Snapshots of the Bizarro State of Climate Discussion: Inhofe's Witch-Hunt & South Dakota's 'Interrelativity'
Oklahoma sunset with oil derricks, photo: Clinton Steeds via flickr.
Recent headlines about the ongoing bar room brawl over climate change have made me mostly just hang my head at the absurdity of it all. From Sen. James "Oil and gas don't pollute" Inhofe wanting to investigate climate scientists for criminal wrongdoing, to South Dakota demanding that the astrological origins of global warming be taught in schools, I'm shocked at how bizarre its all become. Does Senator Inhofe Know How Crazy He Sounds?
In case you missed it Sen. Inhofe is calling for criminal investigation into the activities of 17 leading climate scientists, using public money. Which is perhaps par for the course in alternate universe course Inhofe seems to live in.
Then the good senator from Oklahoma tells Grist's Amanda Little that NOAA, NASA and similar organizations are all in the pocket of the United Nations and IPCC, all of whom are only pursuing climate research because they want the grant money.
Seriously? All these career scientists have gathered together under the leadership of an organization who's head isn't even paid for his work, to hoodwink the general public. Seriously?
Members of the military preparing the Quadrennial Defense Review, which identified significant risks to the nation and military operations because of climate change impact, only said so because the White House wanted them to. "In the Pentagon, they're good soldiers, they'll do pretty much what will ingratiate the commander in chief. That's what they're supposed to do."
Really? They're just talking about the risks of climate because they think it'll please the President? Really?
Let's just remember for a moment what is no doubt at least part of Sen. Inhofe's motivation: He's right at the top of Follow the Oil Money's most-sucking-on-big-oil's-financial-teat list.
South Dakota badlands, photo: Joel Hernandez.
South Dakota Needs a Dictionary & Utah Needs Some Perspective
Which is only part of recent craziness. Both Utah, and just last week, South Dakota have passed state resolutions purporting to promote a more balanced view of the science and policy of climate change. South Dakota's urges teaching schoolchildren that there are a variety of potential causes of global warming: "Climatological, meteorological, astrological, thermological, cosmological, and ecological."
First of all it seems that the 36 members of the South Dakota legislature don't know what the word thermological correctly refers to: "The medical science that derives diagnostic indications from highly detailed and sensitive infrared images of the human body" according to Google (ht: A Man With A PhD).
Second of all, while I have no doubt that there are many factors influencing climate change--and contrary to some, even if it is quite minor in comparison to other factors, it wouldn't surprise me if cosmological and astrological conditions had some influence--contrary to the South Dakota claim, the "significance and interrelativity of these factors" is not largely speculative. Our knowledge of the exact relationship of all the different components of global warming may be ever evolving, it is far from just speculation.
Oh, and interrelativity isn't quite a proper word. Since interrelationship seems to mean what the bill is implying, I'm really not sure why this neologism is needed--if only to make it sound impressive and authoritative.
All of which seems entirely sane when compared to the lunacy of Utah's resolution calling climate change a giant global conspiracy and action to prevent it a precursor to global governance.
Arches National Park, photo: Tobias via flickr.
We All Think This is Serious, So Why is the Discussion So Absurd?
If you believe as some proponents of doing nothing about climate change do, that we are reacting with alarmism and hysteria in our responses to climate, then you equally have to admit that talk of prosecuting climate scientists for criminal wrong-doing, teaching children the thermological origins of climate change, and talking about a vast global conspiracy of poor scientists seeking to pay the rent through grant money based on conning the world's public and lining the pockets of the career bureaucrats of the UN, is equally alarmist and hysterical.
Come on everyone, since we all admit that climate change and what to do about it is an issue of such high importance--either absolute bunk or an existential crisis for human civilization and the inhabitability of the planet--can't we have a remotely civil, considered, and constructive discussion about this?
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