It's final exam day here in my world–Critical Thinking is the course. A friend on Face Book posted this article about being a Republican who believed climate change to be a real thing. Actually, the article is about understanding what the claim about climate change entails, in particular the difference between climate and weather. This difference being somehow more difficult to grasp than Fermat's Last Theorem.
Climate science shows that over a long period of time, the statistics have changed. Things that used to happen a lot, like consistent winter snow cover, are happening less reliably. Things that happened every now and then, like droughts and wildfires, are happening more reliably. And things that almost never happened — such as the 15,000 new U.S. temperature records in March — sometimes now do occur. And they can’t be explained with purely meteorological reasoning.
The changes we’re seeing, far more than I can list here, seem like an accumulation of coincidences. Pieced together, reveal the full puzzle: There’s more heat and moisture in the atmosphere, and our emissions are largely responsible for keeping it there.
The millennium’s first decade was the warmest on record and included nine of the 10 hottest years. Greenhouse gas levels are at their highest in 800,000 years. Less heat is escaping the top of the atmosphere in the wavelengths of greenhouse gases. For the first time, scientists have recorded both hemispheres are warming – and the global temperature spike can’t be linked to an astronomical trigger, such as solar variability. Great Lakes peak ice has seen a 71 percent drop since 1973. Winters are shorter. Lakes melt earlier. Plants are moving north.
Worldwide, 95% of land-based glaciers are losing mass. September Arctic sea ice has lost 10 percent of its area every decade. Sea levels are rising. Oceans are 30 percent more acidic. Flooding and extreme storms are spiking in frequency and intensity. Last winter was the 4th warmest on record, despite the cooling influence of a La Nina phase in the Pacific.
Extremes are becoming more extreme. And none of it has anything to do with Al Gore.
Very sciency stuff here. Anyway, the fun begins with the commenters. A couple of samples.
Here's one disconnected from fact:
But because of the politics of the Obama Administration, all funding for Hydrogen research was cut to the bone in 2009. If you want to look for politics interfering with technological solutions to CO2 pollution – don't look at the Republicans…we tried!
Here's one that thinks a work of fiction is a rebuttal (in the commenter's defense, George Will thought the same thing):
Did you read Michael Crichton's STATE OF FEAR? It really helps you understand that GLOBAL WARMING, renamed "climate change" is a 100% sham.
Here's your classic straw man:
Drowning polar bears???
Polar ice caps falling into the sea???
Hey, kids!! It's Kool-Aid time!!!
And now the tu quoque featuring Al Gore:
Well, at least Gore sets a good eexample by not flying private jets.
What? What do you mean he flies private jets? Isn't that a mega-polluter?
Well, at least he doesn't own a McMansion.
What? He owns one of those too?
I try to do what I can to reduce CO2, but Gore is single-handedly burning the planet up.
And this is just the top few of them.