And the hits keep coming…
It’s bad enough that every day brings a new outrage from those a reader of this blog aptly dubbed “the four horsemen of the apocalypse” –Trump, Pence, McConnell and Ryan. What is even more depressing at a time when our hopes for sanity lie with local resistance to the anti-intellectualism, self-dealing and demagoguery in Washington is news of similarly destructive behavior by state-level fools and toadies.
Remember Wisconsin’s Scott Walker? A perfect contemporary Republican–a corrupt lackey of big money, antagonistic to education, dismissive of science? Of course you do.
When I read a friend’s post to the effect that Wisconsin’s DNR webpage had been scrubbed clean of all uses of the word “climate”–and altered to imply a lack of scientific consensus about anthropogenic global warming–I checked with Snopes.
Turned out to be true.
In a 26 December 2016 op-ed published by the digital newspaper Urban Milwaukee, environmental writer James Rowen reported that a section of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources’ (DNR) web site, originally titled “Climate Change and Wisconsin’s Great Lake,” had been substantially altered:
Gone are references to known “human activities” contributing to a warming planet, warming’s contributions to changes in rainfall and snowfall patterns, extreme weather events, drought, species and economic losses are among other truths whitewashed off this official, taxpayer-financed website.
Snopes reproduced the former text, which had accurately reported the relevant science, and that which replaced it; the new language says that reasons for changing conditions “are being debated and researched by academic entities outside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.”
Responding to our request for comment, Wisconsin DNR Communications Director James F Dick stated that their office’s official position is that the science is not settled and that the page was updated to reflect this view.
Of course, the science is settled. As Snopes concludes,
The overwhelming scientific consensus from the climatological community is that the climate is indeed warming and that human activity is contributing to that process.
Here’s what mystifies me: if the settled science is right, and we do not act, we will face massive planetary devastation. If the settled science is wrong, and we do act, the worst thing that will happen is we’ll get cleaner air and water, and cheaper and more renewable energy.
This doesn’t seem like a difficult choice.
Oh yes– fossil fuel companies will make less money. But I’m sure that has nothing to do with climate change denial….
When the history of this era is written–assuming there are survivors left to write that history–it will undoubtedly be called “the age of insanity.”