Axis Shifts, Glaciers on Mars, Ancient Vikings -- these are just a few of the theories put forth by some members of Congress to explain away climate change.
In a move that surprised some, and garnered the President Obama a new wave of right-wing blogoshphere vitriole, Organizing for America recently released a charming video showcasing the sometimes coherent but usually just plain wacky members of Congress who believe that climate science, like evolution, is a "theory" and should therefore be dismissed.
It would be interesting if someone could get their hands on the 8th grade report cards of these members of Congress -- John Boehner, Bill Cassidy, Dana Rohrabacher, Morgan Griffith, Paul "Pit of Hell" Broun. Because it is usually in the 8th grade when you learn that scientific theories can, in fact, be proven. That's how we managed to figure out that the Earth is, in fact, round; that it does, in fact, orbit around the sun; and that those tiny dots in the night sky are not, in fact, pin pricks through a velvet curtain but distant suns. Science is the process by which theories are proven to be facts. And in 2013, climate change is a fact, as is its leading cause -- the combustion of fossil fuels.
Did these guys fail 8th grade science, or did they just conveniently forget about the veracity of the scientific process when they realized they could collect inordinate sums of money from fossil fuel companies to promote a controversy that doesn't exist whatsoever in the scientific community? What do you think is the most likely answer?
Well let's take a quick look at just how much these 5 guys collected from the Oil & Gas, Coal and Utility lobbyists in the 2012 election cycle:
- Boehner = $428,000 + $243,000 + $407,000 = $1,078,000
- Cassidy = $141,000 + $20,000 = $161,000
- Rohrabacher = $10,000 + $10,000 = $20,000
- Griffith = $81,000 + $96,000 + $55,000 = $232,000
- Broun = $22,000 + $2,000 + $12,000 = $36,000
So altogether these 5 elected officials made about $1.5 million in just one election cycle from fossil fuel industries that would benefit from NOT being forced to comply with any legislation regulating carbon dioxide emissions, the pollutant which scientists now agree is the only rational explanation for the dramatic spike in concentrations of CO2e in the atmosphere:
Any day now, we will be hitting a landmark that a decade ago few thought would ever happen in our lifetimes -- 400 parts per million of CO2 concentration. The last time this happened was in the Pliocene epoch about 4 million years ago, when the Earth was 2-3 degrees C warmer (about 5 degrees F) on average, sea levels were much higher than they are today, and the genus Homo (as in homo sapiens) was just a glimmer in the Australopithecine's eye. Back then our ancestor's had brains that were only about 1/4th the size of our current human brains.
Which begs the question.. shouldn't we be smarter than this?