Rebutting Conservative Disinformation Over a Cato Institute Report
"Global warming is indeed real, and human activity has been a contributor since 1975." -The Cato Institute
Image Credits: Tom Raftery / Wiki Commons
So I see today The Cato Institute sponsored some statistics which will carry the warm bucket of spit for the conservative cabal.
While some people and ideas coming out of The Cato are interesting and we share some of their bent, one must ask in what service such skepticism by The Cato be used?
While it is always good to remind everyone that statistics (even those used by the President as evidence of what we all know is an overwhelming truth) need to be looked at with a cocked eye and not taken at face or full value, we find it somewhat questionable that Cato's author Paul C. "Chip" Knappenberger and company did not know it would be used exactly the way the report has been by various media outlets: to stoke senialist fires and thus bolster the positions of the pollutionists. Cato keeps its distance and puts out factually true data which can then be used for partisan purposes.
Here is my simple response to the conservative media gloating over the fact that they feel they can rub this selective and hyperbolic reporting and somewhat disingenuous research in the nose of everyone (aka, those who have the future generations of the earth in mind): you are not a skeptic, you are a denialist. And so I like to refer to such believers in intelligent design in schools and skeptics of climate change as "senileists."
In an attempt to discredit the science behind ongoing climate change the conservative media makes a headline out of the recent RATE of change in terms of warming trend only. So, Ok. Go ahead and pick and choose only that data which supports your already made up minds, Conservatives and Republicans!
Let's get a few things clear that the folks pimping the Cato report for their own agendas don't:
1. The overall change over the last century years has been historic, comparable to few other events in the history of the earth. That the rate has slowed doesn't mean that the overall momentum and overall change won't be catastrophic. Even though the article and some news outlets have used the paper published by the Cato as another gotcha for the anti-science crowd, even The Cato's own website states this:
"Global warming is indeed real, and human activity has been a contributor since 1975."
-The Cato Institute
But you don't see that opinion trumpted in the reguritation of the paper at various media outlets, do you? No, sometimes the tone is gloating and the implication is quite the opposite. Disinformation, it's what's for dinner.
2. They stick to only data about recent warming trends rather than looking at a bigger picture
The words "global warming" are a bit of a red herring, really. The concept of the earth getting hotter is not really what we are all concerned about in the end.
Climate change, I think should be the proper term to discuss these issues since that encompasses all of the potentially startling changes in climates all around the world which scientists have amply documented due to a trend in higher temperatures and other radical changes for the whole globe. Sure, change is inevitable but it has clearly accelerated to a degree that could be catastrophic. So, what are you gonna do about it? Try to discredit the science with some disinformation disigned to reassure your viewers that their partisan approach to big business uber alles is right? Got it.
3. The Blame Game
Critics of climate change scientists focus on the issue of "It's not man made, climates change anyway etc etc". That seems to me simply a straw man argument that implies they lack the moral courage to take responsibility for environmental problems created by industry and massive consumption.
This is because their greed and need to be part of a crowd to feel safe and enjoy material success without consequence outweighs their conscience. Nonetheless, no one cares about that straw man.
The climate is changing radically no matter who is to blame. That it is obvious that man has a role to play in its cause is probable. But even if it is 100% natural, if it causes catastrophies shouldn't we take steps to prevent harms like inadequate levees in New Orleans anyway? In fact, shouldn't we prioritize smart steps for a sustainable future over the short term profit motive of polluting corporations.
More importantly, we should be motivated as a society to do what we need to do to prioritize and fix things for future generations in terms of pollution and sustainability anyway even if there was no climate change at all. Declaiming responsibility for lifting a finger about these issues is a playground tactic --prove it! you can't to my satisfaction, you do it too!-- that conservatives use to absolve themselves from doing anything about it. In this case the Cato Institute are their lackeys.
But now I've fixed that for ya, Internet. Can we keep it fixed for, like, at least ten minutes, ok guys?