Senate Votes on Climate Change

Today the U.S. Senate voted that climate change was real, not a hoax. The vote was 98 – 1. Even Senator Inhofe, who I often ridicule here, voted affirmative. The lone nay vote was Roger Wicker (R–MS).

It is hard for me to swallow that people can still say that “climate change” is a hoax. What evidence do they need? Fourteen of the fifteen hottest years in history were in this century. We went over 400 ppm for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, measured on Mauna Kea. This is the highest reading in 800,000 years. There are people that say this is all coincidence.

Inhofe says that “man is arrogant” for thinking he can change the climate. Man doesn’t need to be arrogant to mess things up. Man messes things up by accident and ignorance alone. Look at the great Pacific Garbage Patch, a vast swirling vortex north of Hawaii.

During his first 1,000-mile crossing of the gyre, Moore calculated half a pound for every 100 square meters of debris on the surface, and arrived at 3 million tons of plastic. His estimate, it turned out, was corroborated by U.S. Navy calculations. It was the first of many staggering figures he would encounter. And it only represented visible plastic: an indeterminate amount of larger fragments get fouled by enough algae and barnacles to sink. In 1998, Moore returned with a trawling device, such as Sir Alistair Hardy had employed to sample krill, and found, incredibly, more plastic by weight than plankton on the ocean’s surface.

Weisman, Alan (2007-07-10). The World Without Us (p. 123). St. Martin’s Press. Kindle Edition.

So man can foul up the ocean by dumping stuff into it, from ships, through rivers, through leaking landfills.

What stunned Charles Moore most was learning where it came from. In 1975, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences had estimated that all oceangoing vessels together dumped 8 million pounds of plastic annually. More recent research showed the world’s merchant fleet alone shamelessly tossing around 639,000 plastic containers every day. But littering by all the commercial ships and navies, Moore discovered, amounted to mere polymer crumbs in the ocean compared to what was pouring from the shore.

Weisman, Alan (2007-07-10). The World Without Us (pp. 121-123). St. Martin’s Press. Kindle Edition.

639,000 plastic containers dumped into the ocean every day! Senator Inhofe, I would think you agree that we are definitely fouling up the ocean. What makes you think we’re not fouling up the atmosphere as well? Is it because you can see plastic floating, but you can’t see the carbon dioxide? You believe in God, right, so you do believe in things you can’t see.

We’re messing with the planet big time, and it’s about time our leadership recognizes it and takes responsibility for it on our behalf. After all, they represent us. It was refreshing to see Obama stand up for science yesterday in the State of the Union Address, and it was encouraging to see the Senate vote today.

Pretty soon the deniers will simply look ridiculous in their affirmations, as  ridiculous as a medical doctor in a 1955 commercial telling us we should smoke Camel cigarettes.

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