Tag Archives: Global warming

‘Natural instinct’ is wrong, Mr. President

Donald John Trump says he has a “natural instinct” for science. Therefore, he is going to rely on that instinct rather than listen and study the analysis provided by actual scientists who contend that climate change is the real thing.

Moreover, most of them suggest that human beings are causing Earth’s climate to change, causing it to warm up, causing the oceans to rise, eliminating habitat for Arctic and Antarctic wildlife.

They say deforestation has contributed to it. They blame carbon emissions from factories and motor vehicles that pollute the atmosphere.

The president, though, says his “natural instinct” tells him they’re all wrong.

Donald Trump, per usual, is spewing absolute poppycock.

Trump has it wrong

Speaking of instincts, the president’s natural instinct in business hasn’t served him well. Bankruptcies and assorted failed endeavors have created — at best — a checkered business history for the man who calls himself  “self-made” gazillionaire. However, as The New York Times has reported, he isn’t self-made by any stretch of the imagination.

Now he’s going to tell us that his gut informs him that climate change isn’t real.

Mr. President? It is real. Honest. It is.

Beautiful view … if only we could see it

MISSOULA, Mont. — Our drive today from West Yellowstone to Missoula was spectacular — or at least that’s what I’ll presume.

We couldn’t see much of what we understand is breathtaking mountain splendor.

Our 260-mile trek north and west was uneventful in important ways. We had no delays. Our truck performed perfectly. Our fifth wheel recreational vehicle followed along just as it is designed to do.

The obstruction to our sight-seeing while driving comes from smoke. Those wildfires that keep breaking out throughout the western United States are causing considerable havoc to those of us who want to enjoy the splendor the Almighty provides.

Do not misunderstand me. I am not going to bitch and moan about it Why? My inconvenience pales in comparison to the struggle being fought in those mountains, valleys and meadows by the firefighters who are thrusting themselves into harm’s way.

Our latest retirement trek will continue west before we head back home in a few days. I keep hearing about the smoke all along the way. I want it to clear out for totally selfish reasons, but also because — like all Americans — I want the firefighters to return home safely. Their children and spouses need them.

I won’t go too deeply into the climate change debate with this blog post. I’ll only re-state what I’ve believed for a good while: The weather is changing and we can expect more of these fires and more than likely they’ll arrive with increasing ferocity.

Millions more tourists just like my wife and me will be denied the chance to take in the view we know is out there … somewhere.

Oh, this heat just keeps the pressure on

Just about the time I am inclined to link this incessant Texas heat wave to the issue of global warming, I think of Sen. Jim Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and prominent global warming/climate change denier.

We’re broiling in the D/FW Metroplex with temps hovering around 110 degrees (if you factor in that “heat index”). It’s been several days with temperatures topping out at around 100 degrees. I might say, “See, I told you that the climate is changing.”

Sen. Inhofe? Oh, he quite famously walked onto the floor of the U.S. Senate during a recent winter snowstorm in Washington, D.C. He was packing a snowball about the size of a large grapefruit. He then proceeded to declare in a Senate floor speech that the existence of that snowball and the bitterly cold temperatures in the D.C. area proved that the planet isn’t warming up.

I wrote at the time that Inhofe was nuts to use a real-time episode in one community as a way to debunk an event that scientists around the world have said is occurring.

Look at global picture, Sen. Inhofe

So, with that said, I am going to refrain from linking to this hideous heat to the notion that Earth’s climate is changing.

There. Are you climate change deniers happy now?

He’s got rocks in his noggin

Mo Brooks has emerged as one of Congress’s premier climate change deniers.

What did the Alabama Republican House member say to an environmentalist today during a congressional hearing on climate change?

Check it out, as reported by USA Today: “Every single year that we’re on Earth, you have huge tons of silt deposited by the Mississippi River, by the Amazon River, by the Nile, by every major river system — and for that matter, creek, all the way down to the smallest systems,” Brooks said. “And every time you have that soil or rock whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise. Because now you’ve got less space in those oceans because the bottom is moving up.”

There’s a bit more: Brooks pointed to the White Cliffs of Dover and to California “where you have the waves crashing against the shorelines” and “you have the cliffs crash into the sea.”

“All of that displaces the water which forces it to rise, does it not?” Brooks asked.

That’s it. Rocks are filling the ocean bottom, forcing the water to rise — worldwide! That’s the Mo Brooks doctrine.

Carbon pollution? Deforestation? Other causes that might come from human activity? That’s a non-starter among climate change deniers, such as Rep. Brooks.

Such so-called “thinking” tells me that those who deny the link between the changing climate and human behavior have rocks in their heads.

This just in: Global warming is bad!

Someone ought to remind Scott Pruitt what the initials “EPA” mean.

They stand for “Environmental Protection Agency.” The man who runs the EPA is charged with protecting the environment, with searching for ways to maintain the integrity of the surroundings where we live.

But Pruitt has now declared that global warming — aka “climate change” — isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

I believe the former Oklahoma attorney general is mistaken. Yes, it is a bad thing. It’s a very bad thing, dude.

As near as I can tell, global warming produces a number of potential catastrophes. The ice caps on both poles melt, resulting in an inexorable rise in sea levels; the North Pole ice cap is a prime hunting ground for polar bears and if they can’t hunt seals and walruses, they can’t eat and they die of starvation; the rising sea levels endanger our coastal marshes and, oh yeah, they also threaten the many urban areas that have sprung up on coasts all around the world.

The EPA director seems all too willing to dismiss the potential dangers posed by this phenomenon.

I won’t argue the point about the cause of global warming. Whether it’s manmade — which I believe it is — or whether it’s part of Earth’s epochal cycle, it’s a bad thing.

Why can’t the man in charge of the federal agency that is supposed to protect our environment concentrate his energy and attention on his fundamental duty?

Protect the planet, Mr. EPA Director!

Ice caps are melting, Mr. President! Really, they are!

Donald J. Trump now is expressing an opinion that runs counter to scientific consensus.

The president has declared polar ice caps are at “record levels.” He is trying to buttress his bogus assertion that climate change is a “hoax” cooked up by Chinese conspiracy theorists intent on using the phenomenon as a way to undermine the U.S. fossil fuel industry.

But, but, but …

The evidence suggests something else. The ice caps are diminishing. They are endangering wildlife, such as polar bears that rely on the ice caps for their hunting of prey, such as seals and walruses.

The president isn’t buying it. Has he consulted with anyone? Does he ever consult with anyone on anything? I think we know the answer to that question.

According to The Hill: “I mean, look, it used to not be climate change. It used to be global warming. That wasn’t working too well because it was getting too cold all over the place,” Trump said.

Indeed, spoken like a man with deep scientific knowledge.

I am going to rely on the scientific community and, oh yes, the pictures that NASA is taking from outer space showing precisely what is happening to the world’s Arctic and Antarctic ice caps.

They are shrinking, Mr. President. The pictures don’t lie … unlike a prominent politician who is known to prevaricate with abandon.

Does this heavy wind equal climate change?

Climate change has become a sort of synonym for “global warming.”

When climatologists talk about the warming of Planet Earth, they drop the term “climate change,” as if the conditions are interchangeable.

I’ve been thinking just a bit about that. I am not so sure we can bind them together.

Out here on the High Plains of Texas, we’ve been battered over the course of several days by high wind. It’s been dry, too.

I bring this up because for the past 23 years my wife and I have called the Texas Panhandle home, we have welcomed those reliable “March winds.” This year, March arrived about, oh, two months early.

For much of January we have been battling the wind that is supposed to arrive just in time for spring. The wind brings with it those threatening clouds, the downpours, the occasional hail storms.

This year it’s just the wind. Fifty mph gusts have followed sustained wind of about 20 to 30 mph.

Is it mere coincidence that the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2017 was the second-warmest year on record? Has the worldwide warming produced some of the windblown consequence we’re experiencing in early 2018 out here on what I call the Texas Tundra?

And is climate change generally synonymous with global warming? Does one event mean the existence of the other?

I believe the climate is changing. I also believe the planet is getting warmer. I am not yet willing to link the two conditions together.

Your thoughts?

Texas coast remains in dire peril

I want to give a shout out to my former neighbors along the Texas Gulf Coast.

They are working diligently to preserve one of the state’s most underappreciated resources: its beaches.

The Texas coast is in peril. It is disappearing before our eyes. It has been disappearing for, oh, many decades. I took an interest in the coast when I moved there in 1984 to take up my post writing editorials for the Beaumont Enterprise.

The Texas Tribune reports that Jefferson County officials are working with a consortium of industry officials, environmental activists, outdoorsmen and women and others to protect the coastal wetlands from drastic erosion.

According to the Tribune: Subsidence, sea level rise and storm surges have all contributed to significant land loss, averaging 4 feet per year along the state’s coastline, according to the Texas General Land Office. In some places, more than 30 feet of shoreline disappears underwater annually.

Todd Merendino, a manager at the conservation-focused group Ducks Unlimited, said sand dunes used to line the shore near the Salt Bayou marsh, forming a crucial buffer between the Gulf of Mexico and the millions of dollars’ worth of industrial infrastructure that lie inland. The dunes are “all gone now,” he said.

“One day, you wake up and you go, ‘Wow, we got a problem,'” Merendino said. “And it’s not just an isolated problem where one swing of the hammer is going to fix it.”

The problem has inspired a coalition of strange bedfellows in Jefferson County. Local leaders, environmental activists and industry representatives are working together to execute a variety of projects — some bankrolled by BP oil spill settlement funds — to rehabilitate the marsh and protect the area’s industrial complex.

The massive deep freeze that is paralyzing the Deep South and the Atlantic Seaboard notwithstanding, the worldwide climate change that produces rising sea levels is a major culprit.

Gulf Coast officials are seeking to build a berm along the coast at the McFaddin Wildlife Refuge. I’ve been there. It’s a jewel along the coast. It’s a haven for all manner of waterfowl. It is a gorgeous part of the coastal region.

It’s also vanishing.

Here is the Tribune story

The Texas General Land Office once placed coastal preservation near the top of its public policy agenda. I am unaware of where that issue stands today. The GLO has welcomed the likes of David Dewhurst, Jerry Patterson and now George P. Bush as land commissioner since Mauro left the office in the late 1990s. I trust they, too, are committed to saving the coastline for future generations of Texans to enjoy.

I am heartened to hear about the hard work being done along the coast. It’s good, though, to bear in mind that Mother Nature can take whatever she wants, whenever she wants.

At least the state is not going to give it away without a fight.

Seven words CDC won’t allow?

Wherever he is, the late comedian George Carlin must be laughing his a** off.

Carlin once made famous those “seven words you can’t say on TV.” I won’t repeat them here. Many of you know them already.

Now we have the Centers for Disease Control being told not to use seven supposedly hot-button words in future budget proposals.

Oh, my. What is the world coming to?

The CDC’s banned words are: fetus, diversity, transgender, vulnerable, entitlement, evidence-based and science-based.

You can’t say it

I want to focus on one of those banned words: science-based.

What in the name of hocus-pocus is going on here? I mean, we’re talking about the Centers for Disease Control, aren’t we? Doesn’t the CDC deal directly and wholly with science? I do not understand this directive. I do not grasp why the CDC — of all agencies — would get this kind of directive from on high.

Critics of the Trump administration have alleged that it is being run by science-deniers. Here’s one example: They deny the existence of climate change despite mounting scientific evidence that Earth’s climate is changing, that it is getting warmer.

So now the CDC is being told it cannot use “science-based” terminology?

What in the world would George Carlin do with this bit of idiocy?

Climate change made Harvey wreckage worse? Who knew?

Imagine my (non)surprise to read that independent analyses have concluded that climate change likely worsened the misery that Hurricane Harvey brought this summer to the Texas Gulf Coast.

The rainfall that inundated the coast totaled 50 inches in a 24-hour period; it set a continental U.S. record for most rain to fall during a single day.

Get a load of this: Researchers say that climate change — or you can call it “global warming” — worsened the rainfall by about 15 percent.

Not that a 15-percent increase created the tragedy that brought so much suffering to Houston, the Coastal Bend and the Golden Triangle. A 40-inch rainfall would have done plenty of damage, too … correct?

According to the Texas Tribune: ” … two independent research teams, one based in The Netherlands and the other in California, reported that the deluge from Hurricane Harvey was significantly heavier than it would have been before the era of human-caused global warming. One paper put the best estimate of the increase in precipitation at 15 percent. The other said climate change increased rainfall by 19 percent at least, with a best estimate of 38 percent.”

Read the Tribune story here.

However, the federal government keeps insisting that climate change is a “hoax,” that it’s a made-up creation of “fake news” and the Chinese government, which is trying to undermine the U.S. fossil fuel industry.

It’s no hoax. We can debate its cause. I happen to believe human activity has contributed to climate change. To call it a phony story, though, puts millions of Americans in extreme peril.