Global warming is a flat-out fiction!
Climate change isn't happening at all!
There is no science, no science to support global warming!
I occasionally listen to right-wing reactionary talk radio programs and the declarations above are examples of the latest fulminations from their hosts and guests. There seems to be a new stridency to the bombast of climate change denial over the past few weeks ... no doubt because of last month's massive "People's Climate March" in New York City before the United Nations Climate Summit.
Of course, on right-wing radio there is never a serious citation or reference noted that counters the scientific evidence and consensus demonstrating anthropogenic global warming. The most one hears is the canard that there hasn't been any warming for the past 20 years, or that human beings are just too impotent and insignificant to have any real impact on the world's environment.
The explanation for the global climate change theory from the denialists is that it is all part of a grand conspiracy to impose Marxism over the entire planetary population of people. (Really.)
The fervent opposition to the scientific facts that demonstrate human-caused climate change is political and increasingly typical of the reactionary nature of Tea Party-Republicans. There is little 'conservative' in the rejection of common sense and established history and science; there is a lot reactionary in indiscriminately supporting whatever Charles and David Koch, the Heartland Institute, and certain elites of the one percent proclaim as their capitalistic privileges.
There has been much human progress because of the energy made available from fossil fuels for advancing technologies -- a rational analysis, however, informs us that the totality of this activity has not resulted in a perfect utopia, there are negative consequences as well. It is more reactionary than 'conservative' to blithly insist that burning coal, petroleum and natural gas on a massive scale will only result in a world of rainbows and unicorns, it is simply unvarnished truth that in real life bad comes along with the good. Nevertheless, we human beings also have the ability to change our behavior and apply our efforts to solving problems, even problems we ourselves have had a hand in creating.
(At its core, denial of global warming science is pessimistic: we are not capable of cleaning-up a mess that we made; dillusional: it is a conspiratorial plot to enslave us; juvenile: if it is happening a 'miracle' will appear to save us in the end; and reactionary: zealous adherence to political ideology takes precedence over recognition of changing conditions.)
As I have written here many, many times before, it is common sense that global climate change has evidenced itself: we cannot burn-up a least half of the reserves of tens of million of years of solar energy stored as fossil fuels in just 150 year and not expect a significant impact on humanity and the environment. This common sense, however, falls to politics and greed if it counters the economic self-interests of some of the richest, most powerful elitists in the United States -- and this is the nub of climate change denial.
However, in consession of common sense, it is my view that some folks have a tough time comprehending how the use by an ever expanding population of human beings (and especially industrially advanced cultures) creates the conditions for global warming. Human beings often have a difficult time with very large numbers, in our everyday world notions of millions and billions of anything is a near incomprehensible abstraction. When I was born in 1956, the world population wasn't even three billion people; today it is over over seven billion. To varying degrees, every single one of those people are extracting from the ground, from the waters, from the atmosphere the necessities and luxuries of existence.
Human beings certainly are plentiful and powerful enough to have momentous consequential effects on the ecosystems of this planet. It is often difficult for an individual to extrapolate from themselves, and their circle of family and friends, how seven billion other individuals add-up to have far-reaching impacts. The video report below on the effect of removing wolves from Yellowstone National Park 70 years ago is an example of how human actions can have unknowable and profound consequences.
(This difficulty with comprehending huge numbers is why, I think, some people have a hard time accepting evoltuion by natural selection; the idea of hundreds of millions of years of cumulative genetic change is difficult to wrap one's head around.)
But first, let's refute this canard about an eighteen year 'pause' is rising global temperature.
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One of the prime arguments of climate change deniers is that human beings are too small and puny to do anything that could have a profound effect on the environment. Yet, the following video demonstrates how one rather minor decision (the eradication of wolves in Yellowstone just 70 years ago) led to significant ecological consequences.
Extrapolate from this example to the huge decisions humans have made over the last 200 years (since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution) that have had tremendous impacts ... like burning tens of million of years of stored solar energy in the form of coal, oil and gas, in just a bit over a century.
Anthropogenic climate change is not only expected science, it is just plain common sense. But let's face it, denying climate science is not really about the validity of the science -- it is about power politics and who makes the most money.
A short primer on the current state of the climate change discussion.
13 Misconceptions About Global Warming
Finally for those truly interested in understanding the basics of climate science and how the politics of reactionaryism have an effect on the conversation and on policy, here is a talk by Michael Mann at The Amazing Meeting for 2013, sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation.