Friday, December 09, 2005

Now we know how conservatives plan to deal with global warming-- straight out of looney tunes.

We know that Republicans tend to ignore any scientific research or data that doesn't fit their ideology, that this administration has completely ignored global warming related data even when it is as clear as a picture. So not surprisingly, they continued this stance at a global warming conference in Montreal this weekend, where other countries agreed to begin working towards a second round of emission reductions with or without the United States.

We now have, as was predicted by global warming models years ago, more and bigger hurricanes. The excuse the conservatives gave that we were entering a 'natural cycle' gave up the ghost with this years hurricane season, which set and shattered records for, among other things, most named storms, most hurricanes, most hurricanes striking land and most large (cat 4 or higher) hurricanes. Also, the lowest barometric pressure ever recorded in a hurricane-- and three of the top six (five of the six of which have been recorded since 1980). Records that were kept since the 1850's. So, clearly what happened this year was something unnatural. And that was on the heels of the disastrous 2004 hurricane season. Of course, we see that the global warming model is backed up by measurably higher water surface temperatures across the globe. And ocean levels are rising-- everywhere. Climate change has also fallen into other patterns predicted up to 20 years ago by global warming researchers. For example, here in the southwestern United States, we are getting hotter and drier, which was predicted by models even as far back as the 1970's.

We also know that Republicans are generally against creating big government spending programs on anything (especially when it comes to basic research).

That is what makes this story all too ironic, to the point of being funny.

And while it's still a bit of a long shot, Uncle Sam could be called in to sponsor research to find ways to blast dangerous storms out of the sky or put rain clouds over parched land.

"This is a fascinating subject to me, and the idea that we can actually impact weather is exciting, and I guess, frightening in some ways," Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said during a November hearing on a bill that could start up a federal weather modification research program.

In a bill introduced this year by Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, a new board of scientists would be able to dole out federal research money for weather modification, which she said is important, especially considering this year's record-breaking hurricane season. Highlighted by hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the 26-named storm season continued past its official end date of Nov. 30 this year. Tropical Depression Epsilon, formerly a hurricane, was still chugging along the north Atlantic on Thursday evening.

Stop and consider. Republicans have painted themselves into a corner. Global warming is obviously happening, everywhere from Mt. Kilimanjaro, with its crater bare for the first time in 11,000 years, to your local news reports (for example, here in Arizona, our four worst fire seasons have been 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, as drought and heat ravaged forests succumb first to bark beetle infestation which finishes killing the trees, and then to fires-- and when some of the fire ravaged regions begin to grow back, it is with desert vegetation, not more trees). They can't reverse themselves in their steadfast denial that it is happening-- this would be the mother of all flip flops, nor can they ignore the ruinous effects that these weather cycles are having on the economy back home, so now Republicans like Hutchison propose at least making some token payments to show that they are doing something.

Weather modification is a pipe dream at best, featuring in some quarters proposals to blast apart hurricanes with huge bombs and ideas that have proved fruitless and futile in the past and tinkering with something we know very little about at worst, but it seems to be the Republican solution to the problem of global climate change.

Think about it. Blow up hurricanes. Move the clouds. Doesn't this sound like something it would take Republicans to come up with?


Brandon said...

It sounds like a joke--the idea of blasting hurricanes apart with large bombs. But a few months ago we had callers on some of our Wisconsin Public Radio talk shows who actually thought you could use--brace yourself--NUCLEAR WARHEADS--to blast apart hurricanes and/or tornadic activity. It took a qualified climatologist the better part of ten minutes to explain why this wouldn't work and why the results of the nuclear warheads would be worse and more prolonged than the after effects of a natural disaster. Talk about dense.

Scary. Very Scary.

Rhino-itall said...

India and China, which are exempt from Kyoto's emissions cuts, have no plans to submit to those mandates any time soon, though China is the world's second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The U.S. has also consistently rejected Kyoto. This has been true throughout the Bush years, but it was equally so during the Clinton ones. In 1997, the U.S. Senate adopted the Byrd-Hagel Resolution by 95-0, urging the Clinton Administration not to sign any climate-change protocol that "would result in serious harm to the economy." In 1998 Al Gore signed the Protocol. Yet President Clinton, who was in Montreal yesterday to scold the Bush Administration for its inaction, never submitted it to the Senate.

Eli Blake said...

So that is a reason to do nothing? Besides, earlier on, the jury could reasonably still be out on this. But every year that passes now, there is more and more evidence that global warming is not only a reality, but it is probably too late to prevent catastrophic climate change. It is pretty much a given by now that in the next hundred years sea levels will rise worldwide by from 1-4 feet, which will be devastating for low lying areas like Florida and much of our gulf coast. We can still ameliorate its effects, but the fact is that we are now paying the price for years of inaction when we actually might have done something about it.

In any case, the new coastlines and climate can, and I will be sure to remind people in the future, should rightly be called the legacy of conservatism to the world.

Rhino-itall said...

eli, you fit right in here. just like your blogmates, you feel that everything in the world is the fault of conservatives, and you completely ignore the facts when i bring them to your attention. you are politically blind. Clinton was in office for 8 years, what did he do to save the environment? why didn't he sign kyoto? Leaving aside for now that global warming alarmists like yourself might be wrong, what about china? what about india? is it the fault of christian conservatives that these two major industrialized nations are exempt from any environmental regulations? How about the mighty U.N. why don't they force china to comply? couldn't it be the U.N.'s fault? What about france? how about russia? it will be the legacy of conservatism if the world comes to an end? the conservatives in the U.S. are in control of this country only, are we the biggest offenders? are we the only offenders? why is it our legacy? why can't it be the clinton legacy? he had the first opportunity to sign kyoto, but he didn't. Don't feel pressure to argue your point eli, i don't expect it. you have no facts to back you up just emotional, irrational fears of "seas rising 4 feet" that you regurgitate from greenpeace or wherever you get that crap.

brian said...

Yes, but you also have to remember that Rhino is like Lex Luther in the first Superman movie. He WANTS global warming so that his 2000 acres of farm land in Kansas will become beachfront property when the sea level rises.

Rhino-itall said...

you know, that's funny because much like lex luthor, i am a genius, and i shave my head. I have also always been a fan of lex luthor, i was always impressed that he was able to beat superman with just his wits. He was only beaten because of his one weakness that i also share. i'm talking about women of course. can't live with them, can't leave them alone with superman drowning in a pool 10 stories below manhattan.

Eli Blake said...


No, pretty much all reputable scientific institutions that have looked at the problem agree on that. Estimates vary, but most are in that range.

Here are a couple: NASA

and EPA

But hey, if you really insist on not believing it, go invest in a beachfront condo in Florida.

And speaking of money, if there was no global warming, why would companies be spending money improving port facilities in places like Churchill, Manitoba and the Russian Siberian coast, preparing for the day when the 'northwest passage' will be open and trans-arctic shipping can take place? Heck, I even put a picture of what is happening to the Arctic on my blog, you can see it by hitting the link under 'as clear as a picture.' On my blog is another link to the article it comes from.

Eli Blake said...

And why did Clinton not sign Kyoto? Because the leadership in the Senate would not have allowed a ratification vote (remember that Republicans had undisputed control of both houses of Congress for the last six years of the Clinton administration).

I don't argue that conservatives have the votes in the U.S. to do what they want now. I only argue that we will all pay for the consequences down the road.

Eli Blake said...

And thank you Rhino. Your insipid assumption that I must get all my information from Greenpeace gave me all the ammunition I needed to make a post on my blog about the Republican mindset.

Rhino-itall said...

insipid? i hope that's a compliment. anyway, i just looked at the epa link, it was very long and boring, can you please point out the parts where it says human beings, more specifically Americans are responsible for the coming end of the world? i would find it myself, but i left my phd in my other pants. oh and after you show me that, show me that part that says the answer is to crush the u.s. economy and basically destroy the american way of life to solve this "problem" i would also appreciate, if it isn't too much trouble if you can point to the part where it says the warming of the earth since the last "mini ice age" isn't a natural phenomenon, and that all of this data is not disputed by any reputable scientists. and then, when you do all of that, i will show you where it is.
insipidly yours

Rhino-itall said...

oh i almost forgot to address the clinton thing. the actual reason why clinton didn't bring it to congress is because it was a stupid unfair treaty that would have penalized the U.S. and helped our global competitors. who by the way are not subject to kyoto or any other environmental standards. so in fact, if we were to sign it, and destroy our industry, we would help the environment by shutting down all of our new clean efficient factories, and the old dirty ones in china would take all that business and be running full steam ahead, with no silly treaty, or pesky environmentalists to clean them up. so here's my compliment to bj clinton, good job bj. you got that one right, thank god al gore didn't get elected.

Eli Blake said...


It says 2-7 feet in the next century in the EPA article (remember you suggested that the data I had came from Greenpeace-- so I already refuted you on that).

As far as your claim that it is a 'natural' phenomenon-- scientifically, the ball is in your court to prove it. Here is why--

The original hypothesis that scientists and environmentalists proposed in the 1970's and 1980's was that carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere due to human activity (since all other known sources of CO2, animal life and volcanic activity have not changed in the past few decades) is affecting the climate, since the hypothesis of global warming was based on the chemical property of CO2 that it traps heat. During the 1970's and 1980's people on the right claimed that this wasn't happening. So, scientists applied the scientific method. They developed computer models that would make predictions as to how the climate would change if it was happening. They predicted some specific variations (i.e. the prolonged drought in the Southwestern United States as the average storm track moved northward (that is happening), the accelerated retreat of mountain glaciers (also, check), the measurable increases in surface water temperatures which would lead to more and bigger hurricanes (also, check) and most visibly the melting of the polar ice caps which would raise sea level (and sea level has been measured reliably since at least the 1400's by Dutch engineers who had to figure out how much pressure the dikes had to withstand) and it didn't start rising at all until the last century, and then at a very slow rate until the last few years.

So, in other words, the scientific method bears out the hypothesis that CO2-caused global warming is occurring (thereby answering the charge from the right, 'prove it' that they echoed from the 1970's-1980's).

Now, you are perfectly free to propose an alternative proposal that could also explain the evidence (i.e. that it is a natural phenomenon) but according to standard scientific procedure you have to then make a prediction or design an experiment to test your hypothesis. When scientists make a prediction and it is then verified by measurement or experimentation, then the onus is on others to disprove their theory. Proposing a competing hypothesis after the fact then requires collecting or by experimentation creating some evidence that is not explained by the first theory.

(unless of course you are an advocate of the theory of Intelligent Design, in which case you undoubtedly believe that your untested hypothesis should be given equal scientific credence with the hard evidence that backs up what is now accepted as the scientific standard). If it ISN'T due to human caused CO2 emissions, then, to say the same thing that you guys said to us, PROVE IT! We proved our case (and I once worked in a laboratory where we measured what was in rainwater, so I can tell you that strict scientific standards are maintained in the labs).

Rhino-itall said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rhino-itall said...

ok, so it could be even less than 4 feet. it could be only 2 feet, in a century. how much did the water rise in the previous century? i'm actually asking for real, i have no idea but would be interested to know. Anyway, 2 to 7 feet is a really big range. And conventional wisdom said that the sun rotated around the earth for a really long time too, the best scientists of the day thought the earth was flat etc. etc. the people who opposed them were kooks, or to use your terminology, conservatives. so i would say again, 2 things:
if the seas will rise 4 feet in the next 100 years, its not worth destroying the economy over.
If the world is coming to an end because of global warming, It really can't be the fault of the Bush administration. Or any U.S. administration for that matter. Unless you are telling me we're the only country in the world who contributes to your unproven theory.

Rhino-itall said...

oh and when i was in highschool i once worked in a restaurant so i can tell you the standards of every kitchen in every restaurant in the world.