The other half of the story...

Mike Huckabee: Still not a scientist

On Sunday, Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press.  Among other things, he claimed that “Science is not as settled” on the issue of climate change.  This is problematic, to say the least.  Climate change and evolution are two facts that people love to deny, even though both are literally supported by all of the evidence.  Either Mike Huckabee has a shocking and terrifying inability to determine fact from fiction– or he is simply corrupt.  These are the two options, because it’s not as though climate change is up for debate anymore (NASA reports that 97% of climate scientists agree).  Let’s take a look at some of the different lines of evidence that show that Huckabee and the other climate change deniers are demonstrably wrong.

Carbon dioxide levels are rising every year, as humans pump billions of tons of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere.  These gases are like gigantic blankets– they reflect heat back onto Earth, instead of allowing it to be radiated back into space.  On Fox’s Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson gave a good explanation of the greenhouse effect:

Here, we see a NASA chart that shows the spiking levels of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere:

(Credit: NASA)

The United States’ 48 contiguous states have seen a surface temperature that has warmed by an average of 0.14°F per decade since 1901:

(Credit: EPA)

Globally, 2001-2010 was the hottest decade since temperature records started to be kept, and the planet has been warming at an average of 0.15°F per decade:

(Credit: EPA)

The number of unusually hot summer days and nights has steadily increased:

 

(Credit: EPA)

The contiguous 48 states have seen increasing amounts of record high temperatures, and decreasing amounts of record low temperatures:

(Credit: EPA)

Our oceans are warming an average of 0.13°F per decade since 1901:

(Credit: EPA)

(Credit: EPA)

(Credit: EPA)

Arctic sea ice is rapidly decreasing:

(Credit: EPA)

(Credit: EPA)

(Credit: EPA)

Glaciers are melting at increasing rates:

(Credit: EPA)

(Credit: EPA)

(Credit: EPA)

Last year, NASA Earth scientist Eric Rignot was the lead author of a landmark paper that revealed that the melting of the West Antarctic ice sheets is unstoppable.  These ice sheets are massive– in some cases, they are as large as entire countries.  Dr. Rignot’s paper concluded on a somber tone:

Using two decades of ERS-1/2 data, we document a continuous and rapid retreat of the grounding lines of Pine Island, Thwaites, Haynes, Smith, and Kohler glaciers, which drain a large sector of West Antarctica on a retrograde, submarine bed, a configuration deemed unstable by ice sheet numerical models [e.g., Favier et al., 2014; Katz and Worster, 2010; Parizek et al., 2013] unless normal and tangential ice shelf buttressing could increase significantly [Gudmundsson, 2013], which is unlikely. The retreat is proceeding along fast-flowing, accelerating sectors that are thinning, become bound to reach floatation and unground from the bed. We find no major bed obstacle upstream of the 2011 grounding lines that would prevent further retreat of the grounding lines farther south. We conclude that this sector of West Antarctica is undergoing a marine ice sheet instability that will significantly contribute to sea level rise in decades to centuries to come.

In other words, Antarctica will melt.  There’s nothing we can do to stop the melting of a continent with 1.5 times the landmass of the continental United States– but instead of land, it’s almost entirely ice.  This will drastically reshape the map of Earth, when rising sea levels submerge coastal cities.  Millions of people will need to relocate.  Oceans are becoming more acidic as they absorb greenhouse gases.

Anyone who has examined the evidence and still denies the reality of climate change either is in denial, or is being outright dishonest.  The facts are clear-cut.  There is no debate.  If we can’t even agree that our planet is undeniably warming due to human activities, how are we ever going to be able to agree to take action, before it’s too late?

Of all the Republican presidential candidates so far, only Chris Christie accepts the reality of climate change– and he was far less supportive before Hurricane Sandy tore through his state.  If politicians continue to make fools of themselves by throwing snowballs on the Senate floor, then they’re putting us all in danger. It’s disheartening to see that these people keep getting reelected.  The longer people like Huckabee, Cruz, Inhofe, Rubio, and Gohmert stall because they’re too delusional and stubborn to accept reality, the worse off the entire planet will be as a result.

(Source: Wikimedia Commons)

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