And While We’re At It, Let’s Talk Global Warming

And While We’re At It, Let’s Talk Global Warming June 24, 2015
Mean weather. Moore tornado aftermath. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Official US Navy Page Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by
Mean weather. Moore tornado aftermath. Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by Official US Navy Page Photo Source: Flickr Creative Commons by

This is my position on global warming:

I don’t know.

How did I arrive at this non-opinion?

I listened to the dueling experts, and got so confused that I decided to stop thinking about it.

Here is my opinion on climate change:

Something’s happening.

How did I arrive at this vague opinion?

I experienced two unprecedented, record-breaking killer tornadoes in 10 years. I watched as unprecedented weather cycles exploded all around. I saw the photos of the ice caps melting, and what happened after Sandy hit New York and Katrina took out New Orleans.

I think — not know, but think — that something’s happening.

I would like to know for myself, but that would require more effort than I’ve been willing to put into it. The fact is that the only way to even begin to understand all this is if I have the math and the science chops to read the original research — all of the original research, from both sides — and then have the chops to understand and synthesize it. After all that, I’d still be giving my opinion as to what it means. But it would be an informed opinion.

I might, if I, as Okies say, went to school on it, be able to figure out the research. But it would be like bailing out a lake with a bucket to get there. I just don’t have the push to take it on.

There clearly are big money political agendas at play in the argument. We are obviously being propagandized and lied to.

I don’t have the science and math chops to grok the original research on climate change and global warning without making a huge effort at self-education. But I do have the political chops to recognize this hysterical and dishonest tsunami of political propaganda for what it is.

We’re being manipulated in a crude and overbearing fashion. I am, to be honest, a bit flummoxed by how emotional and crazy-acting people who’ve been through this “education” program become whenever someone questions the craziness they’ve been taught. It’s weird to see heretofore passionate Catholics who’ve condemned others for choosing their political kool-aid over the Church flip like a flapjack and do the same thing themselves.

I understand, or I think I do, why they get so angry and out of it when they do this. It’s because they’ve become addicted to being propagandized and the addiction has cut off their thinking, reasoning brains.

If I can get even one or two people to calm down and start thinking with their own brains instead of warping out on repeating what they’ve been taught by people who are manipulating them, I will consider this blog a success. It isn’t so much what they decide, it’s that they, and not the pundits, need to be doing the deciding.

My feeling, which I’ve expressed in the comboxes, is that Pope Francis is the only disinterested party who’s spoken on climate and global warming. He is also the only honest man of the bunch. I trust that Pope Francis is speaking from the heart of Christ and that he — and he alone of all the many blabby pundits opining on this topic — is speaking on behalf  of the poor, the disenfranchised, those without voice in the world’s affairs, and indeed, for all of us.

I absolutely believe that Pope Francis is speaking for the common good.

He’s the only commenter in this whole thing that I respect and trust.

So, I take what he says, including things he says when he evaluates scientific data, very seriously indeed.

I chose Christ. I am convinced that the simplest way, indeed the only way I can follow Christ with surety that I am doing it right, is by following the teachings of the Catholic Church.

I’ve done my deal on being my own god and making my own rules. I’ve sown and reaped the whirlwind of my own moral devisings. It is to me a sign of peace and hope that I can follow the teachings of my Church and not be forced, as Scripture says, to “rely on my own understanding.”

I want to trust in the Lord and do good.

That means, among other things, that when Pope Francis says something, I don’t go off in a rage and throw dirt in the air and pound a stick on the ground like an angry ape. My first reaction must be respect and trust.

I haven’t cancelled out my thinking brain. I took exception to his call to do away with life sentences because I honestly believe that there are certain people who must be locked up to ensure the public safety. But me, taking exception with the pope, is, as we say here in Oklahoma, as rare as hen’s teeth.

Even then, I did not dismiss what the pope said out of hand, and I certainly did not dismiss it in favor of some vicious talking head on tv or internet pundit. I based my reaction on a lifetime of dealing with both the perpetrators and the victims of violent crime in my former house district.

I looked at it from the perspective of someone who has considered these matters for almost two decades while living with the responsibility of having to decide. I have given a lot of thought and had to make many hard decisions about how to create laws that would allow for both justice and the public safety in these matters.

In short, I had a lot of experience and knowledge on which to form my opinion, and I tried to base my conclusions on what is best for the common good. More to the point, I did not — and will never — challenge Pope Francis’ authority in my life as my papa, the Holy Father.

For the same reasons, I am going to accept what he says about global warming. I don’t have the knowledge, understanding and longtime experience in the area of climatology to form an intelligent opinion. I honestly do not know of my own understanding what is fact and what is flim-flam in the discussions of global warming.

I am certain without doubt that there are lying liars afoot and that the reason for all the lying is $$$$$.

The one person I trust who has spoken on this is the pope.

Now, I’m going to let Public Catholic readers thrash this out. But be warned: I am a Catholic woman and this is a Catholic blog. Disrespecting the pope is not allowed here.


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25 responses to “And While We’re At It, Let’s Talk Global Warming”

  1. I’m pretty much right there with you on this. I don’t know either. I don’t have the background in statistics or science to wade through the data and I don’t trust most of the commentators on it. I don’t trust either side not to manipulate things to further their ideas. However, some things I AM really sure about, environmentally, are that everyone needs clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and clean soil to grow food in (or food grown in clean soil). I also think that, if we work toward these, it will help in ways we might not foresee right now. It’s something to work toward globally, because there are a lot of places out there where clean water or clean air is out of reach.
    Around here, you won’t find too many people who’d identify as environmentalists (it has some pretty negative connotations), but many who would happily talk with you about conservation–responsible management of lands and wildlife, balancing livestock and wildlife, keeping rivers and lakes clean, keeping invasive plant and animal species out. People here make their living off the land and they don’t want to see it destroyed.

  2. Those are good points Rebecca. It really is about conservation; conservation of what God has given us within sane boundaries. I agree environmentalism has a deservedly bad reputation. In this as in most everything else, extremists on both sides are destructive. Thanks.

  3. Hi Rebecca, I like your reasoning. …but…a few objections.

    Regarding GW, the real question is not if the planet is warming but is man causing it? No scientist supporting GW has ever applied the traditional scientific method to support the theory. My position is, if a person is going to make the claim of man made global warming they should prove it. That has never happened.

    Regarding climate change, it’s the same question. Everyone agrees the climate changes, the question becomes does man change it. Once again no proof exists, scientific method never applied by any scientist to date. I also reject your reasons for believing climate change. Violent storms and tornados are tracked yearly and they have been decreasing for the last several decades, I think all the way back to the 50’s. This is simply reading charts it’s not opinion.

    Regarding the Pope, let’s agree he is disinterested in the politics of the science but how does that help? The Pope is not a scientist and his conclusions are based on who he has advising him. As has been mentioned nationally, the Pope may not have had any diversity of thought on his panel. That was a charge made by a french scientist who was uninvited days before the meeting of scientists with the Pope.

    Also, don’t forget the Pope does concede in the encyclical man may not be causing these global problems. It’s just his opinion based on the advice he received, which I believe was most certainly biased. The truth will eventually come out.

    Regarding the Church and science, it’s not a perfect record. Galileo told the Pope the earth was round and the Church went with the scientific consensus of the day that it was flat (and put Galileo on house arrest).
    How’d that work out for the Church? I’m sure the Pope prayed over it, but maybe not.

    Bottom line is consensus science means absolutely nothing (this is what the Pope based his opinion on). The only thing that matters is proof, not that the climate changes or warms, but that man has caused it. For me, no proof, no belief.

    Peace

  4. Honest, direct, truthful, and accurate. I cannot explain how much I appreciate this.

  5. I did so enjoy Sebastian Flyte… sigh… I do admit that FW Ken was getting old.

    As to global warming, yes, the world’s has been getting warmer since the last ice age 10,000 or so years ago, and specially since the last phase of the Little Ice Age ended about 1850. Is it human caused? Is it bad? I wouldn’t mind English grapes, which grew in England during a previous warming period. Is a longer growing season that bad a thing? How about the fact that CO2 is useful for growing plants? And is violent weather really on the increase?

    See, just raising these questions will, in some places get me called a variety of unpleasant names, by people who won’t answer the questions.

    So yes, the subject is a surrogate for multiple facets of the same culture wars. I’m sorry the pope brought it up, given that he has an important message regarding stewardship of the earth. No on is going to hear that message, in afraid.

  6. Galileo and numerous other scientists of his day were, with the patronage of bishops and cardinals, working on the theory of helio-centrism (As opposed to geo-centrism). People knew the earth was round. Galileo was put under house arrest (yes by the inquisition–not the same as the Spanish Inquisition)) for teaching theories ( some of which turned out to be false) as proven fact and would not stop doing so (and he was apparently not very diplomatic and pissed off his patron and some other powerful people). The Church was waiting for established, working mathematics and models before changing a long-standing physical and metaphysical teaching about the Earth being the center of the universe. Nobody put Copernicus or Kepler under house arrest or took them to the inquisition, though they worked on the same theories.

  7. I believe there has been global warming, as Ken said, wine grapes in Britain. I also know that for the past 2 seasons scientific expeditions have gotten stuck in thicker than normal Antarctic ice. And that there is a sub-polar ice volcano in Iceland that has been erupting for 2 years, melting ice. And a volcano eruption in the ’80’s caused a cool summer around the whole northern hemisphere.
    This is a complex system.
    I am always suspicious of people looking for grant money, as well.
    I’m also in danger of getting burned at the stake, banished or imprisoned for not “believing” and not by the Church. I don’t think that was so much a point of the encyclical, though. It sure is meandering.

  8. The overwhelming consensus of climate scientists is that there is global warming, and that it is due almost completely to increased greenhouse gasses. Yes, we hear competing voices, but that is because those in opposition to the overwhelming consensus are louder, and because the media likes to present both sides as equal (or close to equal), even when they’re not. Here was a recent article showing different inputs to global temperature and how they have changed over the last 100+ years. http://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2015-whats-warming-the-world/

  9. “I absolutely believe that Pope Francis is speaking for the common good.”

    Yes. I do too. I’m with you. I don’t know. I should, being in the environmental business for 40 years, but I don’t. The professor at Harvard whose name is on the award given to Gore and who was Al’s influence to champion his cause later in his years admitted to being wrong but by that time the train had left the station and now there is no stopping it. I suspect that there are far greater causes of climate change than the artificial increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and that there is too much research money to be lost in admitting that we are not the major cause of climate change. We’ve always had climate change. It fluctuates naturally and there really is no ideal carbon dioxide concentration.

  10. Thank you for this. More of us (very much including myself) should be in the habit of being as forthright when we’re having trouble “understanding what is fact and what is flim-flam”.

    I have various opinions and hunches on this one, but all I really know for certain is that I’ve been lied to by a whole lot of people on both sides…and many more on both sides have no idea what they’re talking about.

  11. Tom, I read the article. Lots of loose information and squiggly lines. Where does the information come from, ie, locations of stations, how many and conditions; have those stations measuring changed over time; has number, methods of recordings, dates changed over time. Can the results quoted be replicated? I even looked at the notes and none of that info was included. Ok, it’s Bloomberg.
    Also, the data for the last several years, I don’t remember how many, 4 or 5, I think, has been altered with some unfavorable results omitted.
    So, I’d like to suggest you read The Skeptical Environmentalist by Bjorn Lomborg for a broader perspective.
    Maybe, maybe not. Blood letting used to be the medical consensus, btw.

  12. I read this patheos article a while back. Its an interview with somebody who’s both a climate scientist and a Christian:

    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/thehighcalling/2015/6/climate-change-is-fact-not-faith-gods-creation-is-running-a-fever/

    Its true that the scientific consensus has been wrong before. Any guess on how the errors have been discovered and corrected? You guessed right: by doing science. That’s why we don’t do bloodletting anymore. I think our methods have gotten significantly better since those days.

    The people who allude to some kind of “grand conspiracy” completely misrepresent what science is all about. The point is not to conform to the mold but to break it. All our advancements come from people who challenge the status quo and create a better model, that more accurately explains the data.

    That’s not what I’m seeing from global warming skeptics. All their efforts, arguments and “research”, have exactly one purpose: to do nothing.

    If you refute the conclusions from climate scientists on the matter, then the most obvious follow up questions become: What is causing it then? How do we go about discovering what’s really causing climate change? Once we discover that cause, what can we do about it?

    But they won’t go there. All they say is: “Its not man made, therefore, we don’t have to change anything about the way we obtain, distribute and consume our planet’s resources”.

    We’ve seen this before with tobacco companies refusing to admit smoking causes cancer and the fight to get lead out of our gasoline. This is the same dance all over again.

    At first they were saying global warming was a hoax. Then they changed their tune to “its real, but not man-made”. If it were up to them, they will continue to stall until we all agree on “its real, its man-made and its too late to do anything about it so we’ll will soon be extinct”, before any action is taken.

    Its gotten so bad that even the Pope is getting flak for saying global warming is man-made, saying that he’s bought into the “leftist propaganda”. I guess the Pope’s critics have a point; its not like the Vatican has a scientific agency that can independently verify the data and corroborate the claims, right?

    Oh, wait…

    Anyways, I think one of the greatest benefits from the Pope’s statements is that by framing it as a moral issue, it doesn’t matter what your stance is on global warming; you’re still compelled to care for the environment as a matter of principle.

  13. “The Pope is not a scientist”

    WAH??? O_0

    Does having a degree in Chemistry disqualify Papa Francis? And after having actually studied/taught Chemistry? I mean Chemistry is one of the finer arts of Science, yes? While he may not work at M.I.T. or Cal Tech, I am sure gonna trust that he knows of what he speaks. He may not be an expert on climate change but I sure trust his reading of the times.

    Rebecca, I really appreciate what you have written. I am tired of all of the armchair theologians/economists raking the Holy Father over the coals. I trust what our Holy Father is saying as well and see so much more to Laudatio Si than climate change.

    Thanks for your truth and your clarity.

  14. We are stewards of God’s green earth after all and yep, Papa Francis is reminding us, while challenging us, to take up our responsibilities for the very much needed common good of all.

  15. Although I’m a skeptic and don’t have a lot of confidence in people who claim they are pure scientists while living on grants, I agree with your last sentence.
    Doesn’t matter whether climate change is natural, from us or whatever, we have to be good stewards of the earth. That also means caring for all human life from conception to natural death, which is the point of the encyclical.

  16. When I was in college in the ’70’s we were expecting the new ice age. Time magazine had a huge feature article on it. Want me to look up the citation for you?

  17. Well, I am not one to dismiss outright but trust what Pope Francis says whether or not he lacks a doctorate in Chemistry.

  18. Galileo wasn’t imprisoned for saying the earth was flat but for saying that the sun stands still and the earth moves around it. The people of his time all believed that the earth was round; the idea that they didn’t was a 19th century calumny against earlier times.

  19. “don’t have a lot of confidence in people who claim they are pure scientists while living on grants”

    Look at it this way, right now Republicans are slashing budgets for universities and even NASA for funding climate science research. If you want to make money from ‘grants’ then saying ‘global warming is real and a problem’ seems one of the fastest way for politicians to accuse you of trying to politicize an issue and attempt to cut your budget.

    It’s not the fiscally wise thing to do.

  20. Z, the “slashing of budgets” you mentions means: FY2015: $2 billion
    FY2016:$2 billion. That’s what academia and federal agencies call slashing.
    “Climate science” is not usually a high ticket item unless you make it a “crisis.” That’s how you get more money. You don’t have to believe me. Go to omb.gov and look at the budget.
    NASA needs to do space administration stuff rather than getting tangled in this, but now, it’s totally politicized.