Debating the existence of climate change and global warming is like debating the existence of gravity: it’s a “debate” only insofar as the technicalities and exact mechanisms, but the broad basics — that is, “this thing exists” — have been settled. And both gravity and climate change exist.
And yet, there will always be that one idiot who thinks they can fly. And unfortunately for us, that one idiot is the entire Republican party in general and, today at least, Larry Bucshon (R-IN) in particular. Buchson squared off against White House Science Adviser John Holdren, and not only secured a position among the “idiots who think they can fly” segment of the population, but also secured a position in the Hall of Mind-Boggling Hypocrisy when he admitted that he doesn’t accept scientific literature on climate change.
Because according to Bucshon, the scientists who write the literature need global warming to exist in order to get paid. Which is to say, he doesn’t trust the literature because the climate scientists are in it for the money.
Bucshon began his testimony Wednesday by questioning the entire premise of the administration’s Climate Action Plan. To do this, Buchson trotted out two tired old canards that even I, an amateur with limited exposure to climatology, could address: that global temperatures have not changed in nearly two decades and that the “climate is always changing:”
Bucshon: “Over the last few years, we’ve gone from global warming to climate change since the temperature hasn’t changed in many, many years. The temperature of the earth has been changing for centuries. I fully believe that the temperature is changing. But of course now supporters of this new regulation are saying ‘Well, it’s changing now at an unusual pace compared to the past, because now the American public is getting it that the temperature of the earth has been changing for centuries.”
This is what’s called a “non sequitur.” This fallacy is quite popular with the political right-wing, right up there with red herrings, strawmen, and ad hominems. Note that no serious scientist disputes the existence of climate change over the last centuries. The issue at hand is the excessive greenhouse gasses that are forcing the climate into rapid and unpredictable changes. If you doubt that greenhouse gasses have an impact on an atmosphere and, by contrast, the temperature on a planet’s surface, I’m interested in whatever magic it is you use to explain Venus and Saturn’s moon, Titan.
ThinkProgress goes on to dismantle the myth that there hasn’t been any temperature change in the last decade or so:
In addition, the argument that there has been no temperature change for the last 17 years as evidenced by a supposed lack of increase in global average surface temperature is also a myth, as nearly all of the increased heat from carbon emissions is getting absorbed into the ocean, not into the atmosphere. So the ocean is rapidly heating, acidifying, and impacting the weather. What’s more, scientists believe global surface temperatures are set to rise rapidly in the face of those increasingly warm and acidic oceans.
Bucshon continued, asking if it was true that the EPA’s regulations for coal plants would have no impact on reducing global temperature, and then asserting that he didn’t believe the peer-reviewed papers on climate change because the scientist’s careers depended on it:
Bucshon: Is it true that this rule has no effect on the global temperature change?
Holdren: Can I take that? I’d like to respond to that.
Bucshon: There’s public comment out there that that question has been asked and answered saying no.
Holdren: You should look at the scientific literature [interrupted] rather than the public comments …
Bucshon: Of all the climatologists whose careers depends on the climate changing to keep themselves publishing articles? Yes, I could read that, but I don’t believe it.
That’s some pretty naked hypocrisy coming from a man with ties to the Koch Brothers, two men that haven’t exactly been secret in their funding of anti-climate change “experts” who took notes from Big Tobacco.
h/t: Think Progress