October 2016

The Republican and Democratic conventions occurred during the current early stages of climate change that are requiring costly adaptations and, with business as usual, will yield extremely dangerous environmental damage. Convention participants could hardly avoid the coast-to-coast heat wave affecting 100 million residents with above average temperatures which occurred during the conventions. This is a continuation of June’s 14th straight month of record heat. But of course, participants may feel that Earth’s climate is secondary to politics.

Question: What does Science have to do with Politics?

Answer: A recent commentary on poses the question more specifically: “Do the presidential candidates recognize what science can do, and cannot do?” And science poses 20 questions for candidates. And of course there is the often posed question “Is the extreme weather natural or climate change?” (NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth says, “It’s always a combination of both nowadays.”)

For those who have studied my previous Conversations, I remind you of the climate change science and its importance in our citizens’ habitat:

The human-caused energy imbalance on our planet is caused by the natural physical laws governing an enhanced atmospheric greenhouse effect. The resultant 1.3oC(2.3oF) average global surface temperature increase is largely due to the 44% increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide. Penn State’s Professor Alley has called CO2 the control knob on the heat trapping of Earth’s outgoing radiation by water vapor greenhouse gas.  Atmospheric water vapor responds promptly (about 10 days) to atmospheric changes; the carbon dioxide cycles of plant growth and decay is long, on the order of centuries for our forests. It follows that the global warming caused by today’s CO2 emission increases cannot be reduced in our lifetime and must be endured by our children and grandchildren. Planet Earth is responding to this warming with glacial ice melts and sea level rise.

I believe it should be clear that government policies on climate science will be important.

My Alex Cook has a series of publications relating to climate change. Beginning in 2007, you have his statement, “Earth will respond to well-established laws. She may no longer endure the exploitation, the greed, and the arrogance of those societies that lack the collective intelligence and morality to safeguard the existence of themselves and their descendants.” “There must be a general search for leadership. These leaders must have intelligence, education, and have access to regulatory and financial resources.”

The political platforms and candidate speeches were fashioned to influence the votes of a public that is believed to have doubtful knowledge of this climate science. The Democratic platform accepts the 97% scientific consensus on climate change. Delegates were educated by a 5-minute video of our planet’s response to the human-caused global warming, including droughts, floods, sea level rise, and extreme weather by James Cameron of the “Years of Living Dangerously” programs.

Hillary’s speech included a statement of belief in the science and promised programs of support of renewable energy with job creation. She also states  “Climate change is an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time. It threatens our economy, our national security, and our children’s health and futures.” She promises to deliver on the pledge at Paris climate conference and states, “I won’t let anyone take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing a clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.”

The Republican platform ignores the science and evidence of climate change. Trump states “Climate Change is a fraud”. He promises to annul the Paris climate conference pledge.

The voting choice is clear for those who understand the climate change of Earth’s environmental responses to the global warming resulting from the increased human-caused heat trapping in Nature’s atmospheric greenhouse effect. The increasing costs of adaptation and the dangerous irreversible climate for our children and grandchildren make it essential that we give prompt attention and world leadership to address civilization’s most dangerous environmental problem.

The accompanying photographs are ongoing examples of the responses that might be expected of electoral choices.