at this rate, forget about fixing global warming

It's awfully hard to come up with ways to combat global warming when politicians are harassing climatologists for daring to conduct their research and find proof that the planet is heating up.

wwf global warming poster penguins

You have to give Ken Cuccinelli his due. When he really, really wants to harass someone for a political point, he’s willing to throw a lot of time, effort, lawyers, and taxpayer cash on it. After unsuccessfully trying to go after climate researcher Michael Mann, charging that the scientist’s work misused taxpayer money and was part of the global evil liberal conspiracy to enslave the world through climate change alarmism, he’s at it again. This time he’s even going after a grant that had virtually nothing to do with climate change and demanding private correspondence, trying to create his own Climategate furor and decisively prove that strategic snippets taken out of context and assigned the worst possible meaning by someone who sees conspiracies everywhere he turns, can negate evidence of climate changes or human effects on the atmosphere as per denialist logic.

Obviously, neither UVA nor Mann want to hand anything over for the simple reason that once they do, whatever they release will be distorted and abused to justify political paranoia, and Cuccinelli will not leave them alone until he finds something, anything, anything at all he could spin as a bludgeon. Imagine working with a really, really big, hungry lamprey chewing on your innards every day. That’s what surrendering to Cuccinelli and other denialists would be like. Not only does the Attorney General have no business in climate research, he’s also proving that he doesn’t understand how climate research works. The idea that without climate change, there’s no climatology and current researchers will be out of a job is patently ridiculous. Studying climate is useful to farmers, companies working with renewable energy like wind and solar, meteorologists, and pretty much any scientific discipline that needs to know anything about climates past, present, and future. Climate research is going to be around with or without global warming, no matter what denialists ignorantly spout.

Even more ridiculous is the fact that Cuccinelli’s crusade against Mann exemplifies how well alarmists from a number of environmental groups have used scientists as their shields from criticism. Rather than admitting responsibility in effectively misusing serious climate research to cry gloom and doom, they just point to the scientists and claim that every policy they advocate comes from the scientists’ mouth. And so, between fits of partisan hatred of environmentalists whose goals are noble but tactics are quite questionable, denialists pry into scientific work, constantly trying to accuse climate researchers of fraud, and declaring that anyone daring to entertain the thought that global warming is a real phenomenon must be an anti-government, commie spy on a mission to dismantle modern industry. It doesn’t matter how many retractions the media publishes on the CRU affair. It doesn’t matter how many times their arguments are shown to be wrong. No, what matters to them is chanting about how global warming is a hoax by dirty hippies with tenure and Al Gore. It’s what they seem to do in lieu of breathing at times. And while so many denialists also rally against government waste of taxpayer cash, they seem to have no problem with Cuccinelli sinking over $350,000 into the harassment of a scientist who says something he and his ilk don’t want to hear.

So you might be wondering if there will ever be some cohesive, organized plan to combat climate change and its effects on our world. The realistic answer? Probably not. The warming will take nearly a century to fully play itself out and in that time, we’ll slowly but surely adapt as best we can. Will there be more diseases, less food and water, and higher mortality rates during summers, especially in the developing world? Absolutely. But the problem is being treated as nothing more than political hyperbole and in the end, we’re going to have alarmist doomsayers warning us about how global warming is going door to door to rip off people’s faces, while their denialist counterparts will look at their thermometers and stomp their feet about how last night’s chilly breeze is iron-clad proof that there’s no such thing as global warming and there never will be. And it’ll be up to those who understand that global warming is happening and we need to take some measures to get ready for it, to do all the actual work while the demagogues on both sides waste time and money harassing each other and everyone around them with their partisan chanting.

# politics // climate change / global warming / partisan politics


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