When I read Suzanne Goldenberg’s article from The Guardian World News, a UK newspaper, my first thought was, “you have got to be kidding me.” My second was, “what perfect timing!”
Just the day before, a friend of mine on Facebook made the comment: “Safe to say at this point that Global Warming belongs in that Dr.Pepper commercial with the Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, and Tooth Fairy.” This is a reference to the Diet Dr Pepper commercial shown during the Super Bowl where Diet Dr Pepper joins Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, an alien and others in their “I Exist Support Group.”
That comment was spurred by recording setting snowfalls in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. area. The National Weather Service total for Baltimore Washington International Airport (BWI) for the two snow events is 44.3 inches. It also highlights a common misunderstanding about global warming and may offer a clue why so many do not believe it to be a problem.
To begin to grasp the magnitude, not merely the scale, of global warming (as if the name wasn’t a clue), one must understand that it is about climate change and not individual weather events. Those who do not realize this, or those who wish not to believe it, will use occurrences such as the recent snowfalls along the US’s eastern seaboard as proof that global warming is clearly a fabrication. These very same people will remain absolutely quiet when the temperature at BWI reaches 70 degrees in February, as it did in 2009. During the same period, the temperature at Dulles Airport in northern Virginia was 71 degrees, and it was 72 degrees at Reagan National in Washington, D.C.
Why the silence? Aren’t meteorological “hiccups” the proof some people need to convince themselves a thing does or does not exist? No? Then what could be keeping more people from understanding the crisis our biosphere faces?
In that Facebook entry I mentioned earlier and which the original author has since deleted, I said politicians were to blame. Politicians don’t like spending your money on things they don’t like, and they don’t like global warming. It is, from a short-sighted point of view, a money pit. Repairing the ecology will be hideously expensive and there aren’t likely to be many, if any, quick returns on the investment. (Ironically, parents will setup college funds for their kids but not spend a penny towards ensuring there’s a planet left on which to attend a college.)
Many politicians represent areas heavily invested with industries that directly contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, or the “carbon footprint.” It would be political suicide for them to anger large blocs of their constituents just to ensure our survival as a species. A favorite weapon of the politician to defend an untenable position is to behave like an immature child.
Have you ever seen a kid do something wrong and blame someone else for it? When the innocent one says they didn’t do it, the actual culprit calls them a liar. Politicians do much the same thing when they tell you that you should not listen to any of the world’s climatologists, meteorologists, biologists, botanists, oceanographers, or any other scientist in a related discipline because they are telling you what to think. (Do you see the irony?)
You’re probably wondering when I’m going to explain what this has to do with the perfect timing. That would be now. I’ve finished the backstory, ending with the tie-in to The Guardian’s article.
It seems I was mistaken earlier when I said it would be expensive, “hideously expensive” actually, to fix our planet. The representatives from the Republican State of Utah have already done it!
In a non-binding bill, and by a vote of 56-17, Utah’s state representatives condemned environmentalists as “climate alarmists” and global warming to be “a vast conspiracy to destroy the American way of life and control world population through forced sterilization and abortion.” With a stroke of a pen… (In my mind, there’s a stroke of a pen and an eloquent flourish considering they have just saved the world.) With a stroke of a pen, global warming was just legislated out of existence.
As an aside, the vote also tells me one other thing: There are at least 17 members of the Utah House of Representatives who are not completely insane.
To their credit, I guess, these representatives also “called on the federal government’s Environmental Protection Agency to order an immediate halt in its moves to regulate greenhouse gas emissions ‘until a full and independent investigation of climate data and global warming science can be substantiated.'” One can only wonder what professions will be called upon to conduct this investigation. Since scientists seem to be too damned biased towards facts, perhaps politicians will assume this burden of responsibility.
Coal-burning power plants, gas-guzzlers and farting cows may now continue their burning, guzzling and farting as they please. Should we ever enter another “green age” when we believe we’re harming the only planet we have and should take action to reverse the process, we shall ask Utah to legislate us back to safety.
“Honey, spray your hair with the good stuff! We’re driving our big, old car to a book burning!”
Dear readers, it seems we may be right back where we started and global warming is still a crisis we will have to face NOW. A non-binding group of scientists legislated themselves the power to legislate. Then they legislated a bill stating it was now the day before the Utah House of Representatives saved us, and further legislated the Utah HR out of existence, thereby negating our salvation.
On a related note, does anyone know any politicians who would agree to be interviewed for an article titled How To Stay Insane In A World Gone Sensible?