Ever since the terms "Climate Change" and "Global Warming" first made the news, the right has been engaged in an effort to ridicule the whole notion. Man could have an effect on the atmosphere? Pshaw! Okay, so Rush Limbaugh and the Fox airheads don't actually say pshaw. Instead, they've said that the idea of a human-caused climate change is "ridiculous," and "malarkey" and a "farce." (I'd give you links for those, but adding a link to Limbaugh and friends would give me a rash).
Most of all, they've pushed the idea that our increasing thirst for flammable hydrocarbons might just cause an eensy change in the environment is controversial. Sure, sure, we might be having a hot year -- or two, or ten -- but that doesn't mean people had anything to do with it. After all, we're so small and the atmosphere is just so big. How could a little old us possibly have more effect than volcanoes, or cyclical changes, or the bad old carbon fairy, or whatever cause the right wants to put forward this week? We changed the air? Huh, that's just controversial.
They've depended on paid shills to generate pop-science FUD, and like the mercenaries of ignorance who constantly try to make it seem as if there's some scientific debate around evolution, they've created smoke in the hopes of making people believe there's a fire. They've created fake organizations dedicated to spreading misinformation (current headline "Earth's plants tell us they're loving the CO2 increase!") They've even made a hero out of Michael Crichton (the one man whose ego might be larger than Bush and Rush combined) and his account of a Global Warming "conspiracy," frequently citing his poorly-researched fictional tome as proof of the evil left wing environmentalist attempt to strip away your Hummer.
The trouble with this notion is that the folks who stole the "it's only a theory" page from the whacko creationists are lying. There is no controversy. There's been none in scientific journals, and no, scientists did think we were going to freeze just a decade ago, no matter how many times the shills say they did. With every passing day, the evidence becomes more compelling.
Last year was the warmest in the continental United States in the past 112 years -- capping a nine-year warming streak "unprecedented in the historical record" that was driven in part by the burning of fossil fuels, the government reported yesterday.
That's the Bush administration talking, buddy. Anyone still pushing the "global warming can't be pinned on human activity" line at this point, is further in out in the hinterlands of fantasy than the guy who thinks a "surge" is going to cure Iraq.
Repeat after me: Global Warming is happening, and it's our fault. There is zero doubt about either point.
The worrisome bit about Global Warming now isn't that it is happening, but the degree to which it will affect us. I've noticed for years that when the weather man predicts a huge snowfall days in advance, we're unlikely to see more than a dusting. It's those days when the forecast first calls for an inch, then two, then four to eight, that I'm going to be neck deep in white stuff by night fall. And when it comes to Global Warming, predictions that were calling for relatively small changes a few years ago, are starting to call for something much larger. They're suggesting bigger changes to climate than were first called for, more loss of crop lands, a higher sea level rise compounded by disappearing glaciers, and a larger, faster increase in temperatures.
Tested by time, the predictions of global warming are not becoming more "controversial," they're becoming more dire. There's absolutely no doubt at this point that all those still playing in the "human beings didn't do it" camp are just as guilty of willful misdirection as those doctors hired to point out the healthful effect of cigarettes long after the real cost of smoking was known. And when it comes to a final tally, they may be guilty of causing far more death and misery than anyone touting Camels or Kent.