For a long time most climate scientists have thought the science would speak for itself, that the facts would clearly show that human activity was warming the planet. Obviously, with cap-and-trade dead and half of the new Republicans elected to Congress committed climate change skeptics, this was a flawed assumption.
Now the scientists are taking it to the streets.
The lie is cast: OK, maybe not the streets, but to radio talk shows, public forums, and anywhere else they can fight the distortions of climate science that have become conventional wisdom in conservative circles. Today, the American Geophysical Union announced that more than 700 of its climate scientists, many who’ve doggedly avoided politics and the media chatter, are going public to take on climate change deniers. Separately, John Abraham of St. Thomas University in Minnesota is organizing a “rapid response team” that will venture into enemy territory — right-wing talk radio and TV shows. [Los Angeles Times]
Here’s climate scientist Scott Mandia on why it’s time to go on the offensive:
This group feels strongly that science and politics can’t be divorced and that we need to take bold measures to not only communicate science, but also to aggressively engage the denialists and politicians who attack climate science and its scientists. We’re taking the fight to them because we are … tired of taking the hits. The notion that truth will prevail is not working. The truth has been out there for two decades and nothing has changed.
And in other green news:
Stop making sense: Bracken Hendricks, of the Center for American Progress, says conservatives have got it backwards on climate change. If you’re really opposed to the big government running things, he suggests that the last thing you should want is extreme weather and destructive climate changes that almost guarantee the feds would take charge. He writes in the Washington Post:
Today’s conservatives would do well to start thinking more like military planners, reexamining the risks inherent in their strategy. If, instead, newly elected Republicans do nothing, they will doom us all to bigger government interventions and a large dose of suffering — a reckless choice that’s anything but conservative.
Passing gas: The crusade to stifle the EPA is picking up steam again. After last week’s elections, EPA critics in the Senate now need fewer votes to block the agency from regulating greenhouse gases and they’re likely to target four Democratic senators to get them to flip to the dark side — Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, and Jon Tester of Montana. All are up for re-election in 2012. [Politico]
Smoke in the water: BP, Transocean, and Halliburton are expected to take a lot of fire today as the presidential commission investigating the Gulf oil spill starts to lay out its conclusions at a hearing in Washington. [AP] This comes just a few days after federal scientists revealed they’ve found a “smoking gun” in the Gulf — significant damage to deepwater coral several miles from where the well exploded last spring. [National Geographic]
The oily show: An op-ed piece by The New York Times’ Thomas Freidman mainly focuses on how lucky we’ve been that none of the planned terrorist bombings in the past year have been successful. But he does nail the hypocrisy of Republicans talking tough on terrorism while not getting serious about reducing our addiction to foreign oil.
Finally, we need to dry up the funding for terrorist groups, and the mosques, schools, and charities that support them. And that means working to end our addiction to oil. It is disgusting to listen to Republican politicians lecturing President Obama about how he has to stay the course in Afghanistan while they don’t have an ounce of courage to vote to increase the gasoline tax or renewable energy standards that would reduce the money we’re sending to the people our soldiers are fighting.
Drill, maybe, drill: First the Interior Department stopped Shell from drilling exploratory wells in the Beaufort Sea in the Arctic. Then Alaska sued the Interior Department to get the feds to back off. And now the Justice Department has filed a motion saying Alaska has no case. [The Hill]
The rate stuff: More states are bailing out on renewable energy projects because they’re afraid of hitting consumers with higher utility rates, even if the hike is lower than 1 percent. [The New York Times]
Fuel circle: A plan in Europe to rely more heavily on biofuels could actually end up generating more carbon dioxide than fossil fuels. So says a study by environmental groups. [Reuters]
Taking charge: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledges to lead the campaign to have electric taxis in the world’s major cities. [Huffington Post]
Glow with the flow: A Massachusetts company is pushing a hydrokinetic energy project that’s either very innovative or kinda bizarre: Anchoring hundreds of turbines, each the size of a large jet engine, along the bottom of the Mississippi River. [Technology Review]
And dirty laundry isn’t biodegradable: Can a dorm room actually be a model of sustainability? [The New York Times]