Though I spend my summers in the mountains of New York, my home is located in South Florida and is now in imminent danger from Hurricane Irma. Still in my mountain bungalow, the TV is on constantly, providing updates as this monstrous storm moves steadily towards Florida, as my wife and I nervously devour the news.  It is possible that after tomorrow, we won’t have a home to return to, nor ever again see the material things we’ve used to construct our fragile facade of comfort in this terribly uncertain life.  Yet even though our single most valuable investment can be utterly destroyed by nature’s whim,  we both understand how very fortunate we are to be up here and not down there.  Rather than focus upon the material stuff of our life together, we feel concerned for the family and friends we have, who may be in the harm’s way of the storm.  We’re both old enough and have experienced enough of life’s tragic side, to know in our guts that possessions, no matter how precious, are not the real essentials of life.

Within the past week, America has seen the destruction of the “once in 500 years” of Hurricane Harvey, an immense 8.5 rated Earthquake in Mexico, wildfires raging in California and the advent of Irmathe most powerful hurricane since hurricane measurement began.  Limning this is that each of the last five years on Earth has seen rising temperatures of record breaking numbers.  With all of the evidence of this past week, with 99% of Climate Scientists affirming the threat to humanity represented by climate change,  still most Right Wingers along with our deranged President either deny its’ existence and/or its’ cause. This denial is so pronounced that Trump named the morally bankrupt and monumentally stupid Scott Pruitt as his Environmental Protection Agency Administrator.  Scott Pruitt is literally a wholly owned subsidiary of the Oil Industry,  to such a degree that he has been known to give speeches completely written by industry lobbyists. This is this venal man’s current initiative:

“EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is leading a formal Trump administration program to plan a debate about climate change. He wants to recruit government scientists to challenge other scientists about the scientific consensus on climate change. “What the American people deserve, I think, is a true, legitimate, peer-reviewed, objective, transparent discussion about CO2,” Pruitt said.

Well, that doesn’t make sense. As discussed in part 1 of this series, we already have rigorously peer-reviewed scientific research. This would simply be a re-litigation of climate science—and it might air on television.

Pruitt proposes a “red-team blue-team” debate. The red team of government scientists would challenge key scientific findings. The blue team would have the opportunity to respond. Red-team blue-team is a tactic used by the military to identify vulnerabilities. The red team “thinks like the enemy.” It simulates an attack on a system—for example, a computer system—to see how the system holds up. The blue team has an opportunity to respond and strengthen any system weaknesses so the system is more resilient in the next simulated attack.

What does any of this have to do with “proving” scientific data? Absolutely nothing. As David Roberts reported for Vox, this type of exercise is a great way to help figure out what to do about a problem. But, he said, “It’s not necessarily suited to determining what’s true, scientifically speaking.”

World Resources Institute climate debate

There is overwhelming scientific consensus on one side of this “debate.” Graphic from the World Resources Institute.

Many scientists have cried foul. The science is settled and the debate over. In fact, a new study asserts that in every contrarian climate science paper, the assumptions, methodologies or analyses are flawed. When corrected, the papers fall in line with  scientific consensus.

A red-team blue-team debate with the same number of team members in each team also creates a false equivalency. The red team represents 3% of scientists worldwide—not 50%. Unless the red team has three scientists and the blue team 97 scientists on stage, the optics alone are misleading.”  Here.

At the same time orders have come from the White House that Federal Agencies are forbidden to even mention Climate Change, report upon it, or investigate it.  The incredible stupidity of this Right Wing position is for the most part representative of the venality of industries who have a financial stake in any decision to combat this looming human disaster.  One would think that either these captains of industry, or the politicians they own, might have concern for their children and their future progeny, but I guess they somehow think their wealth and power will protect future heritage.  As these disasters strike we even see many of these politician saying with the solemnity of hucksters that “now is not the time to discuss climate change”  This is a similar tactic to the NRA greeting each new firearm massacre with a call not to politicize gun control.  These stupidly venal money whores put their own needs and their own financial positions ahead of that of all of humanity.  I think it is time to get past trying to rationally debate these ignorant, self-centered fools and call them out for the danger they represent to all us humans,  starting with the clown in the White House.

Advertisements