Saturday, January 10, 2015

State Leaders Hiding Climate Change Science

A number of state elected officials have come out as deniers. That is fine and is their right. But, what some of them are doing is to work on hiding any climate science that shows it is real. This is not only wrong, but I find it very interesting after reading statements from them, such as this one from Georgia congressman Rick Allen:
“Limiting debate to one side is not the same as being conclusive.”
If limiting debate to one side is wrong, then why are so many deniers doing just that? The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (the source of that quote) interviewed a dozen state leaders and reported the results in a front-page article. It was bad news. In particular were the politicians that used the "I'm not a scientist, but...," line. What they are really saying anytime someone uses that line is, "I'm not a scientist, but I'll go ahead and demonstrate what a jackass I am anyway." While it was nice the paper reported on this problem, they still contributed to it with the way they wrote the article, apparently giving credence to the claims of deniers in order to appear 'balanced.' Including ignorance and science denial is not being balanced. It only helps to energize elected officials that would rather see their constituents hurt than to take a look at the science.

In Nebraska, state Senator Beau McCoy amended an authorization for a state-funded study to determine the effects of climate change on the state. His amendment would only allow scientists to report on naturally occurring climate change and prohibited any reporting of manmade climate change. In response, scientists refused to use the money and found independent funds. Their report was released last fall and was pretty grim. They found manmade climate change would result in severe storms, floods, warmer nights, scorching summers and drought for the state. Not good news for a state that depends so strongly on agriculture. You would think the state leaders would want to know this kind of information so they could plan for the future.

All of this raises a question, why would Beau McCoy, and everyone that voted for his amendment, want to hide this information? Why would they be willing to sacrifice the best interests of their constituents by hiding climate science?

But, he isn't the only one. Take a look at what happened in South Carolina. That state funded a similar report and it was finished on 2011. It wasn't released until 2013 after it sat on the shelf for about a year and a half. It wasn't released until a newspaper requested to see a copy. The problem with the report is that, like the one in Nebraska, it showed the state would suffer from the effects of manmade climate change. Once again, why would state leaders sacrifice the well being of their constituents?

North Carolina leads the charge into ignorance, though. This is the home of the NC-20 political action group that claims it is representing the best interests of the 20 counties along the Atlantic coast. They are climate change deniers of the highest order and actually brag about getting a bill passed that prohibits the state from taking action on sea level rise using any data except historical data. In other words, these people have prevented the state from taking any action to prepare for any sea level rise that results from manmade climate change. They call this a 'huge win' and list it on their 'Successes' page. 

Think about that. They are bragging about how they guaranteed the coastal counties will be unprepared for sea level rise while claiming they are there to represent the best interests of those counties. Why would they do that? What would they have to lose by being aware of what climate scientists have to say?

One last question. If climate change is so good for us, as the deniers claim, why are so many state elected officials working so hard to hide it?

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