind to reality out of conservative conviction.

This is part of their campaign of confusion – claims of climate change are all made up. If it isn’t made up it isn’t due to human actions. If it is real and due to human activity it won’t be that bad — growing corn in the Yukon! If it will be that bad there really isn’t anything we can do about it anyway. And so on.

In a rather delicious ironic turn, we can now predict, with 100 percent certainty that climate change will actually result in much more employment for scientists, not because they made it up but rather because it is already starting to affect humanity all over the world.

The increasing affects of climate change will drive the need for more scientific study, for more scientific knowledge, for more and better information to help us deal with the wide range of crises that are already starting to hit.

No scientist (particularly not the over 95 percent of climate scientists all over the world who are certain that climate change is real, is human-caused, and will get much worse) has made up research, invented statistics, nor hoped for major grants from a U.S. government still in the grips of too many climate change deniers, mainly Republicans but also coal-state Democrats.

In fact, the climate-change deniers in Congress (and several years ago in the Bush White House) have been busy trying to defund climate science, eliminate money for satellites that would give us more and better measurements of the climate, force scientists to avoid testifying to reality in front of Congressional committees, censor scientific government reports, and other efforts to make sure the public doesn’t hear the distressing proof about the direction the earth is headed.

We do need more scientists, more scientific studies, more research, and more scientific analysis to help us deal with climate change. The stupid claim that scientists were making this all up has made greenhouse gas emissions worse and helped delay serious efforts to address climate change by Congress, leading to our need for even more science to help deal with our new reality.

Virtually all the scientific uncertainty about climate change is about how bad it will become, not about whether or not it is real. And we need more science so we can dispel that kind of uncertainty.

There are dangerous tipping points in the environment, and we absolutely need to learn about them through more science, not by going over any climate cliffs.

Three of those potential tipping points are:

1.     The melting permafrost in the Artic, which as it melts releases some of the billions of tons of greenhouse gases that have been frozen for millennia.

2.     The frozen methane lying in the bottom of the ocean, which is rapidly changing due to increasing acidification and warming-another instance where billions of tons of methane is just waiting to overwhelm our atmosphere

3.     Potential changes in the ocean’s currents, driven in large part by salty water sinking to the bottom of the ocean in the North Atlantic-as fresh water melts from the ice sheets on Greenland, the change in ocean salinity in that part of the world could affect the currents of the ocean all over the world (the phenomenon nicknamed the “conveyor belt.” )

We do not know exactly where the last straws of these tipping points are and we need to know. Finding out by crossing them into massive environmental catastrophe is the wrong way to find out-we need more science.

These are all on top of recent studies of the health of the world’s oceans, which offer dire warnings about the changes already taking place, in ocean acidity, warming, sea level rise, and fishery health

So the delay caused by the climate change deniers and their corporate overlords has led to the need to fund more grants to more scientists to save humanity from itself! The irony shouldn’t blind us to the reality of our need for more knowledge.

Photo: Smoke from chimneys of a cement plant in Binzhou city, in eastern China’s Shandong province. China, the world’s largest producer of carbon dioxide, is directly feeling the man-made heat of global warming, scientists conclude in the first study to link the burning of fossil fuels to one country’s rise in its daily temperature spikes. The study appeared online in late March 2013 in the peer reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters. AP



Marc Brodine
Marc Brodine

Marc Brodine is Chair of the Washington State CPUSA. A former AFSCME member and local officer, he is currently an artist and guitar player. Marc writes on environmental issues and answers many web site questions.

Marc is the author of an extended essay on Marxist philosophy and the environment, titled Dialetics of Climate Change