A Single Issue to Vote On

Hot enough for you this summer? Because it’s going to get hotter, and I’m not referring to our increasingly debased electoral rhetoric.

As a post to Science Matters emphasizes, climate change is not a prediction. It’s here. Even scientists who were previously skeptical (and there weren’t many) are now convinced that the earth is warming even more rapidly than previously expected, and that human activity is a large generator of that warming.

Let’s ignore every other issue dividing Americans–what to do about the economy, about Syria and Iran, about the various “wars”–on women, on the GLBT community, on drugs…you name it. In a very real sense, arguments over those issues are equivalent to arguments about how to arrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. If there is one issue of global life-and-death importance, it’s climate change.

And on that issue, the parties could not be further apart.

The science–and the scientific consensus–is overwhelming; we face a truly unprecedented global threat. The Democrats haven’t exactly covered themselves with glory, but they have acknowledged the threat and the urgency of addressing it. Most Republicans, on the other hand, continue to deny the science and reject the reality of climate change. (I suppose that shouldn’t surprise us; they also reject evolution.)  Mitt Romney is now parroting the GOP’s standard climate change denial, and Paul Ryan, his running mate, is a climate-change-denying conspiracy theorist.

I’m not a believer in single-issue voting, but I’m not a big fan of committing slow suicide, either. If there was ever a single issue worth embracing, this is it.


  1. Thanks for reminding me of where Mitt and his new running mate stand on this issue. For the first time, I’ll be voting Republican this November.


  2. If only Cheney, McCain, Palin, or Bush had uttered the words “global warming” or “climate change” (instead of Vice President Gore), my guess is that we would be much further down the road to some real solutions. High-temperature records were shattered by the thousands nearly every day this summer, the country is burning, and a big chunk of Greenland ice just fell off. It’s looking more and more like a trend and not a prediction.

  3. Ms. Westmoreland is 100% correct. Throughout this terrible summer with record setting high temperatures and drought; I kept wondering what is in store for us this winter. Will we face blizzard conditions such as the east coast had to deal with last winter? If so, will Goldsmith advise Ballard to flee the city before it hits as he and Bloomberg fled NYC? Indianapolis has trouble dealing with the first one inch of snow each winter and drive as if they have no idea what that white stuff is; we no longer have Bill Hudnut to help us through blizzard conditions. Poor us!

  4. Well, by the logic being employed by the pro-Global Warming crowd, you can’t call it climate change, because the debate was over back when it was still Global Warming.

    My concern lies in the fact that people don’t actually understand the implications of buying into carbon offsets. Not all trees are created equal. The Global Warming movement has proven ineffective at even slowing down traditional logging, the implication being that we MUST allow our native slow-growing hardwoods, think Hickory, Walnut, etc., to go extinct because, as they would say, we don’t have the luxury of saving anyone but A) the planet, and B) ourselves. As the hickory and the walnut go, so does our population of squirrels and a healthy dose of our bird population, etc.

    The Marott Woods Hardwood Restoration Project? Nope, try the Marott Woods spruce/pine/fir/Princess Tree project. When you get down to it, our introduction of nonnative invasive species have done infinitely more calculable and tangible damage to our environment than we ever have through carbon dioxide production. Think the Emerald Ash Borer, Chestnut blight, Dutch Elm Disease, kudzu, Asian Carp, Zebra Mussels, etc.

    The reason why the traditional environmental movement has chosen to be cotted with the global warming movement is because they felt as far as conservation went they were of like mind. Unfortunately, if you believe the sciences of Global Warming or Climate Change you CANNOT also subscribe to traditional conservation. I’ve searched high and low and haven’t even found anyone with a basic understanding of tree growth vs. carbon dioxide absorption, etc. And I’m speaking from a high school science perspective.

    Come on people. James Lovelock (and I don’t expect anyone to know who he is), the father of the Gaia Theory upon which both global warming and climate change stand, has even walked back his rhetoric and called for even-handed science to rule the day.

  5. “High-temperature records were shattered by the thousands nearly every day this summer…”

    Yes. I remember we broke records from the 30s on some days. I had no idea there were 7,000,000,000 humans on the Earth back then! Oh wait, there wasn’t 7B humans back then, only about 2B. So what caused all the high temps back in that era? If humans are causing the Earth to warm, they we should be breaking temps every year, not breaking temps from hot days back in the early 1900s.

    I believe that humans do contribute to pollution and issues in that field. However, I’m not sold on “global warming” or “climate change” as solely a human based issue. Maybe we are responsible for 10%, maybe 50%. Maybe this is a normal cycle, maybe humans are helping to speed it up. The problem is, what is the answer? The only answer I have is electric mass transit powered by nuclear power. Solar power, hydro power, etc. aren’t good enough. Most environmental folks want to stop all nuclear power due to the waste. I can’t really say I blame them, but then what is their response? It is to force everyone to live in high density living areas and walk or bike everywhere? Do we mandate how much sq. footage a person can have? Outright ban the concept of single-family homes, condos, etc. and force everyone into the exact same high rise living? I think Thorium sounds promising, but am not sold on the science just yet.

  6. Those that deny climate change/global warming or whatever you want to call it will sing another tune as soon as their house is hit with a wildfire or tornado or flooded with 2-8 feet of water. It couldn’t possibly be climate change! Naw, it’s just a coincidence. What will it take for these people to see what’s happening right in front of their eyes?

  7. Buildings on Manhattan Island are now being built several feet higher in the expectation that water levels will be higher long before the building’s demise.

    If we want our grandchildren to live to old age, we have to reverse the increase in carbon dioxide and the elimination of forests.

    God told us the planet would be extinguished by fire. Have the denyers watched how much of the nation was in flames this summer? But
    hey, let’s cut government spending on environmental research and firefighters and use more fossil fuels.

    That WILL solve the problem, but there ought to be a better way to reduce carbon dioxide than to extinguish all people, smokestacks, and the planet. Unfortunately, that’s someone’s plan and they’re sticking to it, come Hellacious fire or high water.

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