Of course, that was the age of Reagan and then Bush Sr., and those were days when political and social consciousness were largely absent. There was seeming skepticism towards anything remotely progressive, because that was around the time that "liberal" became a bad word.
What astonished me and, frankly, disappointed me, was just how quickly and easily people would dismiss what was overwhelmingly the general consensus within the scientific community - namely, that human activity was responsible for the dramatically rising temperatures.
Fast forward a quarter of a century and more, and now, there is absolutely nothing surprising about prominent politicians who readily admit that they are in no positions to speak on the science aspect of this issue nevertheless systematically taking it upon themselves to dismiss the overwhelming scientific consensus, often citing doubts by other research (usually funded heavily by many of the same big polluters that are most targeted by tighter environmental regulations).
It looked promising there, for a while. Shortly after Hurricane Katrina, President George W. Bush admitted that there was apparently something to this global warming/climate change thing, and more and more political conservatives were increasingly admitting the same. This became even more pronounced following yet another massive storm that devastated a region, this time much closer to home for me, when Hurricane Sandy destroyed much of the Jersey Shore and parts of New York. Many Republicans began to realize that this was not just hot air (pardon the pun).
Still, there was plenty of skepticism. For all the steps forward with politicians (mostly but not exclusively Republicans) finally coming around and realizing how urgent this issue is, there are others who make a point of denying the science of climate change. Sometimes, they resort to the same kind of mockery that this issue was met with back in the 1980's. There was Republican nominee Mitt Romney, suggesting that he had no interest in lowering the levels of the ocean during his acceptance speech. There is Donald Trump now, the presumptive Republican nominee, mocking President Obama for his belief that the biggest threat facing America today is climate change.
Yet, despite their refusal to believe, and every attempt that American conservatives make to try and politicize this issue, and despite the major media basically complying with this and making this a political issue (as if it warranted no scientific basis), the fact of the matter is that American political conservatives largely stand alone in the world when they reject science and turn a deaf ear to arguments calling for greater action. This, it turn, leads to inaction, which is nothing new in Washington. Inaction is what we have come to expect and, apparently, accept, for our politicians.
Environmental activists were adamant in trying to force action decades ago, back in the 1980's and 1990's, suggesting we were fast approaching the tipping point beyond which some detrimental impact would be unavoidable. Apparently, that came and went, and we are beginning to see what all of those doubts and inactions have led to. We had the second mildest winter on record this past year, and it was second next to the winter of 2011-12. At different points of the globe, we have some of the most extreme weather. Just in the past month, we had record floods in Texas, and unbelievable fires in Alberta. For years, the West Coast had a massive drought, although we have nonetheless seen flooding in other regions, including by the Mississippi River, as well as in Europe (and also Texas, most recently). And some islands in the Pacific are under threat of going under water entirely. Of ceasing to exist.
Now, here are more dire headlines that really should get us to worrying, if we can forget about celebrity news and other fluff that matters not at all in the lives of the vast majority of people's lives. Here is a story about how we have now reached one full year - that means twelve consecutive months - of record hot temperatures.
Again, what many people do not understand here is that we are talking about global warming. I remember one guy telling me, after we experienced a massive winter storm back in 2003, that the cold and snow "shoots the shit" (his words) out of the "global warming theory" (again, his words). I reminded him that it is not because it is a cold or snowy day in Pomona, New York (which is where we were during this storm and conversation) that it somehow disproves a trend that is a worldwide phenomenon. I told him that he should not bother criticizing what he never stopped to even try to begin to understand.
One simple thing that most detractors do not understand is that global warming/climate change does not mean it always gets hotter, all of the time, all over the world. After all, we have seasons, and winter always follows autumn, which always follows summer. Of course, the temperatures should be expected to cool at that point, and that does not disprove global warming. Nor does bringing a snowball into a government meeting. What the scientists actually projected was more extreme weather, and that we certainly have experienced in the last two decades. At least, if you have been paying attention, then it is hard to ignore this trend.
And now this, with a year's worth of months that each set the record as the hottest months in history?
The detractors have been wrong before, and we just cannot afford to take the gamble in the off chance that they might be right, that maybe all of this has been blown out of proportion, especially when that very denial is fueled, almost quite literally, by greed and ambition to obtain more short term profits.
Here is the article:
April was the warmest month ever recorded on Earth: NASA International Business Times by Alex Garofalo May 14, 2016: