I was on Stratosphere Sarasota on Wednesday and had a great time discussing homeopathy, the anti-vax movement, and the Pope's comments on climate change with Andrea and Nancy. If you'd like to listen to the show, you can do so here.
Congress is hardly the right place for scientific debates to take place. Politicians are rarely scientists and have clear conflicts of interest when oil companies and other powerful lobbies provide millions in donations and other assistance and 'guidance'. Yet, even so, it seems hardly controversial to suggest that climate change is real.
Cue the US Senate and Resolution 524. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and 21 cosponsors brought forth the resolution which is described as "a resolution expressing the sense of the Senate regarding global climate change." Although the text of the resolution is not currently available, the "sense" was a simple acceptance of the reality of climate change.
Cue Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe who blocked the bill. From ThinkProgress.org:
Inhofe said he objected to the resolution because the earth had experienced “no warming for the last 15 years;” and because 9,000 scientists had signed a petition expressing doubt that greenhouse gases cause global warming.
Despite the blockage, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse took issue with Inhofe's claims and spent about seven minutes spelling out the overwhelming consensus on the issue.
Political poll guru and founder of the site FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver took a lot of heat for hiring Roger Pielke, Jr. to work for 538 in March, 2014. Pielke is professor and political scientist who has been heavily criticized by climate change researchers for his article published on 538 that the damage caused by climate change is rising in value only due to the corresponding rise in global wealth. Pielke has fought against charges of being a denialist, and according to his Wikipedia article, accepts human-driven global warming. In his book The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won't Tell You About Global Warming, Pielke spends a great deal of time criticizing researchers and critics note that he seems unwilling to agree that the situation is one worthy of immediate and dramatic changes in how humans affect the environment.
Pielke has now parted from 538 according to an interview on the Collide-a-scape blog on Discovermagazine.com. I'm not fully aware of Pielke's arguments or those of his critics against him to weigh in on this issue. A quick read of some of the sources cited in the interview shows Pielke has a history of snide comments about climate science and the political nature of the controversy. While he may be correct about the link between losses and global wealth, I feel his tight focus on politicalization and existing losses due to climate change are myopic at best. The science is clear, and Pielke does not seem to doubt the fact that humans are making the planet warmer. Instead of spending so much effort adding to the squawking politicos that seem to miss the point, I'd much rather see him working on building bridges between researchers and the politicians who need to act.