Sunday, December 5, 2010

House Republicans, are you serious?

So I read last week that the house republicans have decided to eliminate the special house committee on climate change. I can't believe how hard they're working to submarine any progress on the issue. Our planets climate is changing, because of human activities, PERIOD. There is no longer a debate about that fact, so for an entire political party to dismiss the largest environmental crisis of all time and dissolve the house committee tasked with addressing that issue seems more than a little foolish. Actually it seems downright idiotic. Republicans talk all the time about not saddling our future generations with debt. That rhetoric obviously only goes so far. They can't be terribly concerned with the well being of future generations if they are unwilling to even recognize the threat that CO2 emissions pose to our planet, and all human societies. Its really simple, climate change is going to happen and we can either get our shit together and deal with it now or its effects will get more and more costly every passing year, that ought to make sense to conservatives and liberals alike. Why not act now, invest in green energy and technology and be an example for the entire world? Surely independence from foreign oil is desirable. The technology is there, all it takes is the political will.

There are alot of reasons to deal with climate change, but as anglers one glaring reason is, steelhead go to the ocean. The ocean is going to get alot less productive for coldwater fish like steelhead when the climate changes. Add in the fact that increased atmospheric CO2 is already acidifying our oceans and in 100 years it may not matter how far we've come in terms of the management of our wild salmon. If the ocean isn't a productive place for salmon it will all be for not.


  1. Agreed that the republicans are neanderthals, but your sweeping statement regarding human contribution to climate change is a bandwagon, in my opinion. The climate is changing, no doubt. We are fucking up the earth, no doubt. But the links between post-industrial waste and climate change are mostly circumstantial, and while compelling, it seems awfully un-scientific for the science community to make a verdict.

    Most importantly, our response does not require a verdict. In other words, we will serve ourselves and our planet best by planning for the worst. If you haven't already read What's the Worst That Could Happen by Greg Craven, seek it out. And check out his profound video on youtube:

  2. I fundamentally disagree. Adding CO2 to the atmosphere at our current rate is certain to have catastrophic impacts on our planet. While your approach is based in logic and reason and you seem to conclude that we ought to do something about climate change, those who stand to profit from the status quo are happy to use those arguments to instill doubt in the uninformed masses. More greenhouse gas = more greenhouse warming. More CO2 = more acidic oceans. These are rooted in the first principals of physics and chemistry

  3. Also, I fully understand I'm bucking the opinions of many of the world's leading climate scientists (and my Dad who's a science educator), but I think history has proven that when the world's leading scientists are entrenched in absolutes, they become the embodiment of darkness before a dawn.

  4. First, to focus on the most salient issue: whether one's interest is in the economy or the environment, prudent risk management absolutely requires that governments act to reduce all pollutants, especially greenhouse gases. Again, I cannot overemphasize the importance of seeking out Greg Craven's book and lectures on this subject, since he lays out such a convincing approach for handling this debate. It will help you convince doubters, and it does not require any speculation.

    That's the important stuff, in my opinion, but for fun and aggrivation I do like debating the question of whether humans have, in fact, caused the warming we are measuring on the earth's surface. All signs seems to point in that direction, and as you say, the fundamental laws of physics support the hypothesis that CO2 buildup is changing temperatures, and therefore climate. But my hackles go up when I hear people make absolute statements about the human contribution to temperature changes, because it's become so dogmatic. And science has a long history of building dogma over layers of connect-the-dots speculation that is later found to be incomplete and misleading. So I'm reserving judgement based on what I've read so far. If you can provide a particularly convincing scientific paper on this subject, I'd like to read it.

  5. Here's some great text from Wikipedia which shows clear concensus among climate scientists who responded to the survey. But I ask you to keep in mind how few people responded. And by dissenting from the group, a climate scientist guarantees himself a lifetime of ridicule and persecution. That kind of "religious" environment is bound to squelch research and opinions that challenge the mainstream. And that is a big part of the history of the scientific community (from my low-level, layman's opinion):

    Doran and Kendall Zimmerman, 2009
    A poll performed by Peter Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman at Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago received replies from 3,146 of the 10,257 polled Earth scientists. Results were analyzed globally and by specialization. 76 out of 79 climatologists who "listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change" believe that mean global temperatures have risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and 75 out of 77 believe that human activity is a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures. Among all respondents, 90% agreed that temperatures have risen compared to pre-1800 levels, and 82% agreed that humans significantly influence the global temperature. Economic geologists and meteorologists were among the biggest doubters, with only 47 percent and 64 percent, respectively, believing in significant human involvement. A summary from the survey states that:

    It seems that the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely nonexistent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.