Monday, May 25, 2015

Climate Change Poses A National Security Danger

President Barack Obama delivered the keynote address at the United States Coast Guard Academy commencement last week in New London, Connecticut. In his commencement speech, Obama warned graduates climate change is one of the largest threats they will have to face as they defend the United States and our nation's interests abroad.

For the first time since record keeping began, carbon dioxide levels set a new record high water mark in surpassing 400 parts per million (ppm) at 40 monitoring sites around the globe, according to newly published data for March 2015.

CO2 emissions, the main green house gas driver of global warming and have risen more than 120 ppm since pre-industrial times, warming the planet 1.6°F over that period. Since record-keeping began in 1880, average global temperatures have risen 1.4o Fahrenheit.

The last time concentrations of Earth's main greenhouse gas level was at 400 PPM, during the Pliocene era, from 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago, the planet was about 3.6o to 5.4o Fahrenheit warmer. The Arctic was 14°F warmer allowing horses and camels to graze in lush savannas that grew at those ancient high latitudes. Mid-Pliocine sea levels were about 82 feet higher than today — levels that today would inundate major cities around the world — because Arctic and West Antarctic ice sheets did not exist to hold that from the ocean!

2014 was the 38th consecutive year with temperatures above the average for the entire 20th century. Fourteen of the past 15 years rank among the 15 warmest of the past 136 years – since record-keeping began. Moreover, nine out of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000, with 2014 being Earth’s warmest year on record.

A recent survey of peer reviewed articles on climate change showed that only 2 out of 10855 articles believe that humans aren't causing global warming. A mere two articles rejected anthropogenic global warming. For the next 25 to 30 years, climate scientists say we're in for a 1.8o F warmer climate, there's no way out. That amount of change is inevitable, set by today’s atmospheric conditions.

If we make substantial effort starting now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, global temperature increase can be kept to 2o C or 3.6o F in the second half of this century. But if nothing is done to greenhouse gas emissions, the world will face 4o C, or 7.2o F, increase. (see: A Climate Changed Earth)

President Obama's Coast Guard Academy Commencement Speech

Obama At U.S. Coast Guard Academy Commencement: Denying Climate Change "Dereliction Of Duty"
In his Coast Guard Academy commencement speech, Obama said denying climate change or refusing to deal with it is negligence and "dereliction of duty." President Obama urged action toward mitigating the “immediate risk” posed by climate change. (Climate remarks start at the 10 min. mark of Obama's speech.)

"If you see storm clouds gathering or dangerous shoals ahead you don't just sit back and do nothing," President Obama said Wednesday. "You take action to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty. So to with climate change."

"Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security," Obama also said. "It undermines the readiness of our forces."
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Climate change is one of those most severe threats. This is not just a problem for countries on the coasts or for certain regions of the world. Climate change will impact every country on the planet. No nation is immune. So I am here today to say that climate change constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security. And make no mistake, it will impact how our military defends our country. So we need to act and we need to act now.

After all, isn't that the true hallmark of leadership? When you're on deck, standing your watch, you stay vigilant, you plan for every contingency. If you see storm clouds gathering or dangerous shoals ahead you don't just sit back and do nothing. You take action to protect your ship, to keep your crew safe. Anything less is negligence. It is a dereliction of duty. So to with climate change. Denying it or refusing to deal with it endangers our national security. It undermines the readiness of our forces.
In recent months, the Obama administration has sought to act on climate change by setting targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In November last year, during a trip to China, Obama announced that the U.S. will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 26 percent to 28 percent of 2005 levels over the next 10 years.

Climate Change Is A National Security Threat Multiplier

Extreme weather, rising seas and changing storm patterns could become “threat multipliers” for the United States, vastly complicating security challenges faced by American forces, the Pentagon said in a report on the impact of climate change released in October 2014.

The Pentagon report, described as a “climate change adaptation roadmap,” included a foreword from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in which he urged the nation’s military’s planners to grapple now with the implications of a warming planet, even as scientists are “converging toward consensus on future climate projections.”
“Politics or ideology must not get in the way of sound planning,” Hagel said. “Our armed forces must prepare for a future with a wide spectrum of possible threats, weighing risks and probabilities to ensure that we will continue to keep our country secure.”
In remarks released alongside the 20-page report, Hagel said the Pentagon was preparing a survey assessing the vulnerability of its military installations to climate change. He cited the Hampton Roads region of Virginia as an example of an area that has both military bases and recurrent flooding, adding that defense officials are developing plans to address a projected sea-level rise of about 1.5 feet in the next 20 to 50 years.

Theological Justification For Climate Action

Last Janurary, Pope Francis stated that climate change is mostly man's fault. "I don't know if it is all [man’s fault] but the majority is, for the most part, it is man who continuously slaps down nature," Francis told reporters. "We have in a sense taken over nature.

Creation is a gift, it is a wonderful gift that God has given us, so that we care for it and we use it for the benefit of all, always with great respect and gratitude," Francis said. "Safeguard Creation. Because if we destroy Creation, Creation will destroy us! Never forget this!"

Republicans Label All Who Say Human CO2 Emissions Cause Climate Change Are Intellectually Arrogant

During last fall’s midterm election campaign, “I’m not a scientist” became a standard Republican answer to questions about climate change. The line worked — or, at least, didn’t not work — to refute climate change.

Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida and likely 2016 Republican presidential candidate, has said he is not a scientist when it comes to climate change. But few hours after President Obama delivered his United States Coast Guard Academy commencement speech, Bush told Republicans at a house party in Bedford, New Hampshire, all who say the accumulation of green house gases humans have released into atmosphere is a main driver of climate change are intellectually arrogant and not to be believed.
“Look, first of all, the climate is changing. I don’t think the science is clear what percentage is man-made and what percentage is natural," Bush told the New Hampshire Republicans. "It’s convoluted. And for the people to say the science is decided on, this is just really arrogant, to be honest with you,” Bush reportedly said, adding that this “intellectual arrogance” was preventing people from having a conversation on anthropogenic climate change.

“The President's approach is, effectively, reduce economic activity to lower our carbon footprint,” Bush reportedly said. Bush also said climate change should not be the U.S. government's “highest priority.”
Jeb Bush claims President Obama, Pope Frances, Chuck Hagel, Pentagon Generals, and over ten thousand climate scientists worldwide are intellectually arrogant, while he is an intellectually honest arbiter of the truth.

Intellectual arrogance does not come from scientists writing the 97 percent of peer-reviewed papers confirming the now nearly 40 billion tons of carbon dioxide greenhouse gas humans pump into the atmosphere year after year by burning fossil fuels continues to drive rising global temperatures and changing climate conditions. Nor are the scientists on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change intellectually arrogant when they say they are 95 percent certain carbon dioxide and methane greenhouses produced by human activities is the "dominant cause" driving global warming and climate change. Neither is there intellectual arrogance from those who believe the many thousands of scientists around the world who have reached a scientific consensus that greenhouse gases produced by human activities continues to drive climate change.

Rather, Republicans are arrogant when they say "I'm no scientist," and continue in the same breadth to say thousands of scientists around the world are wrong on their consensus that human CO2 emissions are driving global temperature increases and climate change. Many members of Congress, 169 members, to be exact, — are on record denying the science of human-caused climate change.

Blame God for Climate Change and Extreme Weather

The chairman of the U.S. Senate environment committee, Senator James Inhofe, R-Okla., is an enthusiastic denier of climate change, saying it is the “biggest hoax” perpetrated against mankind.

Senator James Inhofe has repeatedly claimed that climate change is a liberal hoax and more than 10,000 climate scientists around the world who say human CO2 emissions are diving climate change are co-conspirators in that hoax.

But even Inhofe has recently moved on from his original stance that undeniable observations of climate change are a hoax to agreeing climate conditions around the world are changing.

Inhofe remains adamant, however, that humans aren't the cause of it, citing his interpretation of Bible verses as his proof.  In his book, The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, Inhofe states his frequent claim that human influenced climate change is impossible because “God’s still up there.”
Inhofe, speaking on the Voice of Christian Youth America’s radio program Crosstalk, said: "Well actually the Genesis 8:22 that I use is that ‘as long as the earth remains there will be seed time and harvest, cold and heat, winter and summer, day and night,’ my point is, God’s still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous."

Republicans Say Climate Change Is “Business As Usual” - Government Has No Business Interfering

Republicans nearly unanimously would have federal and state governments and industry continue, “business as usual.” President Ronald Reagan, in his first inaugural address, famously declared that "government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem." Republican policy today continues to embody the political philosophy that government has no proper role to play in public planning. Republican reject the idea that we the people, through our elected government, should implement policies and programs to reign in green house gas emissions and deal with too little water in some regions of the country and too much water in regions.

Plenty of Republicans hate the Environmental Protection Agency and want to gut its climate change programs and regulatory offices. Collin County's Republican Representative Sam Johnson doesn't want to stop there. He introduced a bill to wipe out the whole agency.

Johnson's bill, introduced in April, would eliminate funding for the EPA regulation of greenhouse gases from power plants, the centerpiece of the Obama administration's climate plan, plus the regulation of emissions from vehicles. It also would wipe out the greenhouse gas reporting program. And the agency's environmental justice work. And climate research, regulation of ozone, the clean diesel campaign, and all EPA grant programs.

To block government action on climate change, Republicans, most of them, over time, have moved through various levels of denial:
  • climate change isn't happening;
  • seasons aren't being altered;
  • glaciers and ice sheets the world over are not melting and sea levels aren't rising from the resulting melt water flowing into the oceans;
  • it's happening but humans aren't causing it - only God can change the earth's climate conditions;
  • it's happening but its impacts are minor and far in the future;
  • it's happening but it will open up beneficial new commercial opportunities like growing food crops farther north - CO2 is a natural fertilizer that makes plants grow;
  • it's happening but the extreme drought conditions in California and Washington are not related;
  • it's happening but it isn't the cause for America's second largest reservoir, Lake Powell, disappearing;
  • it's happening but it's too expensive to do anything and trying to reduce CO2 emissions (like invest in renewable energy generation) will kill jobs;
  • it's happening but the destruction caused by extreme weather events - tornadoes, torrential rains and flooding - are not related;
  • it's happening but it's not the job of federal and state governments to plan for the time when southwestern and west coast states run out of fresh drinking water and the nations coastal cities flood from rising sea levels;
  • Etc, etc.
Global Warming Has Stopped Claim

Many Republicans also claim some global warming may have occurred, but the warming has leveled off and 'paused.' This 'faux pause' is often used as an excuse by Republicans who oppose taking action to curb climate change. For example, Texas Republican Senator and U.S. presidential candidate Ted Cruz recently said on American TV:
"Many of the alarmists on global warming, they've got a problem because the science doesn't back them up. In particular, satellite data demonstrate for the last 17 years, there's been zero warming."
This assertion is problematic for several reasons. First of all, it is wrong: the satellite data clearly show ongoing warming over the past two decades. Secondly, the satellite data in question only estimate the temperature of the atmosphere above Earth's surface. Finally, warming of the atmosphere accounts for only about two per cent of overall global warming; more than 90 per cent goes into heating of the surface and the oceans. That heating contributes to the melting of the ice sheets, and the acceleration of global sea level rise.

The faux pause has nonetheless been used by political partisans like Senator Cruz to cast doubt on the overwhelming scientific consensus that humans are causing rapid global warming, simply because they find the political implications of that scientific reality inconvenient — to their ideological views and the views of the special interests who fund their campaigns.  (Global warming's 'false pause' linked to Pacific Ocean storing heat, may mask serious concerns.)

Government Subsidizing Climate Change

In an estimate the IMF calls “shocking”, fossil fuels are set to be subsidized to the tune of $5.3 trillion in 2015 - more than the total health spending of all the world’s governments combined.

Saying And Voting That Climate Change Isn't Real, Doesn't Make Not Real

Striking the words ‘sea level rise.’

For five years, Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s administration has banned the use of the term “climate change.” According to an investigation by the nonprofit Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, an “unwritten policy” not to use the terms “climate change” or “global warming” took effect in 2011, after Governor Scott took office. This according to several former officials at Florida’s Department of Environmental Protection, who were told not to use the terms even when preparing economic forecasts of the impact of climate change, as well as the conspicuous absence of the term even in contexts where it would be appropriate—like state plans to deal with rising sea levels, for example.

It is one of the profound ironies of climate change that Florida is a state already besieged by climate change effects — where coastal islands face existential threats and daily floods render major thoroughfares difficult to navigate — is also home to Republican presidential candidates who express deep suspicion of the climate science. Florida, the home state of Sen. Marco Rubio (R), who said last year he doesn’t “believe human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate.” Florida is also the home state of former governor and Republican presidential contender Jeb Bush, who in 2009 called himself a global warming “skeptic.”

The Republican controlled U.S. Senate, in a January 2015 vote, rejected the scientific consensus that climate change is real and that human activity significantly contributes to it, days after NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2014 the hottest year ever recorded on Earth. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and Sen. Inhofe urged their colleagues to vote against the worldwide scientific consensus finding that climate change is significantly caused by humans. Murkowski, chairwoman of the energy committee, has expressed worries about the impact of climate change on her state.

The only people still debating whether or not climate change is “real,” and caused by human activity, are the ones who aren’t doing the actual research. Very few of the most vocal global warming deniers, those who write op-eds and blogs and testify to congressional committees, have ever written a peer-reviewed article in which they say explicitly that anthropogenic global warming is false. Why? Because then they would have to provide the evidence and, evidently, they don’t have it.

Climate Change Is Real And A Clear And Present Danger

There a mountain of scientific evidence in favor of anthropogenic global warming and no convincing evidence against it. Those who deny anthropogenic global warming have no alternative theory to explain the well documented correlation between the rise in atmospheric CO2 and global temperature - in the present or Pliocene era past.

The so-called debate over global warming is intellectually corrupt, a hoax conjured up by a handful of writers, who lack scientific credential, funded by fossil fuel companies and right wing "think tank" foundations, aided and abetted by a misguided and sometimes colluding media.

We must elect people to Congress who intellectually accept the reality of anthropogenic climate change and will take immediate action to reduce our global warming green house gas emissions and prevent these consequences from growing more costly and severe in the future.

But we must also now prepare for the unavoidable climate change effects that have already been set in motion.

More: A Climate Changed Earth

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