Refuting state AG’s anti-science petition, Virginia climate scientists see “great risk” from greenhouse gases

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"Refuting state AG’s anti-science petition, Virginia climate scientists see “great risk” from greenhouse gases"

Virginia’s Attorney General is claiming that global warming is “unreliable, unverifiable and doctored” science, but the state’s climatologists aren’t buying it, as Brad Johnson reports in this Wonkroom repost.

Virginia AG Ken Cuccinelli (R-VA) “” a former state senator and corporate attorney “” has joined Texas and right-wing industry groups in challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that greenhouse gas emissions endanger the public. In a press conference announcing this petition, Cuccinelli claimed that hacked “Climategate” emails prove a conspiracy by scientists involved with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to replace real science with “political science.” His efforts to block “job-destroying regulations based on unverifiable and unrepeatable so-called science” are supported by Gov. Bob McDonnell (R-VA):

It’s very clear the process by which this was undertaken was not one that was set up to reach an objective conclusion. This wasn’t the pursuit of truth. It was political science, not science in the typical sense of the word. . . . While we’re open to seeing where honest, unbiased science leads us in the climate policy arena, we are not prepared to stand by while EPA proceeds to implement job-destroying regulations based on unverifiable and unrepeatable so-called science.

If there is such a conspiracy, it has corrupted Cuccinelli’s own state. In email interviews with the Wonk Room, several scientists at the University of Virginia Department of Environmental Sciences, which runs the Virginia Climatology Office, made it clear that they believe Cuccinelli’s extreme claims are without merit.

Palaeoclimatologist William Ruddiman, professor emeritus, University of Virginia “” and author of Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate and Earth’s Climate: Past and Future “” is “confident” of the facts of manmade global warming, and that our emissions of greenhouse gases “carry great risk”:

As a mainstream climate scientist, I am confident about the following facts:

  • Earth has warmed by 0.7-0.8C since the late 1800’s.
  • Greenhouse gas concentrations began rising near 1850 and have been rising since then.
  • Most of the warming since the middle/late 1800’s, and the vast majority of it since 1970, has been caused by greenhouse-gas increases.
  • Given this history, and with the current rate of gas emissions, future climate will likely be warmer (probably much warmer than any climate of the last few tens of millions of years).

Actions that produce climates greatly different from today carry great risk. And at this point we are headed in that direction.

Atmospheric scientist Jennie Moody, research associate professor, University of Virginia, has concluded that “the public welfare is threatened by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions,” based on her own research and knowledge of the science:

There is nothing in my own research, or my understanding of the science of climate change that would give me reason to believe that EPA’s finding of endangerment is not based on sound science. To rephrase this, I would say that my knowledge gained through regular scholarship (reading of the literature in my field, I have a Ph.D. in atmospheric science (meteorology) and a minor in chemistry) and to a lesser extent from my own research in facts leads me to conclude that the public welfare is threatened by anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.

Wildlife biologist Michael Erwin, research professor, University of Virginia, who feels “there is no question” about the link between greenhouse gases and sea level rise, warns of the consequences to the state of Virginia:

The issue of relative sea level rise is a real concern, especially in the mid Atlantic region (from New Jersey to North Carolina, and including Chesapeake Bay) and the Louisiana-Mississippi coast. The combination of eustatic sea level rise and subsidence in both areas is substantial, resulting in inundation of many wetlands, and erosion of many small marsh islands; it appears that most models predict an even more rapid rate of sea level rise in the next century. This has major implications to the wildlife species that depend on marshes, as well as human infrastructure in these densely populated areas.

Are they part of the conspiracy? Are they being duped by even-more-clever scientists? Or is the threat of accumulating man-made greenhouse gases real, as scientists have been warning for decades? We report, you decide.

Update: The question asked of Professor Moody was:

I would like to know if your research and/or your understanding of the science of climate change gives you any reason to believe that the EPA’s assessment that greenhouse gases are threatening public welfare (through such means, with varying degrees of certainty, as adverse impacts in the areas of water resources and sea level rise and coastal areas, increases in wildfires, changes in air quality, increases in temperatures, changes in extreme weather events, increases in food- and water-borne pathogens, changes in aeroallergens) is not based on sound science.

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30 Responses to Refuting state AG’s anti-science petition, Virginia climate scientists see “great risk” from greenhouse gases

  1. prokaryote says:

    Economists agree that a price must be put on carbon to induce markets to move away from an unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels. For some nations, this economic ‘’sacrifice” has already proven a long-term winner. Sweden imposed the world’s first carbon tax, of $US100 a tonne, in 1991 and today ranks in the four most competitive economies.
    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/editorial/go-to-plan-b-to-limit-costs-of-climate-paralysis-20100221-oo05.html

  2. Wit's End says:

    I do not understand why people who decry costs or purported job losses involved in averting climate change through regulation ignore the cost of doing nothing.

    CO2 is only one greenhouse gas. The others – nitrous oxides, sulphur dioxides, aldehydes from ethanol – create ozone. Ozone gives people cancer, emphysema, and asthma. Not to mention toxic heavy metal deposition, such as mercury. Who should pay for the costs associated with that? They are very real costs.

    Vegetation is even more sensitive to poisonous greenhouse gases than humans. Right now, across the US, every species of tree is rapidly dying from exposure to ozone and associated emissions from burning fossil and biofuels. What is the cost of that?

    No more wood for paper or lumber, no more nuts, apples, peaches, cherries, maple syrup? No more shade to cool houses and streams for fish that need cold water, no more habitat for wildlife like birds, squirrels, and opossums, and no more sink for CO2 leading to accelerating warming.

    What is the cost of cutting down those dead trees before they fall on your house, car, or head? What is the cost of fighting fires that start in tinder-dry wilderness and threaten structures as they spread? What is the cost of crop failure and famine?

    Already, the losses from ozone are measured in the millions of dollars, and it’s only getting worse and worse and we burn more and more fuel and it accumulates in the environment. Personally, I would rather pay a tax on carbon emissions, and have my government promote conservation and subsidize clean energy (solar and wind) and electric cars instead of ethanol and coal.

    Otherwise we are going to bring upon the extinction not just of trees but humankind.

    Here is a video of what is left of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park: http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2010/02/emaciated-corpses.html

  3. Leif says:

    The capitalistic System is still young and has a fatal flaw built into it. Corporations are charged with the maximization of profits to its shareholders. On the surface that may sound like a good plan but look where it leads us. Corporations have managed to take advantage of societies ignorance of the collapse of ecosystems and have made huge profits by being allowed to use the atmosphere, earth, and water as a free dump for numerous toxins, some, that on the surface may even look, or in smaller quantities, be benign. Even water, the staff of life is fatal in too large an amount. Because of corporate allegiance to maximize profits the “least cost option” to pursue when faced with the capital costs of mitigation is to deny the problem exists and even actively pursue a “disinformation policy”. Another would be to actively petition congress to ignore the evidence, perhaps even “grease the wheels” of those that would look the other way. All for the well-being of the shareholders and the bottom line. In effect it would be illegal to do otherwise. Then along comes a short sighted Supreme Court that grants those same Corporations, with there vast resources, the right of “free speech” to further influence the very electorate and thus add “democratic” legitimacy to there destructive ways. The only “bridge” that I currently see for the future survival of humanity is for the same Supreme Court to declare that Corporations, like the rest of us, must now be charged first and foremost with the well-being of earth’s life support systems and humanities long term prosperity, and shareholder profits secondary. Without that caveat Corporations become a “Robot” with a license to kill. If you think not, I ask you to look at past evidence. Tobacco, Love Canal, Bhopal, seat belt compliance, etc… The list is long.

    It is long past the time for capitalism to step up to the plate, look toward the future with clear vision, and “play nice” so humanity can survive…

    There is lots of money out there, as pointed out above, it is just concentrated in the hands of the few and not directed toward the sustainability of humanity.

    Humanity First, Status Quo, NO!

  4. Leif says:

    I wold love to see a court case on the legitimacy of AGW. The “Scopes Trial” of the 21st century. The original trial pitted the Church dogma against “evolution.” Now we pit the Capitalistic System it’s right to ever increasing profits, against science, reasoning and humanities very right to future existence.

    The press will love it.

  5. Wit's End says:

    Leif, I agree and also wonder why environmental groups aren’t using their resources more effectively to sue corporate polluters. The evidence of causation of harm is readily available and in many cases indisputable. Why shouldn’t they be liable? It seems that some very large awards could be won that would both fund more lawsuits and bring much attention to the consequences of the lack of government regulation.

    It seems to me that often the judicial branch is the most effective method to bring change, and in this instance it is being grossly underutilized.

  6. fj2 says:

    A good one for immediate action from

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/business/economy/21view.html

    “Economic View: A Small Price for a Large Benefit”, Robert H. Frank, NYT Feb 20, 1010

  7. Wes Rolley says:

    There is another element here, and we let politicians, especially our Congressional Critters, get away with it all of the time. Chris Mooney wrote a book entitled The Republican War on Science. He needs to write a new one entitled The Political War on Science. Witness this response to Sen. Diane Feinstein (D) from a respected US Fish & Wildlife biologist named Felix Smith.

    One of my hopes is that each of us can find reporters, columnists, editors and other influencers of public opinion who will cut through the he said / she said pseudo fair and balanced bovine fecal matter and tell it like it really is. Of course, Feinstein was able to get her sreed into the San Francisco Chronicle or the Sacramento Been just by offering it. The rest of us have to work at it.

    It is my personal opinion that Feinstein is no better than Inhofe when it comes to respecting scientific fact and that is no way to run a country.

  8. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    The concept of a pension-fund corporation’s ‘fiduciary duty’ towards its clients is worth exploring. Fiduciary refers to a duty of care to obtain the best outcome in serving the interests of the clients.

    By custom, not law, those interests are assumed to be merely financial, and funds are invested for that criteria, when in fact the average person paying pension contributions has non-financial interests that may extend out to the welfare of grandchildren under a stable climate decades hence. Investing for that criterion would yield a very different portfolio: one that minimizes both inter-cultural and inter-generational negative externalities.

    Present commercial law stating that corporations must seek the best financial return for their shareholders needs fundamental reform to codify, and prioretize, the duty of care toward shareholders’ non-financial interests – i.e. legislation to implement corporations’ real fiduciary duties.

    Have no doubt that the pendulum of power being ever more centralized in the corporations will reach its zenith, and thereafter reverse. The sooner cogent legal reform of their conduct is given serious discussion, the sooner their power will wane; in reality they are only a confidence trick on society by claiming to provide better services than the myriad small enterprises they’ve crushed in the name of “free trade”. The more their proper reform is discussed, the sooner society will see through and disdain their scams.

    Regards,

    Lewis

  9. mike roddy says:

    Leif and Wit’s End, I agree that the court system has been underutilized. Maybe plaintiff lawyers are skeptical of success due to the composition of the Supreme Court, but you still have to try.

    Wes, I don’t know if you read my take on Feinstein over the solar projects in the desert, but that’s been my experience with her, too. She is an environmentalist as long as a friend of hers’ interests are not at stake. Since she has a lot of wealthy friends, we see where that leads.

    Lewis, the whole fudiciary duty issue is pretty established, but it really does need to be challenged. The problem is that the wealthy consider that clause about like one of the Ten Commandments, including wealthy Democrats like RFK Jr. Corporate control of everything these days has to be fought in every way possible. The big companies want to avoid competition, and act without any social responsibilities, hiding behind the fudiciary responsibility clause. This movement needs to become broader, and should not be left to the Mother Joneses and Bill Moyers.

    Galbreath once said that big corporations are inherently inefficient compared to small and local businesses. That’s why they skew laws and markets in their favor. Subsidies and favorable trade and tax arrangements have to be stopped, and lobbyists banned from the Capitol. Hey, I can dream, can’t I?

  10. JimS says:

    Wit’s End. Global warming is real enough and a major problem. However, the loss of trees at Clingman Dome is due to an invasive species (Balsam woolly adelgid) not pollution. See
    http://www.fs.fed.us/r8/foresthealth/hosf/bwa.htm
    http://www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/hemlock-woolly-adelgid.htm

  11. Wit's End says:

    JimS,

    Numerous studies have proven that trees that are weakened by pollution are more vulnerable to insect infestation, fungi and disease.

    Of course, the US Forest Service and anyone whose income depends on NOT making the connection between toxic emissions and tree decline – which would include a lot of so-called environmentalists and ecologists – are reluctant to say the least to admit that it is our wanton burning of fossil and biofuels as the underlying cause for tree decline. They would rather claim it is a treatable condition or invasive species than admit our entire paradigm for obtaining and using energy is at fault.

    Global warming induced drought encourages insects as well.

  12. dhogaza says:

    Of course, the US Forest Service and anyone whose income depends on NOT making the connection between toxic emissions and tree decline – which would include a lot of so-called environmentalists and ecologists – are reluctant to say the least to admit that it is our wanton burning of fossil and biofuels as the underlying cause for tree decline.

    I’m sorry, but this is simply incorrect. Just because they’re not keen on your particular pet notions as to how certain pollutants are killing trees, vs (for instance) invasive species, doesn’t mean they’re not dead serious about global warming.

    Since their mission is essentially resource management, and research related to understanding forests, they focus on adaptation and mitigation of changes already being seen and predicted for the future given the levels of CO2 we’ve already dumped into the atmosphere, plus the worsening conditions that will rise if we continue to do so (wise, IMO, given the fact that there’s no evidence that we’ll do anything substantial regarding CO2 emissions in the near future).

    If I put in a bunch of links, this post will go into moderation, but people might be interested in the USFS Climate Change Resource Center (adaptation and mitigation strategies for land managers), the USFS Northern Institute of Applied Carbon Science site, papers put out by the various research stations (google quickly led me to a paper from the PNW Research Station entitled “Global warming and extinctions of endemic species from biodiversity hotspots”), etc.

    I’ve worked (on a volunteer basis) with resource people from the USFS and BLM, and global warming is of huge concern to the agencies, and they know what’s causing it. CO2 emissions. Agencies tend to keep a bit under the radar in part to limit “input” from contrarian politicians, who are always eager to meddle if agency science undermines timber production goals, etc.

  13. dhogaza says:

    Something else that bothers me …

    Of course, the US Forest Service and anyone whose income depends on NOT making the connection between toxic emissions and tree decline

    The US Forest Service is highly dependent on revenue generated by logging, so they’re much more motivated to exaggerate tree decline, than anything. When timber revenue goes down, as happened when conservationists (including myself, being on the board of the co-lead plaintiff in the lawsuit) won an injunction on old growth logging in the PNW, followed by the Clinton NW Forest Plan which greatly reduced timber production on forest service lands, the USFS cuts employment by laying people off, etc.

    Including professionals, not just worker bees – engineers, scientists, forest managers, etc.

    The USFS will happily point to increased insect infestations due to warming, increased fire potential due to warming, both made worse by decades of fire suppression, and happily ask for funding for thinning, controlled burning, and other management activities. In many cases these are actually good for the resource, but at least as importantly helps them keep people, and contractors in the communities in which many of them live, employed.

  14. Dennis says:

    We don’t need a court case to prove AGW. Just challenge some of the deniers like Cuccinelli to join scientists like Ruddiman to take a closed book exam on basic science, and make the results public. See who can identify basic scientific facts.

  15. James Newberry says:

    One of the biggest mountain top removal coal extracting companies is headquartered in Richmond, VA I believe. I wonder if the apparant neanderthal attitude of the VA Attorney General may have some derivation in this reality. Too bad for Virginia (the land of Jefferson), a state with great opportunity for sustainable energy and economy, yet presently mired in corrupt extractive destruction known as “mountain top removal.”

  16. Leif says:

    Jims, #10: You can discuss back and forth with respect to tree mortality on the East Coast but out here in the West is a no brainer, global climatic disruption. I like to think that our trees count also.

    http://www.forestryimages.org/browse/detail.cfm?imgnum=1467452

  17. Wit's End says:

    dhogaza, what can I say? I have been told by foresters that the USFS deliberately downplays research and even fudges reports about tree mortality using the “trick” of “hiding the decline” in counting only standing dead trees, not those on the ground. You find the same phenomena with a lot of groups that officially acknowledge climate change and fuel emissions are a problem in theory, because obviously, it’s just a fact. But they withhold just how bad things are because if, say, the Audubon Society tells people that the birds are rapidly going extinct then who is going to contribute to the Audubon Society?

  18. David B. Benson says:

    When I try to view a limited liability corporation as a person, I see sociopath.

  19. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    dhogaza – with the huge areas of North America’s forests being hit by unprecedented insect plagues and disease, and with air pollutants and a destabilized climate being implicated as proximate causes, I’ve been waiting to hear of any plans for novel uses of the dead wood.
    Particularly given that there is no prospect of halting the pollution / re-stabilizing the climate swiftly enough to halt the ongoing escalation of this problem.

    And most particularly given that, whether by swift wildfire or slow rot, the output from dead forest will be hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2e (from both CO2 & CH4) if the trees are not cleared and used prudently much faster than the paper mills could manage.

    I guess you’ll know all of the above and more (maybe some others won’t); it’s written as context for the question – who is going to do what with the various massive deadwood stocks ? Energy options include producing Biochar+Liquid Fuel, to co-firing with coal, to gasification for combined Heat+Power, etc, with the advantage of an easily adequate scale of energy demand.

    So are people willing to discuss publicly the necessary clearance, usage & replanting, and if so, could you say what are the usage options under discussion ?

    Regards,

    Billhook

  20. dhogaza says:

    I have been told by foresters that the USFS deliberately downplays research and even fudges reports about tree mortality using the “trick” of “hiding the decline” in counting only standing dead trees, not those on the ground.

    The USFS has a long history of going against science on the management side, I won’t argue that. But to suggest that hiding damage due to climate change will help them keep their jobs is arguably incorrect. And to argue that they’re hiding the effects of climate change is demonstrably incorrect as shown by the large number of web resources, papers, etc put out by the USFS that discusses the damage climate change is doing and will do to our forests.

    But they withhold just how bad things are because if, say, the Audubon Society tells people that the birds are rapidly going extinct then who is going to contribute to the Audubon Society?

    Another blow against your prejudices is the fact that Audubon DOES EXACTLY THAT:

    Audubon’s unprecedented analysis of forty years of citizen-science bird population data from our own Christmas Bird Count plus the Breeding Bird Survey reveals the alarming decline of many of our most common and beloved birds.

    Since 1967 the average population of the common birds in steepest decline has fallen by 68 percent; some individual species nose-dived as much as 80 percent. All 20 birds on the national Common Birds in Decline list lost at least half their populations in just four decades.

    BTW, I was on the board of the second largest audubon chapter in the country for 15 years … be careful who you libel, please.

  21. dhogaza says:

    BTW, A very useful map put out by Audubon.

    No computer models for denialists to loath. No stolen e-mails. No blocking of McIntyre’s IP address.

    Just decades of citizen science showing that birds appear to understand climate science better than denialists, and are acting on that knowledge!

  22. dhogaza says:

    Lewis Cleverdon:

    So are people willing to discuss publicly the necessary clearance, usage & replanting

    This stuff does happen, I know a lot of the insect-killed lodgepole forests of eastern Oregon (USFS) has been cleared out.

    and if so, could you say what are the usage options under discussion ?

    Dead trees start to rot and lose value quite quickly. I really don’t know what usage options are under discussion, sorry …

    However, you mind find this, from the USFS Climate Change Resource Center, interesting. It outlines some mitigation/adaptation strategies that are being discussed and researched by professionals in the field.

    It’s depressing, as most of them are described as being short-term band-aids that will only work for a limited timeframe, after which kiss your rear goodbye. Not to mention that most of them are expensive, because most of the stuff talked about doesn’t produce anything of much marketable value, therefore can’t pay for themselves or even close to pay for themselves, thus require a huge expansion of budget which Congress (IMO) is unlikely to provide.

  23. David B. Benson says:

    One should pay attention to what Bill Ruddiman says.

  24. Wit's End says:

    dhogaza, I am familiar with that passage from the Audubon website. In fact I tried to find it this morning to email the link to significant other because I had told him about it – and it took a fair bit of noodling around to locate again. If you aren’t really looking for that passage about the severity of decline, you could easily come away from there with the impression that things aren’t all that bad.

    Further, Audubon lists a warming climate and habitat encroachment as threats to bird populations, but has very little to say about pollution, whether from fuel emissions or other chemical depositions through agriculture and industrial processes.

    My point is that organizations and government agencies that should be investigating, researching, and ringing alarms about toxic greenhouse gases, just aren’t – and that includes the EPA, DEP, and Dept. of Agriculture too. Certainly they are not pursuing this issue with enough vigor that the average person is aware of the danger from them to health of the ecosystem – any more than they are seriously looking into the sources of cancer.

    If that’s what you call libel, sue me. I would welcome a thorough airing of the subject.

  25. Andy says:

    I’m wondering if the state AG’s are simply trying to soften up their local representatives so they vote for some sort of legislation that would keep EPA regulations out of the picture.

  26. dhogaza says:

    dhogaza, I am familiar with that passage from the Audubon website. In fact I tried to find it this morning to email the link to significant other because I had told him about it – and it took a fair bit of noodling around to locate again. If you aren’t really looking for that passage about the severity of decline, you could easily come away from there with the impression that things aren’t all that bad.

    So apparently, Audubon is guilty because you don’t have sufficient Google skills.

    As it happens, Audubon PR’d that to the national press, and it showed up in a bunch of national papers, including the NYT, which gave it prominent coverage.

    That typically doesn’t happen when an organization tries to hide something from people.

    Indeed, Audubon PR’d it (as I say above).

    That’s sort of, by any reasonable definition, publicizing their findings.

    Further, Audubon lists a warming climate and habitat encroachment as threats to bird populations, but has very little to say about pollution, whether from fuel emissions or other chemical depositions through agriculture and industrial processes.

    Now you’re on your unscientific hobby horse again, sadly.

    This statement is false. Audubon began campaigning against pesticides in 1960. Jive this with has little to say about “chemical depositions through agriculture”. That’s 51 years. I’m 55 years old. By the time I became a board member of the second largest local chapter of Audubon, Audubon had been fighting this issue for 25 years.

    If that’s what you call libel, sue me. I would welcome a thorough airing of the subject.

    Well, you’re either dishonest or misinformed. Take your choice. I know you’re heart’s in the right place, and it saddens me to see you falsely pissing on other people/organizations.

  27. dhogaza says:

    Further, Audubon lists a warming climate and habitat encroachment as threats to bird populations, but has very little to say about pollution, whether from fuel emissions or other chemical depositions through agriculture and industrial processes.

    Yes, the reality is that CO2 pollution forced warming and habitat encroachment are greater threats to bird populations than most industrial pollution. DDT and related compounds are an exception, but largely under control, so Audubon and other science-based conservation organizations don’t worry too much about it.

    You’re complaining because they’re honest?

    Again, your anecdotal anti-science beliefs don’t put you on the moral high ground. I’ll reserve that high ground for science, and for those of us who drive science-based triage of environmental issues.

    “My point is that organizations and government agencies that should be investigating, researching, and ringing alarms about toxic greenhouse gases”

    Well, our most important greenhouse gas is CO2, and a lot of science has been, and is being done, on its direct effects on plants and animals.

    I really have no idea of what you’re talking about. I know that trees in your area are dying, and that you’ve woo’d some explanation that you can’t get experts to adapt, but frankly … I need a lot more than woo to accept that you’re right and science wrong.

    If I didn’t uphold this standard, I’d be convinced that climate science is, after all, a commie pinko world enslaving fraud, right?

    (I’m off to pound my head against the wall).

  28. Jerry Zimel says:

    Leif #3 and #4

    Leif, I agree with most of your points. We are in a deadly battle with many corporations, politicians and individuals to save our ecosystems and the sustainability of human life on Planet Earth.

    That said, I take issue with one of your statements, “The capitalistic System is still young and has a fatal flaw built into it. Corporations are charged with the maximization of profits to its shareholders.” Leif, all -ism’s and ity’s have fatal flaws; they are mere structures created by man. Yes, corporations currently have a responsibility to maximize profits. Most corporate management seems to define “maximize” in the short-sighted, short term view, not the long term view.

    We are free to redesign various -isms to reflect current concerns and issues. I would like to implement changes to capitalism calling for a longer term, more inclusive, more global view.

    So, why do many Republicans, corporate CEOs, Attorneys General et al fail to see the dangers of AGW and the unsustainable consumption of our ecosystems’ resources? Can’t they see that we are endangering the existence of humans and other species on this planet? No, they can’t!

    They are blinded by a “crisis of perception”, as Fritjof Capra termed it. They can’t see the world the way it really is. They are blinded by their cerebral and visual cortexes. Thus, they are blinded by greed and indifference. They can’t see how everything on Earth is a relationship. All they see is individuality and difference, not the relationships. Thus, they are unmotivated to change.

    When their worldviews and beliefs are challenged by the overwhelming scientific evidence of AGW, the destruction of ecosystems and the end of human life on this planet, they suffer from attacks of cognitive dissonance and “circuit overload”. CD and circuit overload are very uncomfortable. Unfortunately, their psyches click in with “biased assimilation”, which allows them to discard the overwhelming scientific evidence and cling to their beliefs and lower levels of consciousness/awareness. Amazing!

    So what is the answer to this “dumbing down”? I don’t have the answer. I will just get up every day and do my part to help raise levels of awareness and motivation.

    BTW, what is it with these AGs and politicians? They see themselves as scientists now? Amazing!

    Take care,

    –jerry

  29. Wit's End says:

    “Yes, the reality is that CO2 pollution forced warming and habitat encroachment are greater threats to bird populations than most industrial pollution.”

    I agree with that in the long term. But in the here and now, fuel emissions and the 80,000 (see this link http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2010/02/synergy-of-80000.html) industrial chemicals, the vast majority of which (80,000 – 200 = 79,800) have never been subject to EPA scrutiny, are more likely the cause of deaths for, oh, lobsters, pelicans, bees, bats, butterflies, and lots and lots of people with cancer – there’s an epidemic, have you heard?

    I hope you didn’t hurt your head too badly, dhogaza, or pinch your hiney in your high scientific chair. Please note that I don’t claim to have any answers at all, or any pet theories – I am wide open to explanations, and basically I am merely asking questions of those (government agencies and non-profit charitable organizations whose employees enjoy benefits from their employers’ tax-free status) who are being supported to some degree by MY TAX DOLLARS and whose mandate is to protect the environment for my children, among others. And I find it quite curious that those same entities are not forthcoming with any answers when, theoretically, that is their entire raison d’etre.

    And also please note that I haven’t smeared any individual in this discussion, including you, despite having been accused of being among other things, libelous and prejudiced.