Science is the foundation of progress.
Rejecting science means in essence rejecting hope for Americans and indeed for all humankind: We live in complex times fraught with dangers, many of which are human-made and can be solved only by the application of science backed by resources that, sometimes, only government can mobilize. That is certainly the case with human-caused climate change.
Sadly, tragically even, the US House of Representatives today voted down 240-184 an amendment from Henry Waxman (D-CA) that stated:
Congress accepts the scientific findings of the Environmental Protection Agency that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for public health and welfare.
The Hill put it this way: “The House rejected a Democratic amendment Wednesday that would have put the chamber on record backing the widely held scientific view that global warming is occurring and humans are a major cause.”
We can make a stronger statement. Last year, the U.S. National Academy of Science, the equivalent of the Supreme Court of science — a body that is ultra-conservative from a scientific perspective — reviewed the scientific literature in a major report and concluded:
A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems….
Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.
With this vote, the GOP is attempting to turn back the hands of time to before the Enlightenment, returning us to a new Dark Ages every bit as perilous as the original. With a deafening silence from the White House, the question remains, who will defend science? Who will give humanity a fighting chance against the forces of ignorance, who are accelerating us toward ruin:
- Must-read NCAR analysis warns we risk multiple, devastating global droughts even on moderate emissions path
- JPL bombshell: Polar ice sheet mass loss is speeding up, on pace for 1 foot sea level rise by 2050
- NSIDC bombshell: Thawing permafrost feedback will turn Arctic from carbon sink to source in the 2020s, releasing 100 billion tons of carbon by 2100
- Geological Society: Acidifying oceans spell marine biological meltdown “by end of century”
- Royal Society special issue details ‘hellish vision’ of 7°F (4°C) world — which we may face in the 2060s!
- A stunning year in climate science reveals that human civilization is on the precipice