Friday, May 12, 2017

WPA climate science vs. right-wing climate science dismissal

The following photos show the WPA's Ocean Climate Survey Project in Louisiana, ca. 1935-1943, sponsored by the U.S. Weather Bureau. All photos courtesy of the National Archives.

In 2013, Donald Trump (our current Republican president) said "Global warming is a total, and very expensive, hoax!"

In 2015, it was alleged that the administration of Florida Governor Rick Scott (a Republican) "ordered [Florida Department of Environmental Protection] employees, contractors and volunteers not to use the terms 'climate change' and 'global warming' in official communications."

In 2015, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (a Republican) asked President Obama not to talk about climate change during an upcoming Obama visit to his state.

In 2016, it was reported that "References to climate change, rising temperatures and the human activities that cause them have been removed recently from a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources web page." Wisconsin is led by Governor Scott Walker (a Republican).

Last month, President Trump's Environmental Protection Agency, led by Scott Pruitt (a Republican), "removed most climate change information from its website."

Isn't it amazing that, 80 years after the WPA engaged in climate science, the political right dismisses climate science as useless and a scam; and also tries to forbid any discussion about climate change and global warming? This is in-your-face devolution.

Most of this climate science dismissal and suppression has been done to curry favor with fossil fuel billionaires, in the hopes of securing campaign donations. And, in return for those donations, Republicans create public policies that pamper the billionaires and burden the rest of us (clean-up costs, higher incidences of cancer, contaminated water, mercury in fish, etc.). This part of the global warming equation is easy to understand; at its core, it's simply bribery that benefits both parties - a game that has existed for thousands of years. The harder part to understand, is why tens of millions of Americans are going along with it, perpetually voting for billionaire-backed candidates year after year... essentially submitting to the billionaires and saying, "Yes, master. Whatever you say master. I worship you master. I will drink contaminated water for you master."

Of course, the Democratic Party isn't helping matters much by boldly declaring, "We'll fight for the little guy!" while simultaneously receiving truck loads of money from white collar criminals, corporate slime balls, and Wall Street sociopaths. A lot of people, understandably, aren't inspired by that sort of two-faced behavior.

What a mess. We desperately need New Deal II.


  1. What's the difference between a scientist that is an ernest seeker of cracking the mysteries of how the universe behaves in order to better control those forces for the betterment of mankind and a Malthusian crackpot that simply wants to blame population growth (especially those who aren't white Anglo-Americans) as the problem of the environment much as the same loopy curmudgeons blame refugees escaping the destruction of nations by the economic warfare of the Geopolitical hell of the London/Wall St. Axis for the economic woes caused by the same "economic royalists" FDR denounced? On one hand, you often complain of the lack of work for people, yet you seem to take the side of the radical corporate backed environmentalist movement that is notorious for using lawsuits to drag construction projects out to absurd lengths of time and making them prohibitively expensive. A recent project to construct a badly needed light rail system in Marin and Sonoma counties here in California utilizing an old abandoned freight railroad ROW comes to mind and the problems of financing it on top of the added problem of constant environmental based lawsuits to delay and possibly prevent it from even getting built due to the legal costs. How can we promote FDR's vision of putting people first and cheer on an utopian environmental religion that blames everything wrong on people itself?

    1. I don't too much about environmental lawsuits that delay construction projects, although I know it's a frequent issue. On the other hand, I saw my home county (Anne Arundel County, Maryland) torn to shreds by developers. They bulldozed so many wooded areas to put in new housing developments and condos, over many decades, that it was really sickening. And in my home community, all the wooded areas I played in as a kid are gone, replaced with as many homes as they could cram in. But my main concern with this particular blog post was carbon emissions, and how Republicans think higher and higher concentrations of CO2 are not a problem at all, and shouldn't even be discussed.

  2. If Al Gore had prefaced his silly CGI movie with the caveat "Hi. I'm Al Gore. The hedge fund that I'm a partner with in London, Generation Investment Management LLP expects to make a killing off of carbon swaps if I can scare you into believing in Global Warming thanks to cute animations of polar bears and stolen Hollywood scenes of collapsing glaciers." would you have been a tad more skeptical? Is weather effected by the activity of the sun, volcano's, variations in orbits, & cosmic rays or do we accept a computer model that depends largely on data being inputed, much as the doomsday predictions of Forrester and Meadows book "the population bomb" made catastrophic forecasts because their data left out such inconvenient things like technological progress, etc. As far as all the plants on the planet, more CO2 is good! Plants depend on CO2 to live. How bizarre that something as important and natural to life on the planet can be called a pollutant just because a group of financial Malthusians want to gamble in the little man produces (compared to the ocean or volcano's for example)

    1. I don't think CO2 is bad per se, but I believe excessive quantities are. Too much of anything can be bad - salt, sugar, food, even oxygen, and even if these things are otherwise vital to life. More CO2 might be good for plant life (although I suppose there's a point where it would become detrimental), but it would not necessarily be good for other forms of life, for example, fish (changing the pH of the oceans, increasing mercury levels). And man's emissions might be small compared to cumulative natural emissions, but when you add those small amounts up, year after year, I think it's significant. Nature can be delicate. I remember having fish in aquariums when I was little, and if the pH was off, just a little, the fish died or got sick.

      And then throw deforestation into the mix, which reduces carbon absorption (

      Now, I'm not saying that we have to all start riding bicycles tomorrow, but I think we should continue to transition from gas cars and coal-fired power plants, to electric cars, wind power, and similar low or no emission systems. Man has a history of screwing up the environment (think about the Dust Bowl, trash in the oceans, DDT and Bald Eagle eggs, hunting species to extinction, e.g., the Steller's Sea Cow and the Tasmanian Tiger), so I think we should err on the side of caution.