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Author Topic: How much more clear do they have to be  (Read 4821 times)

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BikerDude

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How much more clear do they have to be
« on: May 13, 2015, 10:05:35 AM »
I'm not a scientist so I'm stuck with listening to real scientists.
But when you see clear signs that efforts are made to limit science to me it's tantamount to an admission of "cover up".
 
http://www.npr.org/sections/13.7/2015/05/12/406106296/climate-denialists-in-congress-acting-as-nasas-kryptonite
Quote
Quick: List the first four words that pop into your mind when you hear NASA.

If you are like most folks, you hit some mix of astronauts, moon landings, space telescopes and Mars probes. Those are pretty positive images representing accomplishments we can all feel proud about.

Astronauts are, after all, great American heroes. And space telescopes are reminders of just how smart ? and insanely capable ? Americans can be. Put it all together and you can see why NASA does superhero stuff in the eyes of most people.

It's also stuff that's universally recognized to be the kind where you absolutely, positively can't afford to be wrong. And that is why NASA is a real problem for climate denialism.

If you are intent on convincing people there is no climate change, then the last thing you want is NASA ? with all its heroism and accuracy ? telling folks climate change is real. So, faced with this dilemma, climate denialist's have come up with a clever solution: Get NASA out of climate change science.

As has been widely reported, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee recently approved a bill that would cut at least $300 million from NASA's earth-science budget. This comes after the head of the Senate committee overseeing NASA claimed the agency should stop doing earth-science and focus only on space exploration.

Both these moves are part of a broader effort to hobble American science from doing its job in exploring the planet's climate. As reported by Elizabeth Kolbert in the New Yorker:

    "The vote on the NASA bill came just a week after the same House committee approved major funding cuts to the National Science Foundation's [NSF] geosciences program, as well as cuts to Department of Energy programs that support research into new energy sources."

But even with the broader effort, the emphasis on NASA seems particularly pointed. How many people even know what the NSF stands for ? or what the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does all day?

That's why, if your goal is denying the climate science NASA has been doggedly revealing for decades, you have a real problem. You must convince Americans that either (a) NASA is lying or (b) NASA has gotten the answer wrong. Both are going to be a hard sell.

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ZoeAbides

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Re: How much more clear do they have to be
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2015, 02:58:44 PM »
It's because the Republicans that control congress are either:

1.  Slaves to the big oil, coal, and gas interests that bought them into office.  Yes, they are actively trying to cover it up so the rich can keep making money hand-over-fist with nothing standing in their way.

2.  Crazy, dumb-ass tea party loons that believe Earth is 6,000 years old and is too big for humans to effect and/or "God" won't let us fuck it up because it's all under "His" control.

3.  Bigoted, closed-minded, partisan bastards that have to 180 everything anyone further Left than the Atlantic ocean has to say.  Oh yeah, and because our President is black and he must've won two elections because of affirmative action or something.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2015, 03:47:27 PM by ZoeAbides »

jgiffin

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Re: How much more clear do they have to be
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2015, 10:19:12 PM »
The federal government spends $22 billion per year across 18 separate agencies to study/fight/publicize climate change. https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/assets/legislative_reports/fcce-report-to-congress.pdf

That's $41,856 every minute. I'm okay cutting that back a bit. Even if you're convinced (a) global warm...er, climate change is real, (b) man-made, and (c) within man's power to fix, this money isn't going there.

ZoeAbides

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Re: How much more clear do they have to be
« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2015, 01:10:24 AM »
Climate change is a real threat.  It's a dire problem that cannot wait, and they aren't spending enough money on it.  Even the Pentagon has openly stated it's a threat to national security.  If they spent a fraction of the bloated military budget that we don't need on truly working on climate change, then we might begin to actually get somewhere.  We're behind some so-called third world countries on the issue, thanks in large part to people like the Koch brothers and their corporate greed.  They spend and spend to create climate change denial and doubt that scientists have disproven again and again.  They do this because they make their money by contributing to climate change, and they buy politicians and media outlets to sell their message.  For pure power and greed.  They already have more money than could be spent in 20 lifetimes, but it's not enough and they want more, regardless of the cost to the environment.

Regardless how much government money is spent on the issue, we have greedy morons in power that actively block any real work on climate change, because of said billionaire interests who strum their puppet strings and keep them in power.  Until this moronic majority is voted out, this will continue.  But people also stupidly and actively vote against their interests because it's easier to do what they're told in their echo chambers instead of actively thinking and researching for themselves

Of course climate change is real, and of course it's man made.  Only in this country is that wildly disputed.  You only have to open your window and pay attention to see what's been happening over the years, and that it's recently begun to quickly escalate.  Hell, I knew something was up years ago and wondered what was going on, long before "global warming" and "climate change" became household buzzwords.  I'm no climate scientist, but it was plain to see that something's not right.

JGiffin, that report is over 2 years old and no longer accurate.  Besides, if you look at the entire pie of government spending, it's only a fraction of a fraction of a fraction.  And yes, they had to change the term global warming to global climate change because A) it's more accurate, and B) so it's harder for idiots to be taken seriously when they hold up a snowball in Congress.  Americans tend to be a bit ignorant nowadays because our educational system has severely dwindled, and most people don't understand there's a difference between weather and climate.  I'm from Kentucky, so I see the idiocy first hand.  No offense, jgiffin, but when 98% of the scientific consensus agrees and has proven it's real and man made and that if we act quickly we CAN prevent it from getting worse, you kind of come across a bit crackpot-ey.

When will everyone wake up to the fact that you can't eat, drink, or breathe money?
« Last Edit: May 14, 2015, 02:10:18 AM by ZoeAbides »

jgiffin

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Re: How much more clear do they have to be
« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2015, 08:08:22 AM »
Thanks, Zoe. I'm glad to respond. I'll stick to the initial point vis-a-vis reduced funding for climate change being equivalent to a cover up. The 2013 report I linked was directly from the White House and is the latest version of which I am aware. It's only outdated if the White House has now manipulated (or, if you prefer, revised*) the budgets it set forth. At the time, and even now I believe, the administration was very proud of the report. (I, on the other hand, thought the report's use of "22,000 million" instead of the more direct "22 billion" was a bit telling - yes, it's typical of such governmental reports but, then again, consistency of action doesn't disprove intent).

I'm okay with cutting the defense budget as you propose. But if NASA has time, money, and political orders to pursue muslim outreach - and it does http://www.space.com/8725-nasa-chief-bolden-muslim-remark-al-jazeera-stir.html - then perhaps its mission and funding should be reassessed, too.  And if 17 other agencies are also working on climate change issues, consolidation may be more efficient both in terms of economy and productivity. Unfortunately, those aren't really the goals motivating all this spending.

As you acknowledge, "[r]egardless how much government money is spent on the issue, we have greedy morons in power that actively block any real work on climate change." Given that, is the solution really to throw even more money at it? How much more? To what end? This reinforces my point that the money being spent may not actually BE SPENT on climate change. People are getting rich on both sides of this issue. Climate change funding provides job security for scientists, ready political contributions for political whores, a hot-button issue for pundits, and profits for its prophets (see, e.g., Gore, Albert).




*Suggestive terms intended.

BikerDude

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Re: How much more clear do they have to be
« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2015, 09:35:31 AM »
It's official.
Whenever you hear something like "the consensus is still out on the issue" you know.
I mean it's a simple matter of fact that there are now people who specialize in "spreading doubt".
They went into business with the tobacco industry and now they are employed (yes employed as in paid) by big oil.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/03/meet-the-merchants-of-doubt-the-pr-firms-giving-you-cancer-causing-acid-rain-and-killing-the-planet.html
Quote
Tthe tobacco industry realized smoking caused cancer as early as the 1950s, but stonewalled the issue for decades by hiring PR firms to refute legitimate scientific research. ?This whole strategy was created and raised to a fine art by the tobacco industry,? says Oreskes. ?And once they developed this tool kit, they spread it. They tried to develop allies in other industries who also felt threats from inconvenient science. That you couldn?t trust science, and what was needed was ?sound science.??

This strategy, which Kenner?s film traces through the tobacco, dioxin, asbestos and fossil fuel industries, involves several key elements:

    Paying scientists to do research that will support the industry?s claims.

    Setting up organizations with names like Citizens for Fire Safety and Americans for Free Enterprise, which purport to be legitimate advocacy groups, but are really just shills for corporate interests.

    Creating a class of media savvy ?experts,? who may or may not be scientists, but whose basic function is to debate, and cast doubt on, the work of legitimate scientific researchers.

    Making these experts available to journalists, to provide ?balance? in the reporting of these issues, even when there is no real scientific debate about the subject.

These last two elements are key to the merchants-of-doubt approach, and make use of journalistic ethics about providing ?equal time? to opposing viewpoints. They also play into the scientific community?s basic inability to explain difficult concepts. ?Scientists are trained to do science, and it?s hard enough to do the science,? says Oreskes. ?And now you?re saying you have to be an effective communicator as well? It?s not their job.?

    ?Somehow we?ve made scientists suspect, as if they have an ideological agenda. So, some people are fooled into not believing inconvenient science.?

The idea that something like climate science ?was presented as a debate is the fault of the media,? says Kenner  (who also directed the 2008 documentary Food, Inc.)

?And that?s not just the conservative media. Somehow we?ve made scientists suspect, as if they have an ideological agenda. So, some people are fooled into not believing inconvenient science.?

The net effect is that people come away with a false notion that there is a debate.
That people who know what they are talking about are divided on the issue.
They aren't.
It happens with climate change and also with evolution strangely enough.
The fact that we can have 3 of 5 republican candidates on stage in a debate raise their hands when asked which do not believe in evolution is just jaw dropping. It really does make us look very ignorant.

This all is really a kind of fascinating phenomenon (at least to me).
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/03/denial-science-chris-mooney
« Last Edit: May 14, 2015, 09:59:48 AM by BikerDude »

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LotsaBadKarma

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Re: How much more clear do they have to be
« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2015, 11:30:44 AM »
The problem I have with the whole debate is that there is no true urgency on the part of our government to rectify any of the "man-made" part of the problem. I'm not talking about man-made factories that spew millions of tons of pollution into the air every day. What I'm talking about is the fact that on the level that the ordinary person can get involved, the kind of cars we drive and how much pollution they put out, we are not given any real choices. We can either drive cars that burn fossil fuel and, thereby, pollute the atmosphere or we can save and save and save to buy an electric car that gets 100 miles per charge and has a battery bank that causes as many environmental problems with its disposal at the end of its usable life as 100 gas burners.
It has been fairly common knowledge that the car companies have the technology at hand for decades to build cars that are way more fuel efficient than what we are allowed to purchase. Land Rover, for example, makes a 9 passenger SUV called the Defender that runs on a 5 cylinder diesel engine that gets 40 miles per gallon. This car is illegal to license here in the U. S. because it doesn't comply with California emission standards. Or the idea that in some countries in Europe Ford builds cars that get upwards of 50 mpg but a comparable model sold here only attains 20 mpg.
There's always the argument about turning off the lights when you leave the room but it's the same power company whether the lights are on or off. We're told that compact fluorescents are the way to go but then the power company jacks up its rates if too many people use them to make up for the lost revenue that being environmentally sound has cost them.
For the vast majority of us the choice of car is the only effect we can have on this climate problem that is being reported and the government could remedy this by passing a law stating that starting tomorrow car companies are required to have fleet mileage of 50 or better for all passenger cars and 35 for trucks. I mean the goal is fast track authority so why not fast track something like this? No, what we get is a president who says something to the laughable effect that by the year 2050 U. S. carmakers must achieve a fleet mileage standard of 18 mpg.
Follow the money? But what good is all the money in the world if there is no world to spend it in? So I'm not sure how committed all the climate change people in government are if they can't see any further down the road than this. I know that there are a few people making a lot of money due to climate change or global warming, like Al Gore:

http://humanevents.com/2007/10/03/the-money-and-connections-behind-al-gores-carbon-crusade/

But making money is not necessarily evil, it's the want of money that is the root of all evil, right? So I guess more research is in order, for me at least, for an informed decision to be made.
The peak oil crisis has been building since the 80s yet our government has not responded with any laws that have any real effect on the problem. Factories pollute and are fined what might be called chump-change in comparison to the amount of money they rake in from their practices. And what happens to that money? I mean, really, what happens to it? I have no idea.
As for the science, well, it's above my pay grade to conduct any type of meaningful research. I just ain't got the smarts fer it. What I have read falls on both sides of the fence as far as how reliable the information is. Some people say 98% of scientists agree, some people say that there has been a major scandal with cooking of the proverbial books on the subject. But I, myself, have not done the research. I can only rely on what others say and write and I've seen the arguments go both ways.
So I just don't know. But one of the things I have read is that Mr. Gore's 10,000 square foot estate in the Belle Meade area of Nashville, TN uses about 20 times the national average of electric power a year and also goes somewhere above the national average in the consumption of natural gas. Wait, 10,000 square feet? I guess he and Tipper don't bump into each other very often. But considering that he's one of the prime movers of the global warming/climate change crisis shouldn't he be a little more frugal?

ZoeAbides

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Re: How much more clear do they have to be
« Reply #7 on: May 14, 2015, 03:56:30 PM »
JGiffin, thanks for replying.  I didn't want you to think I was attacking you personally.  I find it to sound crackpot when ANYONE goes against tested and proven science.  Like BikerDude was saying about the non-belief in evolution by those so high in power.  I agree with you, some consolidation could be done but only to a point.  Don't mistake that all scientists are scientists, like all doctors are doctors.  You wouldn't want a heart surgeon performing brain surgery.  Climate science is extremely complex.  And nothing gets done without money, so yes, we have to keep throwing money at it.  Just like we have to throw money at anything to get anything done.  I don't like it either, but welcome to a capitalist society.

LotsaBadKarma, you hit the nail on the head, there's no urgency on anything governmental, because they are all short sighted and only see things in terms of election cycles.  They also play immature little games and blackmails so nothing meaningful actually gets done.  That's why we as a nation need to start voting obstructionists out en masse.  President Obama has to make so many concessions because of these idiots.

BikerDude has it right, there is tons of money spent to create doubt where there actually isn't any.  Just like they did with cigarettes.  Why?  Greed.

Also you're kidding yourself when you say "both sides are making money on the issue".  Sure both sides do indeed make money, however it it's extremely lopsided.  As a crass example, climate science may make 25 cents on the dollar while the deniers and obstructionists make billions of dollars.  There's no balance, whatsoever.

jgiffin

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Re: How much more clear do they have to be
« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2015, 09:36:21 PM »
JGiffin, thanks for replying.  I didn't want you to think I was attacking you personally...

Climate science is extremely complex.  And nothing gets done without money, so yes, we have to keep throwing money at it.  Just like we have to throw money at anything to get anything done.  I don't like it either, but welcome to a capitalist society.

No offense taken, Zoe. Just exchanging thoughts here.

This is precisely the rationale those in power, the puppet-masters pulling our strings, want to foster in the populace. It's never enough money. If we only spent more. We can do this, we just have to sacrifice. We have to learn - really learn - that the point is never the issue when politicians are concerned. It's not about climate change. It's about motivating the populace to accept further taxation, further limitations on freedoms, and further government intrusion. They need an issue for that. Once they create the interest, that's sufficient for their purposes. They just have to maintain it, feed it, promote it.

This phenomenon, by the way, is not unique to climate science. You may recognize it from such government-sponsored debacles as: the "war" on drugs, education spending, inadvisable land wars in Asia (or the Middle East, or Latin America, or anywhere else we have no place being), infrastructure spending, stimulus packages, corporate bailouts, QE 1-3, Medicare...the list goes on. We generally don't see it because we are focused only on the issues we find important. However, it's easily recognizable from the macro perspective.

BikerDude

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Re: How much more clear do they have to be
« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2015, 10:36:50 AM »
What to do about it is another conversation.
My objection is with the cynical manipulation of the populace by monied interest for purely financial gain at the expense of the planet.
I just object to the hiring of PR firms who specialize in introducing doubt into a subject that results in people getting cancer in the case of Big Tobacco and a serious degradation of the environment in the case of big oil.
I mean when you get your head around it this is just pure evil. It means that someone decides that the truth of whether we are doing huge manifest damage is simply less important than the money they put in their pocket.
As soon as the strategy becomes to "introduce doubt" rather than argue the facts you can see it's pure bullshit.
They know it's true and just want to sow doubt in spite of the facts. And simply not care if people die of cancer or if they do long lasting environment damage. Pure paraquat.

The lack of urgency, and the cutting of financing for NASA, and the general demonetization of science on the part of government comes down to Campaign contributions.
If you don't support the ones giving the money your not gonna be in office long.
Because the voting public is so easily manipulated.  By PR firms etc etc. Same old problem in another place.
And the sum total has been a campaign over decades to convince people of the evils of representative government.
That's the real irony. It's the end zone. Convince people to willingly give up their voice.
Once we're we are in that place, there is not more need for lobbyists or PR firms or campaign contributions.

« Last Edit: May 15, 2015, 11:07:12 AM by BikerDude »

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