There is little room for doubt any more. Climate change is real, and it’s caused by humans.
I know some people will think this statement is controversial, but it really isn’t. At least, not among people who study this type of thing for a living. I mean, 97 percent of 12,000 studies in scientific journals have come to the conclusion that human-caused climate change is a thing. Unfortunately, this type of overwhelming consensus doesn’t keep a certain type of person from ignoring all of the evidence.
It just so happens that a lot of those people meet every year in Topeka, Kan. This group is called the Kansas Legislature.
Earlier this month, a non-binding resolution was proposed that would resist President Obama’s plan to curb the effects of climate change, which includes encouraging alternative energy technology. Speaking in support of the resolution, climate change denialists showed their complete lack of understanding of how science works, like state senator Forrest Knox, who said: “The only thing you know for sure about the weather in Kansas, as you all know, is it’s going to change. That’s all we really know about climate too.”
Nope. That’s not true, bro. Weather is volatile. Climate is the average weather over a long period of time. This is fifth grade stuff, folks.
And that’s not all. According to the Topeka Capital-Journal:
[Forrest Knox] said condescending climate change “alarmists” have rarely deigned to even address the questions of “skeptics” and said the issue needs a debate like the one that recently occurred regarding evolution vs. creationism at the Creationism Museum in Kentucky.
“Climate alarmism is not based on science, it’s based on computer models,” Knox said, adding those models often have proven wrong.
Wow. Very wrong. Much misunderstanding.
First, evolution doesn’t need to be debated. It’s a fact even more than climate change is a fact. (But the fact that Knox thinks evolution does need to be debated gives you a pretty good glimpse into the headspace he’s spouting nonsense from.)
Second, since when do scientists not work on computers? Scientists have been using computers to help solve problems since computers were invented. I’d like to hear Knox’s description of a scientist. I bet it’s a guy (of course) with a lab coat and thick nerd glasses with a pocket protector in his plaid shirt that his mom laid out for him that morning. But really, climate models have proven to be quite accurate over the long term. Climate scientists, as The Guardian points out, make projections based on certain conditions. A 2013 report from the International Panel on Climate Change showed that, since 1990, global temperatures have been within the range of those predicted by the models.
This isn’t the first time the Kansas legislature has taken a futile stand against attempts to curb climate change. Of course, the resolution passed. (I mentioned that it’s non-binding, right? Way to not waste anyone’s time, representatives.) Some of the more egregious, science-denying language was cut, but that’s not surprising.
What is surprising is why Kansas representatives are so opposed to a plan to encourage alternative energies.
If there is one thing everyone knows about Kansas, it’s that it’s flat. Literally flatter than a pancake. It’s also windy. Right now, Kansas has the eighth largest capacity for wind energy in the nation. Kansas is perfectly positioned to take advantage of a wind energy future. You don’t actually need to believe in climate change to see that Kansas has a lot to gain from a robust wind energy economy. Even notorious conservative Kansas Governor Sam Brownback is in favor of wind energy.
Luckily, the recently-passed resolution is non-binding, so it’s almost certainly just political posturing. But it’s discouraging that so many state lawmakers feel free to deny what is undeniably a fact of life.
Photo Credit: Nicola Jones via Flickr
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