I was at a meeting with about 20 people the other day and a woman said, “I hate this constant rain.” Someone else said, “Welcome to global warming.” A third person said, “We don’t talk politics here.”
When did scientific facts become political, and when did opinion trump facts? The answer is, when big energy and other corporations began to poo-poo the work of thousands of atmospheric and other scientists worldwide to maintain their hold over all of us for their own profits — this, regardless of the long-term consequences. After all, they will be gone when carbon dioxide levels reach a point that billions around the world are dying of starvation; why should they not be greedy?
The U.S. Department of Defense has issued a report stating that the greatest threat to peace is global warming. Other government agencies have scientific reports that point out global warming is the ultimate existential threat to human life on Earth. These reports come from the Trump administration in spite of President Donald Trump’s insistence — with incidentally, no personal scientific background or advisers — that the whole idea is a hoax.
U.S. Rep. Elise Stefanik, whom I once thought was intelligent, wrote an “essay” on how, instead of governments undertaking programs to slow global warming, we should turn to the free market for a solution. Although she is a Harvard graduate, she should be writing fairy tales, not serious papers. The market is already there. And with the price of photovoltaics plunging, the result will be some solar energy improvements. But not because Elise said so. But we need more than personal finances to incentivize the needed changes. We need serious interventions by all governments around the world and soon.
It is time people start talking about global warming at card parties. The interaction of infrared radiation and carbon dioxide is really not that complicated or hard to understand.
The writer is professor emeritus of physics at SUNY Canton. He previously served as a member and director of the Energy Commission of the state Assembly and Senate.