Witness the fact that the official Twitter account for the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology just two days ago retweeted a slanted, cherry-picked, and otherwise fallacy-filled climate denialism piece called "Global Temperatures Plunge, Icy Silence from Climate Alarmists" that appeared in...
Yes, Breitbart, the "news" source that astronomer and blogger Phil Plait calls a "racist, misogynistic über-right-wing site that calls itself a voice for the 'alt-right' movement" and Slate senior editor Jeremy Stahl said is composed of "neo-Nazis in suits and ties."
Needless to say, the Breitbart article is full of half-truths and outright lies. Its author, James Delingpole, is one of the worst of the climate change deniers, and apparently will say or do anything up to and including manipulating data to convince people that what we're doing isn't endangering the long-term habitability of the Earth. Plait has taken on Delingpole before, and sums up his argument (if I can dignify it by that name) that scientists have no idea why the climate is undergoing wild swings as being "like seeing a corpse with a bullet wound to the head and saying 'Except for the bullet wound to the head, you cannot come up with a convincing explanation why this person is dead.'"
This bit isn't anything new, of course. No matter how sound the science is, there will always be people who will cover their eyes and pretend the evidence doesn't exist. (Explaining why we still have people who claim that there's no good evidence for evolution.) But this has taken on a new and sinister twist, now that we have elected officials -- hell, an entire committee -- that see fit to distribute this horseshit as if it has any scientific validity at all.
[image courtesy of NASA]
Or, as Plait put it, "The stakes here are as high as they can get. Climate denialism by Breitbart now gets the imprimatur of the federal government."
So once again, let me reiterate: the scientists themselves are in no doubt whatsoever that climate change is real, and is anthropogenic in origin. Any doubt about that was laid to rest over ten years ago. What they are still unsure about is how high the temperatures could get, how quickly they'll get there, and when the predicted outcomes (such as the collapse of the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland) will happen.
But in doubt about the warm-up itself? No. You only hear that from people like the chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Lamar Smith, who as of 2015, had received over $600,000 in donations from the fossil fuels industry.
So I encourage you to get in touch with the members of the committee, especially those of you who live in the districts they represent. They are:
If you do, keep it brief, keep it science-related, and keep it polite. But let them know that it is unequivocally wrong to persist in this denial of accepted, evidence-based science, especially given the potential consequences. I don't expect you to convince Lamar -- money talks, after all -- but maybe if a little pressure is brought to bear, at least they'll stop retweeting Breitbart.