Climate Change Is Real, But So Are the Politics
The patriotic libertarian and the patriotic socialist have long since agreed that global climate change is real. They also agree that predictions about the ultimate outcome of the world’s changing climate are speculation. This is the true hard science on the matter. The actions the world takes must be flexible due to this uncertainty. The climate is changing and at least some of that change is directly related to human activity, specifically the burning of fossil fuels. How much of the change is arguable for sure, but current temperature fluctuations are swinging beyond historical variations.
The thawing of the ancient iceboxes in the south and north of the planet are in progress. Such thawing will open a Northwest Passage to be sailed by the world’s merchant sailors soon. Countries like Tuvalu in the South Pacific are struggling to keep their heads above water, literally, as sea level rise begins to shrink their flat coral atoll of a country to nothing. Venice is building a vast complex of storm doors and sea walls to protect their city from global sea level rise. The British are also spending enormous amounts of money to protect London from storm surges coming up the Thames. Oil companies are investing billions in preparation for an ice-free Arctic that will soon be open to oil drilling. Investment of these large sums of money all around the world confirm that global climate change is happening.
Another thing that is abundantly clear to patriots is that historically America has been blessed with an advantageous climate. The United States has been able to feed itself, and much of the world, via vast tracts of arable land. In fact, one of America’s deepest and darkest times was related to an environmental catastrophe, the Dust Bowl. The black blizzards of the Great Depression’s Dust Bowl blighted these same vast tracts of arable land.
No one, including scientists, can be sure about how things will work out in the climate change roulette the world has begun. Perhaps things will work out in America’s favor. The odds seem long that changes to the climate will preserve this inherent American advantage. The United States can hardly afford any degradation to its current climate advantage.
Weather related disasters will strain the nation’s economic resources to the breaking point. Already hurricanes appear to be increasing in number due to the greater heat input into the atmosphere. These destructive storms are becoming more powerful. Tornadoes also appear to be on the increase in the breadbasket of America. Whether these trends will continue, no one can be sure, but the odds would seem to favor their continuation.
The denial of these scientific facts, which are all pointing to one conclusion, human industrial activity is affecting global climate, represents a great failure in American science. However, it is not just a failure of scientists or even of politicians. Politicians will always act like the political animals that they are and that is the one hard scientific fact about political science! Americans cannot continuously blame politicians for chasing the money as it is to be expected.
Its too easy to blame conservatives and corporations for this stunning failure to act upon the obvious. The patriotic libertarian and the patriotic socialist understand that Americans really wanted to believe these spin-doctoring scientists in the nineties. Their belief allowed them to live the lifestyle they coveted. Drilling for oil had made gasoline cheap and tooling around in a big SUV was fun.
In the early days, global climate change was referred to as global warming and this definitely helped muddy things. A few excessively cold winters and skepticism, became more vocal. Over the years, both sides of the debate have taken advantage of the uncertainty of future weather predictions. Both sides have been able to field their set of scientists and experts backing a narrow point of view. It is one of the reasons why the decision to take action has been put off for so long. There seemed to be no conclusive evidence one way or another to the average American.
The patriotic conversation starts with an acceptance that human-caused climate change is a fact. However, it is also a given that there has been partisan manipulation of data on both sides. The libertarian-socialist understands global climate change is a complex issue for the average American. That complexity has been increased by politics.
Weather still defies computer models to make long-term accurate predictions. This is due to the extraordinary amount of data that needs to be processed. Scientists are still years away from achieving processing speeds that allow them to collect data and crunch the numbers in time to beat the occurrence of the weather.
Despite these shortcomings in data collection, the essential equation that is the foundation for the algorithms has been verified as sound. The Earth’s weather is a large heat driven equation. As the temperature numbers being entered into the equation get bigger, one can expect bigger swings in the results.
In lay terms, this basic aspect of the equations defining weather models means one could expect colder winters, hotter summers, more and more violent hurricanes and tornadoes. Coupled with these greater violent weather events, there will be a good deal of unexpected variability. In a nutshell, the weather will become even more unpredictable as our computer models will be unable to keep pace with the accelerating change in the real world.
Exactly how this will all play out is still beyond technology to predict with exactitude. However, that does not mean the world should take no action and simply ignore the situation. Unfortunately, politics and money have clouded the issues for decades. The doubt became so great that the debate about solutions degraded into a debate about whether it was even real. That ridiculous presumption has again reared its ugly head.
The right suspects most proposed solutions to global climate change as the ravings of hippies trying to roll back America’s technological society to a nature-worshiping commune. The right also claims that it wants to make policy on hard science and not on political rhetoric. Unfortunately, for the right, science supports man-made global climate change, so they must move on or be dangerous obstructionists.
Libertarian-Socialists understand that the current scientific global climate change debate is about how dramatic and how fast the global climate is changing, not whether it is changing. Additionally, the matter of global sea level rise driven by global climate change can no longer be ignored. Decades of sponsored science against human-caused climate change may have muddied the water for Americans, but now the water won’t wait.
Without a doubt, there still exists reasoned debate among climate scientists globally about the ultimate outcomes. Global sea level rise is happening and accelerating as the ice caps melt. It is misguided for this reasoned debate about the EXACT causes of climate change to be seen as doubt that it is happening. IT IS HAPPENING!
The disagreement about HOW MUCH sea level will ultimately rise should not be used by the naysayers on the American political right to promote ideas of no “human-caused” climate change happening at all. The debate is no longer about whether this is being caused by industrial burning of fossil fuels among other human activities. There is little doubt of human-caused climate change at this point, but years of purposeful obfuscation of the facts has become difficult to reverse.
On the other hand, there have been indications that the American environmentalist lobby has been involved in clouding issues about climate change and the solutions. The environmental left has backed their own scientific studies and been caught skewing facts on some occasions to support a political agenda. Traditional environmentalist solutions often fail to take into account some basic pragmatic realities. Many of the environmentalist-sponsored climate models cannot be considered anything more than guesses due to uncertainties about the historical data and difficulty collecting real time data in the present.
In a patriotic conversation about global climate change, libertarian-socialists must make sure the debate revolves around scientific facts. Where facts are still debatable then the discussion needs to center on how to collect good data. With good data, verifiable and repeatable experiments can be used to gain more knowledge and make predictions. Predictions in the natural world are how scientific theories are tested. If the hypothesis cannot make a usable and testable prediction about the natural world, then it is subject to questioning.
Both sides are playing fast and loose with the facts. Doubts? How is it that fuel cell vehicles using hydrogen as fuel are touted as climate friendly vehicles? There is so much support that California subsidizes the purchase of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. However, the source of the hydrogen would most likely be coming as a byproduct of fracking in pursuit of natural gas. This seems to be a direct subsidy of extractive industry. How can this technology be touted as climate friendly?
Many will point to the relatively benign exhaust from fuel cell vehicles, which is water vapor. It is true water vapor is relatively benign, in general. However, water vapor is a greenhouse gas. There is no doubt of this. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. Water vapor is also directly related to cloud formation in normal weather, so pumping industrial amounts of water vapor into the atmosphere would seem unwise, even if water vapor was NOT a greenhouse gas. Water vapor IS a greenhouse gas however.
How is it that so much infrastructure is being built for a hydrogen economy? How is it that large automakers have invested heavily in this technology as a climate friendly solution to personal transportation? How is it that a byproduct of fracking could be considered environmentally friendly? Is it not because they have the support of the environmental left? Libertarian-Socialists say the answer is yes.
Science supports the above statements about the climate unfriendly nature of hydrogen yet the news media, journalists, politicians and other talking heads all see fuel cell vehicles as environmentally friendly. In fact, there are plenty of scientists that will say the vehicles are environmentally friendly. Of course, there are plenty on the other side as well, but maybe not as well funded.
Hydrogen vehicles are not climate neutral. For government to subsidize the fuel cell vehicle makes no sense. The advocacy of the technology by environmental lobbyists makes even less sense. Nonetheless, there is huge support for this technology due to corruption on BOTH sides of the political debate on Climate Change in this country.
Who am I? I have no formal training. I am a private citizen with an interest in science along with being a hobbyist gardener. That means I have more than a casual interest in the weather as well. Apparently, though it gives me a unique point of view, because science would seem to support the contention that fuel cell vehicles are not climate friendly. Nonetheless, fuel cell vehicles are promoted as climate friendly by the “experts”.
In libertarian-socialism’s new paradigm, average citizens need to book up on the scientific method. Citizens need to be able to do some interpretation on their own of data relating to climate change… not to mention a whole host of other complicated issues.
Indeed this IS America. A founding father, Ben Franklin, made a prediction: Lightning is a manifestation of electricity in the natural environment, not God’s vengeance. He then flew a kite on a metal string until it was struck by lightning to determine whether the model was correct. He predicted that a large electrical charge would come down the wire to the metal key he placed at the end. This is exactly what happened. He went onto invent lightning rods to protect church steeples from God’s vengeance.
The citizen-scientist is part of what has made this country so amazing. Ben Franklin is an example, and there is also Thomas Edison, Robert Goddard, the Wright Brothers and even Henry Ford doing science as autodidacts. Yes, some of it is science in its most basic form, but science nonetheless. In this way, even complicated things get broken down by a legion of citizen-scientists. Consensus is created from chaos.
When experiments are not easily created and replicated, as in the case of global climate change, there is definitely room for debate. Climate science data can and has been gamed, but it still points overwhelmingly to human caused climate change. What is really being debated among responsible scientists is how much is human caused.
The other question being debated earnestly is what to do about it, but not whether it is happening. More on that later, because the WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT solutions are not being properly evaluated quite obviously. That is where libertarian-socialism will hope to energize citizen scientists. Libertarian-Socialists must help educate the people on the global climate change issue and help drive consensus on solutions. To do this, libertarian-socialism will need to take on the traditionally Democratic and liberal environmental lobbies not just the Republican and conservative lobbies.