In the present information age, many have come to realize that climate change denial is an organized effort supported by fossil fuel lobbies, the Koch brothers, and conservative think tanks. Drill into the opposition research and we discover it’s underwritten by industries that oppose the regulation of CO2 emissions, the byproduct of their financial and political ambitions. Always!

But don’t accept my word. Consider that 194 states and the European Union have signed the Paris Climate Agreement and that climatologists are in unanimous accord, less a minuscule percentage of paid detractors. Who else accepts the reality of climate change? A small sampling includes every branch of America’s armed forces, the Pentagon, The American Association for the Advancement of Science, The American Geophysical Union, The American Medical Association, The Geological Society of America, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society. Those who wish to see a “handful of plucky billionaires foil a plot by a million scientists bent on ruining our lives by saving the planet” should take a moment and honestly reconsider what is at stake.

Extinction as a natural occurrence is one thing, a half-dozen species per year, but today’s rate of species loss is astronomical, literally thousands of times the normal historical rate. Nearly 70 percent of all known plant species, 33 percent of birds, 40 percent of honey bees, virtually all large primates, coral reefs and most sea life are at immediate risk. These figures offer a snapshot of a present, dynamic reality. Global temperatures are on a steady rise, as are sea levels, and we are witnessing increases in extreme weather events, arctic and rainforest fires, and over-harvested oceans chocking on islands of garbage. Our planet is tiny with less than a 4,000-mile radius. The atmosphere is a vapor that clings to the tree tops, thinner in relation to the earth than an onion’s skin. The byproducts of human industrialization and population growth, a geological blink, have altered earth’s environment far more than all natural occurrences during the previous 50 million years. In terms of our future, the likely scenario is grim.

The loss of honey bees, the planet’s most important species, means a loss of pollination for vital foods and flowers. The loss of birds means a horrific increase in insects and cessation of nature’s music. The loss of permafrost means a release of ancient bacteria. The destruction of old growth ecosystems, some older than human existence, exacts an incalculable cost on planetary health. The reality that will unfold in this century offers mass migrations from unlivable regions, severe food shortages, increases in violence, and a general collapse of order, already evident in Latin America, sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia where the World Bank estimates 143 million climate change-driven migrants over the next 30 years. We have reached the tipping point, and that is why I urge everyone to remove climate change denial from the political landscape and unite around informed counter measures.

It takes courage to challenge a local consensus, particularly absent direct experience of empty grocery shelves and untreatable illnesses, but beyond the political sphere the challenge of our times is to better understand and address climate change. For that I recommend our local libraries, including Copper Mountain College’s Greenleaf Library. Library personnel can open portals to unbiased and ethical research. I also recommend visiting with your neighbors at the Morongo Basin Conservation Association. Sharing doubts and raising questions is what we Americans do. I believe that we must give the benefit of our combined talents to saving the planet, for its own sake and that of our descendants.

 

(36) comments

wingside

To paraphrase P. T. Barnum," There is a fool born every hour and everyone a Democrat global warming expert.

bill jenkins

perhaps you could tell us why republicans are such experts on climate hoaxes.

don krouse

I completely agree that financial motives are behind climate change denial. Greed and fear rank high on the emotion scale when considering financial strategies. Greed usually precedes fear. Talk abounds about 401k and IRA investment plans in posts responding to previous climate change letters. Satisfaction is frequently tied to seeing profits no matter how they are gained. Greed is the stronger emotion among the deniers. “Unleash our energy potential”, says one writer. Well, I agree with that comment, but not when the focus is on fossil fuels.

Thanks, Greg, for taking the time to stand up as a reasoned voice. By writing, you lift up others in our community who agree. We are in the majority even though we do not have the financial power of the large corporate and affiliated interests. We are instead a movement of people.

Your invitation to people to visit libraries is a good one. Read books from different standpoints, (not just FaceBook posts,) then weigh the evidence and make a decision. Opinion is not evidence. I recommend Winner of the Pulitzer Prize; The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History, by Elizabeth Kolbert.

Alfred Whitehurst

Very well stated Greg - thanks for posting this!

TwoToeJoe

Sorry, Mr. Gilbert, but the funding for climate change skeptics is far less than those who perpetrate and support the climate change alarmist ideology. Guess who pays for all the bad science? The taxpayers and corporate sponsorship mostly pay for it and it is not cheap. The US Government alone has spent more than $32.5 billion between 1989 and 2009 just on climate studies and it has been steadily increasing funding since. Additionally $79 billion was spent for related climate change technology research, foreign aid and tax breaks for “green energy”. In 2016, $18.4 billion was spent on energy subsidies with $11 billion going for renewable energy and $3 billion to energy efficiency. I will not even mention the billions received by our treasury thru government taxation placed upon the fossil fuel industries and the consumers. The fossil fuels lobby, the Koch brothers, and conservative think tanks spend their own money in order to finance their “opposition research”. The byproduct and political ambitions of those who rely on taxpayer funded climate change programs far exceeds the fossil fuel lobby. Apparently if you take money from the private sector to fund research your work is inherently biased. If you get multimillion-dollar grants from Uncle Sam, it is as pure as the freshly fallen snow. After three decades of “research” the only reasonable “solution” is for the world to stop using fossil fuels which is like saying that we should stop growing food. Just who are the ones doing the research? Probably some of the ones you mentioned which are financed by lavish federal grants and substantial corporate funding in order to conduct the climate change research. Academics love the “free” government grants and corporate sponsorships for climate change studies. Especially since they were discovered conducting absurd research using shrimp on treadmills and finding out which gender spends more time playing with Barbie dolls and have since sought more secure "financial motives". Now the focus is on more important scientific studies conducted by a “million scientist” dedicated to such novel concepts as “saving our planet”. Common sense would dictate that a few dozen of our brilliant scientist could be studying climate change while the other 999,976 should be “directing their combined talents to saving our planet” by doing research on cheaper and more energy efficient resources. A zero emissions/economical/environmental friendly energy source such as a hydrogen fusion reactor would be accepted by every denier, skeptic, and alarmist alike and could keep them busy for a while. A “consensus” of elite climate change academics, scientist, and politicians have been making numerous ridiculous apocalyptic predictions and “doomsday scenarios” for decades and is the common practice of those who rely on "emotional" fear to seek political power and influence. All have failed miserably yet they keep repeating the same misinformation over and over again and expect everyone to believe in the madness. Doing so creates massive credibility issues upon the whole climate debate. Had their forecasts been correct we wouldn’t be here now having this discussion. The most important argument against climate alarmism is the proposed solutions such as the New Green Deal and the Cap and Trade policies which are economic disasters and is the perfect example of the government "greed" and the "financial motives" behind the climate change movement. A robust discussion about our energy future is needed but that discussion is usually slanted in favor of the climate activist and their propaganda. We need to have a serious discussion about our energy future but many people have an aversion towards dissenting opinions and simply dismiss it as a lack of intelligence with no discussion. Libraries can open portals to biased and unethical information as well as unbiased and ethical information unless someone has purged opposing viewpoints. "Sharing doubts and raising questions is what we Americans do" and is what we Americans have always done. Let it be known, Mr. Gilbert that this skeptic has never received a dime from any fossil fuel lobby or the Koch brothers. But I am sure your bias and negative opinions towards wall street and capitalism would never influence your ideological support for climate activism would it?

horsehouse

That is a nice and lengthy rebuttal that supports the original premise that financial motives dominate the climate change debate. The rebuttal says nothing about the negative effects of fossil fuels on living organisms, including humans. It is all about financial considerations. Oh there was an amusing reference to shrimp on treadmills and their preferences for Barbie Dolls being funded by taxpayers. I’m confident they are stressed after the workout. Furthermore, stopping the use of fossil fuels is not the same as not growing food as alleged.

I’ll gladly go along with more focused funding for efficient and non-carbon producing energy like sun, wind, and yes hydrogen fusion. Yes, dedicating the majority of federally funded research to the discovery/improvement of new technologies gets my vote. Then there will be protesting that it is socialism even though private industry will gladly use that research for their own benefit (I’m okay with that too.) The new technologies will get more attention from the fossil fuel industries when they are persistently pushed to produce efficient and carbon neutral technology to replace their profits. That also sounds okay (from one who would still be accused of being a socialist, oh don’t forget being an elite).

Maybe if the topic was not called climate change, it could be renamed “the elimination of toxic pollutants that are killing species and environments.” I’m fairly convinced that everything starts at the bottom of the food chain with the little creatures flying in the air and swimming in water that die due to pollution and temperature changes. Their absence leaves the next species up the food chain without adequate food eventually causing more die off. The cycle moves higher in the food chain to the large species. When pollination of plants collapses and krill is scare in the oceans that is when the deniers will still be blaming it on democrats and socialists because most of what deniers did was to resist changing something that is changeable. Why wait? Oh that’s right; political loyalty no matter what the result.

I can be called a skeptic because I am open to new information that would refute that species are dying off. If on the other hand I refuted a dominant scientific position that species are not dying off then I would be a denier. Living at this elevation means that rising sea levels are not going to drop my home into the ocean, but dilution of salinity and other chemical balances of the ocean from increased fresh water is a problem. That impacts ocean currents and can seriously change weather patterns here in the hi desert. Try ignoring a rise your body temperature by 4 degrees and see what happens. Yes, maybe the earth is going through a cyclical change that nobody can stop, but we certainly don’t need to hurry it up any more than we would provoke a dangerous fever.

It is stunning to see the suggestion that libraries might be purging opposing viewpoints. Now that would be a conspiracy to get riled up about. Bring on the evidence, please. I’d be by your side for that fight.

The final slap at Mr. Gilbert is to arrogantly purport to know Mr. Gilbert’s complete feelings about Wall Street and capitalism. I’m willing to bet that Mr. Gilbert has a retirement plan that relies on our economic system, but then I may be exhibiting arrogance too. Maybe he invests in socially responsible companies! This takes us back to the original premise that it is all about financial motives. Thank you Mr. Denier for enhancing Mr. Gilbert’s argument.

BBB

So TTJ, the folks in coal country weren't influenced by emotional fear in making thier decision to support Trump at the ballot box? Anyone regularly reading these blogs knows that you and others are motivated by the emotional fear of losing access to firearms. Emotinal fear is natural, citing its presence fails to enhance your position on CC.

I agree, robust discussions are needed, but worrying about "propaganda" at this point seems silly. Can you support fracking? What propaganda has been used to diminish

this process? Feeling overwhelmed as a climate denier is understandable, yet using the protection of capitalism as a reason to keep the status quo is an empty position. Big oil received 14.6 billion in production subsidies during 2015-16. Sounds a bit socialist.

horsehouse

👍

horsehouse

Ad you thought you were the only one with a big mouth, LOL.

Mike

Wow, what a rebuttal TwotoeJoe! I’ll save it to my Good Stuff file.

bill jenkins

i have yet to hear a cogent argument, from the deniers, as to the reason for global warning. that is if they agree it exists.

Branson Hunter

Wow two toes that was an incredible thesis. If you have time can you do a little research and debunk those who believe the world is round.

horsehouse

Well said Branson

TwoToeJoe

Sure my rebuttal stated nothing about the negative effects of fossil fuels. Did Mr. Gilbert state any positive effects of fossil fuels? Do we need a discussion regarding the positive and negative effects of fossil fuels? I am sure there are both positive and negative effects of the use of fossil fuels. If the negative effects of using fossil fuels simply outweigh the positives I am sure restrictions should be immediately imposed. Evidently the positives of using fossil fuels must outweigh the negatives since there are no restrictions other than attempts to make it unaffordable. To suggest restrictions on the production and use of fossil fuels makes as much sense as placing restrictions on food production. I have no quarrels with non-carbon producing energy and look forward for the day when it becomes competitive and overtakes the fossil fuel industry especially if it results in more affordable and cleaner energy. Then those who complain about "Big Oil" and quote “doomsday scenarios” could then simply refocus their attention back towards "greed" and "obscene profits" of "Big Green". It was stunning to see someone claim that I suggested that "libraries might be purging opposing viewpoints". Taking statements out of context is the hallmark of any conspiracy theorist. Mr. Gilbert has expressed his feelings about Wall Street and Capitalism clearly in numerous discussions, opinions and letters to the editor.

Folks in coal country are influenced by emotional fear when the means of supporting their families are threatened and that fear does tend to reflect in elections. That emotional fear is real and not based on fake "doomsday scenarios". Fabricated "emotional fear" is never natural and only works on the gullible. I do not worry about propaganda. The ones who worry about propaganda are the ones who are exposed when the truth is uncovered. Anyone who regularly reads the comments in these discussions know the ones who rely on empty positions.

Examples:

The claim that "Big oil received 14.6 billion in production subsidies during 2015-16."is a false statement.

"According to a Congressional Budget Office testimony, roughly three-fourths of the projected cost of tax preferences for energy in 2016 was for renewable energy and energy efficiency. An estimated $10.9 billion was directed toward renewable energy; $2.7 billion, went to energy efficiency or electricity transmission. Fossil fuels accounted for most of the remaining cost of energy-related tax preferences—an estimated $4.6 billion."

https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/52521-energytestimony.pdf

"Can you support fracking?" Yes. And guess who is funding the Antifracking activists.

"Putin Funding Antifracking Campaign"

https://www.newsweek.com/intelligence-putin-funding-anti-fracking-campaign-547873

BBB

Billions in "tax" subsidies for oil production. Big Oil is a mature industry, while renewable energy is a new industry. Does Big Oil need tax breaks to make a profit? Hardly

My kin crawled out of the dark holes in Ky. and W. Va over a 100 years ago and never looked back. Trump used the coal miners for his Punch and Judy shows to rile folks up, but the miners are still losing ground. Murray coal is filing for bankruptcy, and will leave the federal government to pick up the tab for thousands of retired miners on pensions. Very few working miners want their children to work underground. Just ask some. Plan your next swing back east and visit Harlan, Ky., you'll discover a wonderful life in coal country.

Yeah, fracking along I-70 and the Colorado River makes sense, until it fouls up our source of drinking water.

Branson Hunter

Two toes, your passions and economic arguments demolishing responsibilities for fossil fuels is noted. Huh, apocalyptic fires for the second year in California, flooding to tornadoes or hurricanes on apocalyptic levels what's the changing of each season. Who dare deny this? Humankind is in a struggle against nature and itself. Simply put, us humans are out of control and we cannot govern ourselves. Now I'm going to have a bowl of organic granola and a banana... .

Mike

Old saying, "You Are What You Eat"

Mike

Branson, Craker Jacks are eco-friendly too!

bill jenkins

question: why don't deniers offer a viable alternative to climate change?

answere: there is none.

Mike

I don’t get it. If atmospheric CO2 levels are so problematic, why are climate change soothsayers always standing in the way of solar and wind farm construction? Someone tell me why that isn’t stupid.

horsehouse

You have a point, Mike. Wouldn’t it be great if all the parking lots in front of Home Depot, Walmart, Stater Bro’s., Vons and other big parking lots provided shade while generating solar power. School districts have done it all over S. Cal. Industrial warehouse roofs might work too instead of building in places far from users and often in endangered wildlife environments.

Mike

Dams too.

Mike

By the way boys and girls, electric vehicles now come in every shape and size. Do you have yours yet? They are in greater and greater demand and are quickly making the filthy fossil fuel business obsolete. Given that, any arguing about mans contribution to climate change would seem somewhat pointless to me, certainly not worth loosing friends over.

Mike

Even if your friends are no good, low down, dirty, rotten, thin whiskered Democrats.

BBB

Right Mike.....it would talk your boy a week to grow a five o'clock shadow.

bill jenkins

Neanderthals were heavily bearded.

Mike

Seems to me climate change activist’s time and energy would be better spent selling consumers on the advantages of owning electric vehicles. Capitalism is after all “The Cowboy Way”.

horsehouse

Made it a priority to buy a hybrid last time. Again Mike we seem to have some similar thoughts and might be narrowing the gap. My next car will be electric and I’m saving for the Model Y Tesla. If i cant afford that I’ve been checking on CarMax for electric as backup option. I have solar panels, took out my propane stove and oven. Saving for an electric water heater to do away with propane completely. It is a process don’t you think. Everyone cannot make all these changes instantly but should we ignore warnings and do nothing by just doing the same old stuff endlessly? The point is that if we change our goals we can eventually achieve them even if we are low down dirty thin wiskered democrats. I resemble that comment.

Mike

Yeah, like father like son, BBB. Bet your daughter could even do better.

BBB

You're such a silly goose Mike. Your boy refers to our wonderful chief executive. You didn't know he had electrolysis in the 80's? It's no fun finding wiskers in a orange make up sponge. My apologies to Mr. Gilbert for diverging from CC. I'm out....enough silliness.

Mike

@ Bill:

We're they?

Mike

Ok, were they?

Mike

Electric vehicles are, efficiently, cleanly and economically hauling everything from freight to families all around the world.

Think about it, no oil changes, no tune-ups, no smog checks, no gas stations… ever! So what’s not to like.

Grandma’s four door sedan does 0-60 in 3 seconds flat and it does a hundred and sixty in first gear. “Grandma, can I borrow your car tonight?”

Mike

Oh, by the way, electric vehicles do not use petroleum for wars to be fought over. Thought that was worth mentioning.

Mike

To complete a transition from fossil fuels, electric motors will eventually replace literally billions and billions of combustion engines. It will require a tremendous amount of new generation just to power those motors, never mind what it will take to convert the world’s homes, factories, and mills etc. to all electric (I wonder how much juice a “Gold Medallion” steel mill might need?)

Much of the transmission and distribution systems are already in place but may need reconductoring. So how much electricity will it take? I don’t know but don’t you think it would be at least two or three times the amount we produce today? I don’t think your roof top plan is near grand enough, horsehouse, no matter how innovative.

Green generation promises to end the era of devastating oil spills and mountain top removal to get at coal. But cleaner energy needs land and it seems those squawking loudest about the effects of pollution are the ones trying to prevent anything from being done about it. Fortunately, they will not succeed!

The transition is well underway and it’s gaining momentum. Special interests cannot stop it; such is the nature of free market capitalism. Socialists need to either get in step or get out of the freaking way if they really care about our environment. That's what I think.

Branson Hunter

You're making progress Mike.

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