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Kansas Denies Climate Change. Again.

Kansas Denies Climate Change. Again.

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.

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Photo Credit: Nicola Jones via Flickr

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209 comments

+ add your own
9:43AM PDT on Mar 19, 2014

thanks

3:45PM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

While I agree that greed and power drive the type of deceit and that we have polluted our part of the world in many ways, don't think that we alone can do much to change the climate change that naturally takes place every few thousand years, as far as we can tell based on the limited data we have on just the last few hundred years of weather patterns.
There is speculation and belief by some that there is global warming, but far from "fact", just as evolution is not a fact, but only a theory. It has been taught as fact, but if you research a tiny bit, you will clearly see that there is little fact at all on the theory of evolution and too many things that don't work together. But what is a fact is that when someone or some group believes something or in this case does not, they will always see the proof they need in any information they see, because we look for "evidence" to support our view and we discard anything that does not support it.
I am a true Christian, not a religious person. I believe in God and the Bible as God's true word. I believe in Jesus and try my best to live my life the way He teaches us to. That is where so many "Christians" many times fall short. We are taught to not judge others. Even when someone who is living a life that would be described a sinful according to Biblical values, we are taught to not Judge the person, not hate them nor does it tell us to attack, harm or treat in anyway rudely or badly. I am taught to be kind, understanding, helpful

10:19AM PST on Mar 7, 2014

Oh my, shame on you!!!

1:48PM PST on Mar 3, 2014

In order to save our farms from global warming we need to spend as much money buying fossil fuel as mineral rights to placate fossil fuel firms as on buying equipment to harness renewable energy to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. It would take about $2 trillion/year for at least 60 years to do both--and the renewable energy needs to be for whole world--not just United States-- whole world all share just ONE atmosphere that we all must breathe.

9:12PM PST on Feb 28, 2014

Hi all,

In fact in the beginning, electrical cars outperformed thermal ones, see Jenatzy's "Jamais Contente" that broke the speed record and the 100kph limit in 1899 ! Electrical cars currently lag behind, mainly because since Jenatzy, they didn't progress so much, while the thermal path was thoroughly explored.

Technologically speaking, there is much leeway for improvement, but it has to be explored. It won't be if an alternate tech blocks the path because it can be kept at the same time low-cost for the people and vastly profitable for the tycoons, and so even if it's highly dangerous for the Earth balance.

As now that it's a mass market, it's a fact that cost will drive choices, because people naturally go to the lowest price and tycoons go towards what gives back the highest profits.

So that's why states must step in with incitations to help direct the industry's and market's natural greed into the right path instead of keeping supporting fossil fuel.

@+

Benoît

7:17PM PST on Feb 28, 2014

Brian F.,
I certainly hope so. Although I am less sure than you. Electric vehicles have been around longer than gas-powered. There were never able to achieve the higher output than customers demanded.

4:08PM PST on Feb 28, 2014

Dan b I agree electric cars have a long way to go, and must improve their range, and come down in price, but give it time. Dirty gas cars have been developed for over a hundred years. As the technology advances, electric cars will get cheaper as battery prices drop, their ranges will be improved, and their recharge times will drop to 10 minutes. Remember we've been subsidizing dirty fossil fuels for a hundred years, and look where it got us. Our environment is more polluted now then ever. It's time we massively subsidize electric cars, and clean renewable energy like wind, solar, and geothermal power. The money we save by transitioning to renewable energy, and not suffering the pollution clean up cost, and health effects of dirty fossil fuels, will be well worth the investment.

2:46PM PST on Feb 28, 2014

Brian F.,
There are certainly many options for electricity. I suspect costs will ultimately decide the energy choice (hopefully without government subsidies). Electric vehicles are fine for daily use, but need massive improvement for family trips and giid transport.

8:40AM PST on Feb 28, 2014

(continued) busses that can go 100 miles on a charge. Electric busses are replacing dirty diesel, and natural gas busses around the world. Wind power is expanding fast, despite republicans blocking it, and refusing to renew the production tax credit. Iowa, and South Dakota, already get 25% of their power from wind. Wind power creates jobs, and provides clean energy, and revenue for our struggling farmers. Wind power in Texas produces 10% of their power, and is expanding fast. The paradigm is changing, and soon dirty coal, oil, and natural gas will be replaced by clean renewable energy. China, India, and Japan are investing massively in wind, and solar power, and will lead the world in solar, wind, and geothermal power. Germany leads the world in solar power, and proved that a country with little sunlight can achieve monumental results if it invest massively in solar power.

8:35AM PST on Feb 28, 2014

ty

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