Will Hurricane Sandy be our wake-up call? That’s what the headline on Eugene Robinson’s column asks. Will we finally now be scared enough to face the reality of human-caused climate change? Surely this massive storm hitting America’s beloved biggest, toughest city will be it.
Sandy has already shaken New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg from their professional obligations to hold President Obama at arm’s length, even prompting Bloomberg to make a wishy-washy statement about how the climate is definitely going nuts. Might these be the gale-force winds needed to push global warming out of the political realm and into the real world of problems to be solved?
In a word: no. It is just as political in the comments as it ever was. As commenter HeadleyFixx put it,
I fail to understand why “global warming” or “climate change” is a political issue and their supporters must be liberal and their opponents must be conservative. Science has never been characterized in this manner and it makes no sense. Are there no facts and opinions that cannot be “labeled” for identification of a political stance?
PostScript has never understood this either. Considering the big poll-and-policy movement in her lifetime on gay marriage, which can’t really be informed by science, how come we are still at an impasse on climate change? Is it merely the politicians who dare not speak its name? The big money invested in the carbon status quo? That emotional issues like gender equality are more easily pondered by the human brain? The fact that most of us who don’t fully get all the information and arguments involved end up basically deciding which team to trust, rather than what science?
Probably. But there are other hints in more comments. In this bit of dialogue, we can see another probable reason: Even if we feel like we should do something, it’s not clear what the “something” is:
MikePS65 pushes against some deniers in the thread:
For those of us who have a little more growing up under our belts, we see global warming as a real problem facing not just us, but our children and their children. It’s a serious problem requiring serious deliberation and action.
Cynical snark is easy generating ideas and solutions is for more creative minds.
Can you actually identify what problems exist? And then weigh them against what benefits you can identify?
And identify a solution.
Sigh. Yes, climate scientists would be more convincing if they could sort of agree on those things. What else?
dancingrabbit, another denier/skeptic, has another compelling reason people aren’t convinced. Weather is so complicated and predicting it so imprecise that non-scientists can intuitively understand countertrends to warming as easily as warming:
It has been over seven years since a Category 3 or greater hurricane has made landfall in the U.S. This is the longest period of no major hurricanes since we began measuring them.
We are constantly told that the past 10 years of mild summers and hard winters is not evidence against Global Warming. We are also told that the seven year stretch with no major hurricanes is also not evidence against Global Warming. The fact that every Global Warming model ten years ago predicted annual increases in warming and annual increases in the rate and intensity of hurricanes is irrelevant.
And yet, every time there is a hurricane or any other extreme weather event (which we naturally have all the time somewhere in the world) it is immediately proclaimed as yet more proof of Global Warming.
That’s true, too — or seems true to PostScript, since “seeming” true is a lot of what this argument is about.
PostScript generally believes scientists, and the possible reasons given for global warming being a huge conspiracy don’t ring true to her, like those of offshore250:
Socialism having failed so spectacularly, the left was adrift until it struck upon a brilliant gambit: metamorphosis from red to green. The cultural elites went straight from the memorial service for socialism to the altar of the environment.
The objective is the same: highly centralized power given to the supposed best and the brightest, the new class of experts, managers and technocrats and destined to fail just as all previous attempts have failed and are still failing in Greece, and most of Europe and spectacularly in Venezuela, North Korea, Cuba and eventually red China.
Uh, no. Don’t buy it. There are plenty of crises to choose from as an excuse to make a one-world government without the manufacture of this one.
Human-caused global warming seems truer to PostScript, because she finds oil developers more likely to have a huge evil conspiracy than government and academic scientists, mostly because they probably have more disposable income to make trouble with, and more money at risk. But that is ultimately a political statement, not a scientific one. And that is the whole problem here.