I try very hard to understand different viewpoints and be accepting of different histories that lead people to have the sometimes unique perspectives they have. However, my patience is sometimes tested when I read articles such as this: http://rare.us/story/paul-ryan-isnt-convinced-humans-are-causing-global-warming/ .
It is truly shameful that politics and economics have become so dangerously entwined that our decision makers seem to rarely consider any other facet of American lives. In this case, the dangers of human caused global warming. I am not sure what “science” Paul Ryan is reading, but the truth that science has undoubtedly shown is this:
Humans, in more ways than one, are causing climate change.
My problem with Paul Ryan is not that he disagrees with a large majority of scientists who study climate change and its causes and effects, it is that he, in the company of many other politicians, has begun to simply make things up that he knows his following wants to hear.
There are many subjects in which I hold little to no knowledge, and consequently, I look to those who know more in those fields. If I need to understand something about a computer, I will ask a computer scientist. If I need to understand something about human bodies, I will ask a doctor or some specialist in within the particular field of interest. The same should hold true regarding earth sciences. Our pool of knowledge has become so vast that no one person is able to study all areas of science and we must therefore collaborate.
Unfortunately, years of scientific research is being quickly disregarded based on insensible comments like those made my Paul Ryan. Harsh you say? I am one sided you say? Well yes, there only needs to be one side when it comes to this. We do not need to debate facts. When a scientist tells a politician the earth is a sphere, not a flat disk, there is no debate. Yet now, when scientists with nearly as much certainty tell politicians that we are causing global climate change, the politician who has done a grand total of NO research in this field says, let me debate you on that by throwing out randoms blurbs of stuff I heard from someone. The debates described in the article do not even need to take place. Debates should occur between people who have a working knowledge of the subject of debate. Paul Ryan’s, as well as many other politicians, ignorance of what he knows and does not know has lead him to simply make things up in these debates. This is troubling enough, but what is ever more unnerving is that he actually has a large following, so much so that he is a possible presidential nominee.
This, from the perspective of an earth scientist, is FREAKING TERRIFYING! Once you can see what is really going on, you have a, “Wait, why the heck are we not doing anything about this?” kind of moment. Here is a quick example.
There are two substances on a table and a small crowd around it. There is a clear liquid labeled “dihydrogen monoxide” and a piece of metal labeled “Caesium.” Simple enough, right? Well a scientist might say, “Don’t put that metal in the liquid, it will rapidly burn/explode.” He says this because it has been scientifically shown that causium reacts with dihydrogen monoxide, more commonly known as water, in a violent way. This scientists is not trying to make money, he just knows what will happen.
Now, a politician in the room says, “hold on right there. I’ve hear that people drink this dihydrogen monoxide stuff all the time and it don’t do them no harm. There is no way putting that piece of metal in the liquid will do anything. Come on people, lets try it.”
Why would anyone listen to the politician? He no only knows nothing about the chemical nature of these two substances, but his only point regarding the fact that people do in fact drink water was utterly arbitrary. Still, this is what has been and is continuing to happen with human induced climate change. Paul Ryan essentially said, lets ignore everything we have learned about the effects of burning fossil fuels and human induced climate change because, “we’ve had climate change forever.” That last part was his actual quote regarding why it is not worth investing money into better understanding climate change and how to stop causing it. This point that he makes is so uninformed and arbitrary that it actually gives me a headache. Scientists are quite aware of the climate change we have had in the past and have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that, on top of the climate cycles cause my Milankovitch cycles, we are causing increased climate change that will have profound effects on life as we know it. The point made by Paul Ryan is no better than the imaginary politician who recommends throwing the causium in the water.
The problem is that we measure our countries success on a scale that is measured in dollars and politicians therefore want to show that they can increase our success in such a way that it will be evident on that scale. As I have said before though, money is nothing by itself though and if we continue down this track we are on, we will soon run into the situation where we have a whole freakin lot of money and nothing to spend it on. Or, the other potential case is that we will have a lot of money and have to all of the sudden spend all of it at once to combat the effects of climate change. Either way, a massive economic collapse is sure to be in order unless we begin to prepare for the reality of our physical situation soon. The reality caused by our choice to ignore nature’s many signs that we are breaking it will become evident soon enough. We can not ignore this inconvenient truth much longer.
Please follow your bliss