First, our warmest congratulations to Al Gore. The Nobel Prize is one of the world's great honors and, in our view, one that is extremely well-deserved.
But I'm conscious that the standing ovation Gore is enjoying today is not exactly unanimous. The climate change conversation has become polarized - and belligerent - over the last decade. And Al Gore - a politician who dared to address a controversial public issue outside the conventional political process - has become a lightning rod for some hyper-political criticism. How can we get people from all points on the political spectrum to celebrate Gore's Nobel Prize without feeling that they are sacrificing their own cherished political interests?
Part 6 in our “Uncover DSCOVR” series featuring science writer Mitchell Anderson
Like any government body, NASA has to decide where is best to spend it’s finite resources. These decisions aren’t easy but they are essential to ensure that the funds entrusted by the taxpayer are allocated in a coherent and thoughtful way.
I have a confession to make. In a weird sort of way, I actually find it kind of fun to whale on various U.S. Republicans–like James “Flat-Earth-Doesn't-Only-Refer- to-Oklahoma” Inhofe–for their out-of-touch stances on global warming.
But in truth, as I recently surveyed the various presidential candidates' stances on global warming–helpfully compiled here–I actually found considerable grounds for optimism.
Even when it came to the Republicans…no, especially when it came to the Republicans.
They say that the pattern of humidity increases in various parts of the world resembles that projected by computer models of man-made global warming. Water vapour is a greenhouse gas, and it is thought that having more of it in the air could amplify temperature rise. The major report released earlier this year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that this amplification was the largest “positive feedback” mechanism they had identified.
Many of the recent attempts to discredit the science of human-induced climate change have come in the form of challenging Vice-President Al Gore to a public debate. This, of course, is a big red herring when you consider that it is not “Al Gore's science,” but instead the conclusion drawn through years of research by thousands of experts.
However, by tagging the scientific evidence that human activity in the form of burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and gas) is causing global warming as “Al Gore's science,” right-wing think tanks and fossil fuel friendly front groups have effectively politicized an issue of science (at least in the United States).
A soon-to-be-released UN report says runaway economic growth has pushed greenhouse-gas emissions to dangerous levels much faster than previously estimated, and instead of reaching the threshold within a decade, new research indicates it was actually crossed two years ago. The findings will highlight the perils of giving economic growth priority over efforts to curtail global warming.
Why would the industry leader in fuel-efficient cars take such a reckless path amid growing awareness of global warming? Because there’s a lot more money to be made if Toyota can slow innovation in Detroit and sustain gas-guzzling.
Democracy is utterly dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed. In promoting climate change denial (and often denying their responsibility for doing so) industry has done more than endanger the environment. It has undermined democracy.
There is a vast difference between putting forth a point of view, honestly held, and intentionally sowing the seeds of confusion. Free speech does not include the right to deceive. Deception is not a point of view. And the right to disagree does not include a right to intentionally subvert the public awareness.