Climate Change is Really Political

2012 Drought Conference

2012 Drought Conference

If one didn’t think the U.S. discussion of climate change was political, think again. U.S. Rep. David McKinley (R-West Virginia), added an amendment to a House appropriations bill to fund the Department of Energy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that would prohibit the two agencies from using funds that would “design, implement, administer or carry out specified assessments regarding climate change.”

Another way to put it, from McKinley’s perspective, is if you don’t like science, ban it.

House Republicans took exception to the Department of Defense addressing the recommendations of the National Climate Assessment, and have added two agencies whose work is directly related to mitigating the effects of extreme weather to their list.

The floor debate captured the essence of the politics of climate change:

“Spending precious resources to pursue a dubious climate change agenda compromises our clean-energy research and America’s infrastructure,” McKinley said on the House floor. “Congress should not be spending money pursuing ideologically driven experiments.”

Speaking against the amendment, Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio) said it disregards the research of the overwhelming majority of climate scientists.

“The Republicans, in general, don’t seem to trust the scientists,” Kaptur said. “This amendment requires the Department of Energy to assume that carbon pollution isn’t harmful and that climate change won’t cost a thing. That’s nothing but a fantasy.”

What next? Click here to read the rest of David Gutman’s coverage of this story in the Charleston, West Virginia Gazette.

And consider that June 2014 was the hottest month on record since records have been collected. Politicians like McKinley would deny the reality of human contributions toward global warming at the same time climate data released from the National Climatic Data Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, found that the worldwide average temperature over land and sea in June 2014 was 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the 20th century average of 59.9 degrees. That is reality.

People seeking scientific proof of anthropogenic global climate change are barking up the wrong tree. The goal of science, if unlike McKinley, we accept science, is not to prove, but to explain aspects of the natural world.

Around 1850, physicist John Tyndall discovered that carbon dioxide traps heat in our atmosphere, producing the greenhouse effect, which enables all of creation as we know it to live on Earth.

Carbon dioxide increased as a percentage of our atmosphere since Tyndall’s time at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. As a result, Earth’s average temperature increased by 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit.

The disturbance of the global carbon cycle and related increase in carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere is identifiably anthropogenic because of the isotope signature of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

We can also observe the effects of global warming in worldwide glacier retreat, declining Arctic ice sheets, sea level rise, warming oceans, ocean acidification, and increased intensity of weather events.

It is no wonder almost all of climate scientists and all of the national academies of science in the world agree climate change is real, it is happening now, it’s caused by humans, and is cause for immediate action before it is too late.

Politicians like McKinley don’t get it, and advocate against reality. That’s nothing new for some members of the Republican Party.

~ Written for The Climate Reality Project

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