Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Conservation Alert: Climate Legislation – Rest in Peace (and why)


Posting for: Donnie R. Dann

Volume 15 
Number 1                                                                                                                             
January 2011                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                    

In the current Congress, the American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES), passed the House of Representatives but never even came up for a vote in the Senate. This inaction took place against a background of: the worst environmental disaster in American history; the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon and resulting oil spill in the Gulf. Here are just a few other events from this past summer:


Notwithstanding these tragedies and more, climate legislation appears to be dead for the foreseeable future. Why? 98% of all professional climate scientists recognize global warming is happening and is caused by human activities. Pew Research Center tells us that 4 years ago close to 50% of Americans believed global warming is real and caused by human activity. In October 2010 it is down to 34 %. What accounts for this drop in the face of these world-wide events? Could the following partially explain it?

  • The Center for Responsive Politics reports that during the first six months of 2010 the fossil fuel industry spent $75 million lobbying Congress and outspent environmental organizations by 7 to 1
  • Koch Industries, a giant oil company and the second largest privately-held company in America, contributed $50 million to groups that work to oppose policies and regulations intended to fight global warming, and promote doubt. See Koch Industries: Secretly Funding the Climate Denial Machine
  • Overplaying the East Anglia computer hacking fiasco, where stolen emails from a single research center and concerning only a fraction of available data (hardly enough to overturn the entire body of climate science), portray this as “evidence” that the science of climate change is wrong
  • Alleging ‘Climategate’ to sow further doubt and suggest that the evidence demonstrating global warming is all part of some great hoax
  • Ironically, as a recent study from University of California, Berkeley suggests, the more severe the prediction, the greater the likelihood of disbelief!
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