Sunday, October 11, 2015

Climate Sunday: Partisan Witch Hunt Edition

The GOP-lead (well, kind of, anymore) House of Representatives has been on a bit of a depressing trend that's come to light regarding basically using a branch of the federal government to grind political axes, so, call it "serendipity", but it looks like they're doing that regarding climate change science as well. Jagadish Shukla, a climate scientist, is going to get a House going-over for...well...writing a letter.

Yep. Writing a letter. He signed on to a letter requesting that the government investigate, it turns out, fossil fuel companies, to find out what they knew about man-made climate change, and when they knew it. It's come to light that Exxon, for one, has known about man-made climate change for thirty years. It's probably more than just them. (BP, for one, did a weird thing where they dropped denialism as being their bag and took up greenwashing their image, while still be dirty as hell.) So it should seem like a reasonable inquiry. They knew something that impacted billions of people (all the people on this planet) and kept a very tight lid on it to maintain their profits. That's some seriously horrible stuff, right?

Well, if you are a hard-core climate change doubter (which I think is becoming the new standard, since the poor dears fret so at being called denialists--my choice of calling them "feckless gas-holes" was, alas, ignored), like Rep. Lamar Smith, the Republican who chairs the House Committee on Space, Science and Technology, what is really awful is being a climate change scientist who also has a political opinion regarding what to do about science change based on one's research. Where in the world would a scientist get the idea that he should have a political opinion--or challenge those precious fossil fuel companies who fund denialism propaganda and political campaigns, like, for example, Lamar Smith's?  Can we think of a better reason than that why Lamar Smith thinks scientists' business is his business?

But let me not beat up on the House GOP denialists--or is that doubters?--alone. The GOP Senate is not without their oddball hearings and ridiculous misinformation. Sen. Ted Cruz, 2016 presidential candidate and possible Speaker of the House contender, is such a showoff of his own ignorance he berated the Sierra Club president in a show hearing with denialism that wasn't even new, un-debunked, high-quality denialism. We already know you aren't Galileo, Senator, your mis-information doesn't need to be as old as him!

This politicization of climate science is so needless though. What if we could come to an agreement that accepting climate change doesn't give you liberal cooties? What a wonderful--and healthier--world that would be!

(UPDATE: Sorry, I had meant to explain my use of the above graph--the Hockey Stick graph--in the context of this post. Well, remember that thing when Climategate happened and all climate science was debunked because there was such a scandal and conservative blogs and publications were spiking the ball left and right like "We got you! We scored the political point, so now the science isn't true!" Right. Well, eight investigations later exonerating the scientists, and climate change is still a thing, that was apparently a monster waste of breath. Because, it turns out, science does not care about your politics.  It's about data. You can't lawsuit and FOIA request it away.)

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