Preach it, Senator.


Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse’s speech on Climate Change.

More than 95 percent of climate scientists are convinced that human carbon pollution is causing massive and unprecedented change to our atmosphere and oceans. You want to go with the five percent, and you think that’s a winning strategy?

Moreover, it turns out a lot of those five-percenters are on the payroll of the polluters.  You know that.  It’s public knowledge.  Some of those “payroll scientists” are the same people who denied acid rain, or the dangers of tobacco.

You still like those odds?  Those are the folks to whom you want to hitch your Republican wagons?  You’ve got to know that they aren’t telling the truth.  So where does this go?  What’s your end game?

Our planet has had a run of at least 800,000 years with levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between 170 and 300 ppm.  That’s measurement; not theory.   Eight hundred thousand years.  Homo sapiens have only been around for about 200,000 years, so that 800,000 years—8,000 centuries—takes you back a ways.  Eight hundred thousand years between 170 and 300 ppm, and in just the last 50 years we’ve blown out of that range, and have now hit 400 ppm and climbing.

And you want to be on the side of “nothing’s going on”?  Really?

Have you noticed the floods and wildfires and droughts and superstorms and tornadoes and blizzards and temperature records?  Have you noticed those warming, rising seas?  Have you noticed species invading new territory, and miles of dead pine forests in the Rockies, and Arctic sea ice disappearing?

Do you understand that carbon in the atmosphere gets absorbed by the sea, and that that is a law of science and is not debatable?  Do you understand that because they are absorbing the carbon the oceans are getting more acidic?  Thirty percent more acidic already and climbing?  Do you understand that’s a measurement, not a theory?

It’s one thing to be the party that stands against science.  Are you really also going to be the party that stands against measurement?

And do you know the measurement is showing that the ocean are not just becoming more acidic, they’re becoming more acidic at the fastest rate recorded in a geologic record of 50 million years?

Have you not heard about the coral reefs, those incubators of the ocean, bleaching out and dying off?  With almost twenty percent gone already worldwide?

If you’re a denier, look around.  Do you think the news is getting better for you?

Now, I’m already of the opinion that despite how much the majority protests, our government isn’t going to do a damn thing, so it’s up to us to change our lifestyles and encourage change in others (through protest, through divestment, and through peaceful pressure on companies (boycotts, letters, etc.), but I still appreciate the Senator trying and trying again to wake up his colleagues as to the seriousness of this threat to our species.

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