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Saturday, Oct 25, 2014
Joe Henderson Columns

Henderson: Just the facts, please — climate change is real

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Published:   |   Updated: May 5, 2014 at 07:39 AM

Facts are neither liberal nor conservative. They don’t come from the left, right or the center. Facts are threads that hold our planet and futures together. When we deny facts for political or personal gain, or just because we don’t want to believe, bad things often happen.

So it is with those who consider catastrophic global climate change to be some liberal, tree-hugging myth. Although they offer no facts to support that view, mind you, they can sure say real loud that all this science stuff is wrong.

Just ’cause.

History is replete with scientists who persevered through skepticism, though. If that were not true, schools might still teach that the sun orbits the Earth. Or that the Earth is flat. Or that continents are unmoving land masses.

Scientists have the means now to measure climate change in ways reasonable people can’t dispute. Last month in The New York Times, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change warned of “atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rising almost twice as fast in the first decade of this century as they did in the last decades of the 20th century.”

Much of the nation just came through a frightful winter, with many locations reporting record cold and snowfalls. Just last week the South was ripped apart by a massive outbreak of tornadoes. Although early spring is tornado season in many parts of the country, a report by Florida State University says “there is some evidence to suggest that tornadoes are, in fact, getting stronger.”

If you think we’re safe in Tampa because we don’t live in tornado alley, guess again. A report last year by the World Bank listed Tampa as No. 7 on a list of 10 cities worldwide at the highest risk for catastrophe from coastal flooding brought on by “climate change, rapid urbanization and subsiding land.”

That’s a tough sell to skeptics such as U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. In the aftermath of superstorm Sandy on the New Jersey shore in 2012, Paul responded, “What I would say is that someone is an ignoramus who would say that, ‘Oh, we had three hurricanes this year. This proves that somehow the climate is warming.’ ”

Actually, senator, those “someones” you refer to point to melting ice caps, the increasing acidity of the oceans, escalating greenhouse gases, rising sea levels and, yes, the extreme swings in weather as proof something is whacked out in Mother Nature.

There is the ever-entertaining former Gov. Sarah Palin, R-Andromeda. CBS News reported she told attendees at a 2010 logging conference in California that climate change theories were “a bunch of snake oil science.”

This is what passes for snake oil in Palin World: According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 97 percent of climate scientists concur that human activity is “causing climate-warming trends.

Those scientists come from 18 American organizations, including the American Meteorological Society and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. That’s just in our country. More than 200 scientific organizations worldwide are basically saying the same thing.

You know how it is with those eggheads, though. Just because they went to school for this stuff and studied the material for years, they think they’re so much smarter than everyone else.

Well, they are. There’s a bad moon rising, and the world better pay attention.

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