Key Science Basics Of Climate Change

Fundamental Premises of Climate Change:

Fossil Fuels turn into carbon gases when burned.

  • Any questions?

Carbon gases when burned accumulate in the atmosphere (and oceans).

  • Keeling curve
  • Ocean acidification

Carbon gases cloaking the atmosphere prevent energy (in the form of infrared wavelengths) from leaving the Earth, for space.

  • John Tyndall

Energy trapped on Earth increases global air (and sea) temperature which changes climate, and hence change weather patterns globally (but with varying local impact).

  • Blackbody radiation

Increased heat in the atmosphere changes climate and weather, leading to drastic consequences for farmers, in particular — but also floods, global ice melt, disease and pest travel, drought, etc.

Burning fossil carbon is on its way to destroying our planet as we know it: scientists have concluded that the only safe way forward is to "leave it in the ground".

Fundamental Premises of Climate Change Denial:

People who "own" fossil carbon (coal, oil, gas) want to get their money out of it.

  • Fossil carbon is valuable, tremendously so: rich folks own it, and they want to turn it into cash. The Koch brothers are a great example.

Drilling and digging out the fossil carbon and burning it is the fastest way to get the money out.

Digging/drilling has frequently had serious environmental and health consequences for the public.

  • Shell in Nigeria
  • BP in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Exxon in Alaska
  • Massie Mine disaster
  • Coal slurry disasters, etc.

Companies extracting fossil carbon will value profits over public protection (hence they must be regulated by government).

  • Shell in Nigeria
  • BP in the Gulf of Mexico
  • Exxon in Alaska
  • Massie Mine disaster
  • Coal slurry disasters, etc.

Companies (and the individuals who direct them) will do whatever they can to stifle regulations against despoiling or science which says "keep it in the ground".

  • Politicians have been bought and sold to do their bidding.
  • McConnell is a coal bitch.
  • Scott Pruitt is an EPA villain.
  • Everyone has taken Koch money.
  • Trump has money in DAPL, the Dakota Access pipeline.

These folks are in a hurry: time is not on their side.

  • The 2016 election was actually about climate change, although most folks don't know it.
  • Climate change is coming, and it will be catastrophic for human society. For example, in the lifetime of a child born today, Miami will be gone.
  • The powers that control fossil carbon know the science: they know the consequences of continued burning, but choose to ignore them so that they can maximize their profits today.

So who wins?

  • If we
    • leave it in the ground, the rich won't get their cash.
    • burn it, we destroy the planet (but most people don't believe that).
  • If we
    • leave it in the ground, we'll have to make sacrifice (and people don't like sacrifice).
    • leave it in the ground, we'll all be healthier (and people like a healthier planet — but they might not be aware of how bad burning carbon is for our health and well-being).

Looks like we're going to burn it….

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License