The likely GOP nominee for President is Mitt Romney (going by Intrade Prediction Market). And he is a member of a cult.
No, Mormonism isn’t a cult. But Global Warming Denial is.
And Romney swore allegiance to that cult this week:
My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us.
As TP Green reports:
“I think the EPA, acting in concert with the president, really doesn’t like oil, gas, coal, and nuclear,” Romney said in response to another question. “I really do believe that the EPA wants to get its hands on all of energy and be able to crush it to cause prices to go through the roof.” To applause, he concluded that “the EPA should not be regulating carbon dioxide.”
If it weren’t obvious before that global warming denial is a cult — and a dangerous one at that — the response of the cultists to the Berkeley study has demonstrated it once and for all — see WashPost: “The Scientific Finding that Settles the Climate-Change Debate” and “Confirms” the Hockey Stick Graph.
Back in June, Climate Progress reported that Mitt Romney said:
I don’t speak for the scientific community, of course, but I believe the world’s getting warmer. I can’t prove that, but I believe based on what I read that the world is getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that…. And so I think it’s important for us to reduce our emissions of pollutants and greenhouse gases that may well be significant contributors to the climate change and the global warming that you’re seeing.
Needless to say, flip flops are not unusual where Romney is concerned. But it’s a mark of cults that those who hang around other members — such as his fellow GOP nominees and the Tea Party activists taking over the party — become more and more indoctrinated.
As HuffPost notes, “Romney’s climate denial puts him in line with most every other contender in the Republican presidential field”:
Herman Cain has called the very premise of climate change “a scam,” while former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) has referred to it as nothing more than a “trend,” accusing the left of “taking advantage” of it by creating “a beautifully concocted scheme because they know that the earth is gonna cool and warm.”
Back in 2009, meanwhile, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) argued on the House floor that the very concept of global warming is faulty because “carbon dioxide is a natural byproduct of nature!”
In an August stump speech, Texas Gov. Rick Perry took the skepticism about climate change one step further, telling a New Hampshire business crowd that scientists have cooked up the data on global warming for the cash.
“We’re seeing weekly, or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what’s causing the climate to change,” Perry said at the time. “Yes, our climates change. They’ve been changing ever since the earth was formed.”
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) has become increasingly skeptical of climate change, calling it “the greatest hoax I think that has been around for many, many years, if not hundreds of years,” in a 2009 interview with Fox News.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) appeared alongside former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) in a 2008 ad that urged the country to address climate change, but has since switched to denial.
Sadly this is not a small cult. One GOP “contender” has tried to leave the cult:
His national poll numbers among Republican voters can now be counted on one finger.
It is a mark of cults that they label their former members crazy.
For those more reality minded, let’s review what we know — our ever-strengthening scientific understanding — which includes the “settled fact” that the earth is warming.
The evidence that the world’s getting hotter from multiple independent lines of observation is so strong that back in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concluded, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal” — and that word was signed off on by every member government, including the Bush administration and China and Saudi Arabia. The U.S. National Academy of Sciences concluded its 2010 review of climate science, saying it is a “settled fact” that “the Earth system is warming.” So we know it is warming.
As for the role of humans, the IPCC also concluded:
“Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”
Last year, Time magazine reported on a comprehensive new review paper of “100 peer-reviewed post-IPCC studies” in an article titled, “Report: The Case for Global Warming Stronger Than Ever” noting:
By looking at a wide range of observations from all over the world, the Met Office study concludes that the fingerprint of human influence on climate is stronger than ever. “We can say with a very high significance level that the effects we see in the climate cannot be attributed to any other forcings [factors that push the climate in one direction or another],” says study co-author Gabriele Hegerl of the University of Edinburgh.
Indeed, many if not most climate scientists would go as far or farther. NASA scientist Gavin Schmidt was asked on RealClimate: “What percentage of global warming is due to human causes vs. natural causes?” His answer is straightforward:
Over the last 40 or so years, natural drivers would have caused cooling, and so the warming there has been is caused by a combination of human drivers and some degree of internal variability. I would judge the maximum amplitude of the internal variability to be roughly 0.1 deg C over that time period, and so given the warming of ~0.5 deg C, I’d say somewhere between 80 to 120% of the warming. Slightly larger range if you want a large range for the internal stuff.
Absent the increasing GHGs, we probably would have cooled, since
- We’ve had a couple of big volcanoes.
- We’re just coming off “the deepest solar minimum in nearly a century.”.
- The underlying long-term trend had been cooling (see Human-caused Arctic warming overtakes 2,000 years of natural cooling, “seminal” study finds, see figure below).
The more important point is that the rapid increase in the human-driven component of the forcing are increasingly dwarfing the small, slow natural forcings, rendering them increasingly irrelevant (see “Humans boosting CO2 14,000 times faster than nature, overwhelming slow negative feedbacks“). In the Anthropocene Epoch, humankind’s destiny is in its hands.
Consider two DotEarth posts on “Andrew A. Lacis, the NASA climatologist whose 2005 critique of the United Nations climate panel was embraced by bloggers seeking to cast doubt on human-driven climate change” (Part I and Part II).
Then Lacis explained exactly what he meant:
Human-induced warming of the climate system is established fact….
My earlier criticism had been that the IPCC AR4 report was equivocating in not stating clearly and forcefully enough that human-induced warming of the climate system is established fact, and not something to be labeled as “very likely” at the 90 percent probability level.
The bottom line is that CO2 is absolutely, positively, and without question, the single most important greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. It acts very much like a control knob that determines the overall strength of the Earth’s greenhouse effect. Failure to control atmospheric CO2 is a bad way to run a business, and a surefire ticket to climatic disaster.
Doh! He thought the IPCC ‘consensus’ was some watered down, least-common denominator piece of wishy-washiness that understates our scientific understanding, which it is.
But the cultists aren’t interested in the science, of course.
- How carbon dioxide controls earth’s temperature; NASA’s Lacis: “There is no viable alternative to counteract global warming except through direct human effort to reduce the atmospheric CO2 level.”
- NASA: “We conclude that global temperature continued to rise rapidly in the past decade” and “there has been no reduction in the global warming trend of 0.15-0.20°C/decade that began in the late 1970s.”