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The Cult of Ignorance

Republicans Declare War on the Planet

by ROBERT HUNZIKER

Now that the Obama administration has publicized their report, 2014 National Climate Assessment, about the dangers of global warming with concomitant climate change, the Republicans have decided to informally declare war on the planet.

As such, the thesis herein is that global warming and climate change are now so widely recognized and so well defined by science that opposition to the problem is tantamount to an act of war. Furthermore, as a matter of principle, purposeful acts that serve to perpetuate global warming are acts against all of humanity.

It’s worth noting that recent declarations of war by the Republicans have been total disasters, e.g., Iraq is an absolute basket case, and, as for one other example, the great Republican-inspired debt-ceiling crisis of 2011 (not a full-scale war) nearly knocked the props out from under the country’s FICO score. As a matter of fact, S&P did downgrade the U.S. credit rating for the first time in history. And, that delay increased government borrowing costs by billions.

Additionally, current discussions in Republican ranks focus on the “costs to the economy” if the climate change issue is addressed. Allegedly, it would “hurt” the economy.

Renewable Energy and an Economic Renaissance

A good alternative to the war mentality is a full-scale conversion from fossil fuels to renewables. If enacted, such a program would spark an economic renaissance and full employment as the nation’s entire infrastructure converts to wind, solar, and other proven renewable sources of energy. It’s a big job!

Other countries are already doing this; Scotland, which is 40% renewable now, will be 100% by 2020. Also, a May 12th International Energy Agency (IEA) analysis provides a roadmap: Which report discusses the way forward that “decarbonizes almost all power generation by 2050.” The fuel costs savings to produce carbonless energy would be enormous, i.e. $115 trillion, thus, powerfully stimulating economies worldwide.

Contrariwise, the whining voices of today’s Republicans echo the protests against Model-T automobiles by the horse and buggy industry at the turn of the 20th century. In that regard, in 1910 there were 4,600 carriage companies that made buggies or other horse-drawn vehicles. By 1929 there were fewer than 90 as companies like Studebaker transitioned from buggies to automobiles.

Companies today can just as easily transition to renewables as Studebaker did to autos. For example, Apple Inc., the world’s largest capitalized corporation, utilizes a 20-megawatt solar farm and biogas fuel cells to power their Apple Maiden Data Center in North Carolina.

It’s worth taking note that the Roaring Twenties were not called “roaring” for nothing. That era experienced an ongoing economic renaissance as automobiles took over the roads.

From 1910 to 1930 U.S. GDP increased 300%. That “whopper” of an economy occurred while one of the biggest industries in America, manufacturing of horse-drawn carriages, went out of business. The conversion to automobiles (the 15 millionth Model T rolled off the assembly line in 1927) set the nation’s economy on fire.

Likewise, conversion to renewable energy sources today would incentivize the economy, creating a renewed GDP growth cycle with full employment. Everybody wins. Well, not everybody; several of the participants in the fossil fuel industry would be hurt, by quite a bit! Similar to what happened to several of the horse and buggy manufacturers.

And, this would also resolve the Keystone XL Pipeline issue once and for all.

WWIII

As things now stand, the Republican war against Earth is a full-scale onslaught on the order of a World War. It’s WWIII. The field of battle is enormous at 25,000 miles, which is the circumference of the planet. Already, the Generalleutnant Vizeadmiral is in the process of rangier-kräfte against the integrity of the planet. It’s in the news.

Senator Marco Rubio, on ABC News’ “This Week,” openly declared: “I do not believe human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate….” He did say “dramatic changes,” which is an admission that something is out of order; nevertheless, he informally declared war against Earth. He also said he’s ready to be president. Here’s a man who says he has the tools to guide the country into the future. He has “a vision.”

One would expect a “visionary” to promote a pro-growth economy, like massive infrastructure development. It worked for FDR as he resuscitated the economy from the disastrous policy errors of Republicans, which is déjà vu in reverse order.

Without cluttering this with several statements about global warming by the other field marshals, i.e., probable 2016 Republican presidential candidates, it’s worth noting that only one Republican contender, Chris Christie, is willing to admit that human activity is a significant cause of climate change, which most likely eliminates him from the race. He’s a goner.

Unmercifully, at the very time when the climate is going down the toilet, America’s presidential contenders are “triple flushing.”

Human Activity and Global Warming is Confirmed Science

Nowadays, ignoring the reality of global warming caused by human activities is nearly equivalent to membership in the “Flat Earth Society.”

It’s not just the science that is so overwhelmingly convincing. It’s the actual fact of what is happening all across the planet. The evidence is crystal clear for all to see; it only takes a pinch of curiosity to find it.

For starters, and assuming Republican Doubters blame natural events like the sun for global warming, the sun’s current space-weather cycle, Solar Cycle 24, is the most anemic in 100 years (source: David Dickinson, Solar Cycle #24: On Track to be the Weakest in 100 Years, Universe Today, July 29, 2013.)

And, the Republican Doubters also claim the past 15 years have not experienced warming. Yet, the Land-Ocean Temperature Index (LOTI) published by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) shows that November 2013 was the hottest since record keeping began in 1880 despite strong La Niña conditions, which tend to hold temperatures down (source: Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index.)

This gives one pause about what’ll happen when the next El Niño (warming cycle) hits, maybe this summer!

Discovering the Source of Relentless Melt

In essence, the most telling question is: What is causing record-smashing ice melt all across the planet? If there is a natural cause, nobody is talking about it. Yet, there is no doubt amongst the great majority of the scientific community that greenhouse gases, e.g., carbon dioxide (CO2) from fossil fuels, are the major contributing factors. Republicans emphatically do not believe this is true.

As levels of CO2 in the atmosphere increase, there is a direct progression in the rate of ice melt all across the planet. A chart of these two events runs in parallel. This is not just a causal coincidence. As for example, the ice was not melting like crazy when CO2 in the atmosphere was much lower some decades ago. This is an all-important fact because it’s a simple explanation for the cause and effect of global warming. It’s understandable on a grade school level.

Even kindergartners, in Kindergarten Earth Science 101, can see how the two lines, one CO2 and the other line the rate of ice melt, run upwards in parallel fashion, meaning there is some kind of a direct link between increasing CO2 and decreasing ice. Voilà! “Global warming is caused by too much CO2 from fossil fuels,” is the answer kindergartners respond with, as they, almost in unison, scream out the answer. You know how excited kids can get when intrigued by something, and it helps that they are smart kids.

The Real World

In the real world, Antarctica is losing ice shelves the size of small states on a regular basis, ten major collapses over the past several years. Scientists were stunned by the abrupt collapse of the Larsen B Ice Shelf, comparable to Vermont and New Hampshire combined crumbling apart and disintegrating within one month, gone forever (source: NASA, Earth Observatory, World of Change / larsenb.)

From 2000 to 2010, Alpine glaciers lost over 32 feet of thickness (source: European Topic Centre on Air Pollution and Climate Change Mitigation, University of Zurich), which is equivalent to the collapse and disintegration of all the three-story buildings in the country.

For the first time in modern recorded history, Greenland’s entire surface (97%), including the frigid high-altitude zones where temps do not go above freezing, turned to slush. At first blush, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena thought the readings had to be data errors, but no (source: National Geographic News, July 25, 2012.)

The Arctic is collapsing, and has already lost 40-50% of its ice mass in only 30-40 years. This potentially leads to runaway global warming, and ultimately, the dreaded Venus syndrome as methane (CH4) rises from the deep and Earth sizzles (source: Arctic Methane Emergency Group.)

Ocean acidification is threatening life because of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions; “nearly all marine life forms that build calcium carbonate shells and skeletons studied by scientists show deterioration due to increasing CO2 in the water,” (source: Dr. Richard Feely and Dr. Christopher Sabine, Oceanographers, Carbon Dioxide and Our Ocean Legacy, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, April 2006.)

Ocean reefs are collapsing (20% so far and another 50% on verge of collapse) because of too much CO2 and too much heat, as the ocean has been absorbing 90% of the planet’s heat and 30% of CO2 (source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.)

Throughout the Andes, glaciers are melting so fast that scientists, and the World Bank, are concerned about water supplies (source: The New York Times/International Herald Tribune, April 4, 2013. In Sign of Warming, 1,600 Years of Ice in Andes Melted in 25 Years.)

What is causing the worldwide meltdown of glaciers and ice sheets and acidification of the ocean?
A visionary political candidate for the presidency of the United States would most assuredly want to know the answer to that question.

After all, what are the “natural causes” behind this unprecedented, and merciless, rapid climate change?
Where does all of the carbon dioxide (CO2) come from?

If nature is not the force behind excessive levels of CO2 and climate change, then, maybe something can be done about it because humans are able to alter their activities (see above).

Then again, maybe the answer really doesn’t matter that much when a declaration of war has been informally issued. Nevertheless according to international protocol, there are two degrees of justification for war. One is a “reasoned declaration of war,” and the other is an “unreasoned declaration of war.” The reasoned one states a list of grievances. The unreasoned one simply goes to war… no surprises there.

Postscript: “There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that ‘my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.” Isaac Asimov, American science fiction writer and professor of biochemistry (1920-1992)

Robert Hunziker lives in Los Angeles and can be reached at roberthunziker@icloud.com.