by William Trollinger
Last week Climate Central – a group of scientists and journalists that research and publicize facts about and impacts of climate change – put out a report entitled “Climate Pile-Up: Global Warming’s Compounding Dangers.” According to this report, there are a variety of ways in which global warming produces “compounding threats”:
Greenhouse gas emissions increase atmospheric temperature, in turn boosting the capacity of the air to hold moisture. Combined with the heat, that enhances the evaporation of water from soil. In drier areas, these processes can result in drought, boost heat waves, and ripen the conditions for wildfires. In places that are commonly wet, on the other hand, heightened water evaporation results in excess rain – which can fall on saturated soil and lead to floods. In the oceans, meanwhile, warmer water evaporates faster, potentially increasing wind speeds and boosting the downpours released by hurricanes, whose surges can be aggravated by sea level rise.
And given the warming trajectory, things are going to get much worse, and soon, unless humans make “deep cuts to warming emissions.”
So comes the word from actual climate scientists. Then there’s Ken Ham and his band of young Earth creationists at Answers in Genesis (AiG), who confidently report that global warming is not a calamitous crisis, or even a significant problem worth addressing.
As I noted in part 1 of this series, “Ken Ham and AiG approach global warming . . . with a cascade of arguments that often seem to conflict with each other.” Having worked through 35 AiG articles on the topic, I have been able to identify seven basic arguments, and I have organized them from what seems less important to them (i.e., matters of science) to what seems more important (i.e., matters related to politics and the Bible).
As discussed in the last blog post, the first three arguments are as follows:
- There is no conclusive evidence that the Earth is warming.
- But if the Earth is warming, it is not significant, and it is not because of us.
- But if the Earth is warming and it is significant, that may very well be a good thing.
Evidence provided to support argument #3 includes easier shipping in the Arctic as the ice melts (what about New Orleans?), increased agricultural production in northern Canada (what about Nebraska?), and the fact that more people die of cold than heat (the hotter it is, the better for human longevity?)
And there is the argument that the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will result in “increased crop yields and enhanced forest growth.” It turns out that this argument is also a favorite of William Happer, who apparently has just been appointed to head Trump’s panel on climate change and national security (even though he has no expertise in climate science). According to Happer, “the demonization of carbon dioxide . . . [is] just like the demonization of the poor Jews under Hitler.”
Trivializing the Holocaust should be beyond anyone’s moral pale. But the suggestion that folks concerned about global warming are driven by a Nazi-like political correctness is actually in keeping with one of AiG’s favorite arguments:
4. Anti-global warming activists are driven by politics and greed.
Anti-global warming activists believe Big Government “is responsible for [our] salvation,” even though their proposed governmental regulations would be very “cost[ly] to individuals and businesses,” and even though – in the end – a full-scale attack on global warming “is more likely to ruin the economies of first-world nations than make any significant impact.” But these hysterically uninformed activists are driven by a “desire to change our way of life, and in particular, the Christian worldview that has guided the Western Hemisphere,” and they are supported by liberal journalists and celebrities who promote their global warming propaganda. The anti-global warming activists want to muzzle all those who “are uncomfortable with the politically correct version of the man-made global warming crisis,” to the point of wanting to criminalize dissent. All the while “there is big money in climate change issues” for climate change scientists and businesses, and especially for climate change cheerleader Al Gore.
In the 35 AiG articles I examined there is nary a word about the “big money” made by fossil fuel corporations, and nary a word about the millions of dollars these corporations are spending to persuade us that the earth is not warming. Whether or not any of their money is going to AiG, the Koch brothers et al. certainly have to love AiG’s message. More on this in the next post.
And thanks to Joe Arrendale, my graduate assistant and a doctoral student at the University of Dayton, for his work of gathering and summarizing the AiG climate change articles.