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Presidential Wannabe Rick Santorum’s Climate Change Fantasies

more from Hrafnkell Haraldsson
Wednesday, June, 8th, 2011, 5:36 pm

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Now that Rick Santorum, the man who calls himself not just “a” but “the true conservative,” has decided to make a run for President in 2012 it’s important to understand just how utterly deluded, dishonest and perhaps most importantly of all, ignorant, a candidate he is. I will pick on just one point here: anthropogenic global warming.

In a June 5, 2008 article, the anti-science, anti-evolution Santorum said this about global warming:

[M]aybe Americans are coming to understand that global temperatures have actually cooled over the last 10 years and are predicted to continue cooling over the next 10.

The problem is that the exact opposite is true: the planet has been getting hotter since 1880 and most of this has, according to NASA, occurred since the 1970s “with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years.” And the last 10 years, the decade Santorum says “actually cooled” were, according to the WMO, the warmest decade on record.

As for his prediction that the next 10 years would show continued cooling, NASA says (and NOAA agrees) that 2010 tied with 2005 for the hottest year.  In fact, as the Telegraph reports that James Hansen, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) says that the Earth’s temperature “has been above average for 34 consecutive years.”

To the best of my knowledge Santorum has never tendered the claim made by some climate deniers that the sun is causing global warming, but in anticipation of denier objections let’s make clear that NASA says that,

Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase.

The NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) said in a press release dated April 9, 1999, “solar increases do not have the ability to cause large global temperature increases…greenhouse gases are indeed playing the dominant role…”

Above average temperatures for thirty-four consecutive years. Hotter and hotter.

I don’t know who Santorum thinks is predicting cooling over the next 10 years but you can bet 1) it’s not a climatologist, and 2) he works for or is funded by the fossil fuel industry.

Santorum said in 2008 he is worried about our economy. He was right to worry. The collapse had begun in March and things were not looking to get any better. President George W. Bush, soon to leave office at the end of his second term, had just spent eight years doing his very best to destroy it by fighting two wars and increasing spending, and deregulating Wall Street, all while lowering taxes and thus reducing federal revenue.

But Santorum thinks concern for our environment is bad for our economy, not the Republican fiscal policies that destroyed it.

Now granted, Republicans don’t like the EPA and the Bush Administration even said the EPA did not have the right to protect the environment, despite their name, “Environmental PROTECTION Agency,” but the EPA’s report, “Climate Change Indicators in the United States” lays out the problem in clear, concise language. The EPA’s report offers us the following:

U.S. and Global Temperature. Average temperatures have risen across the lower 48 states since 1901, with an increased rate of warming over the past 30 years. Seven of the top 10 warmest years on record for the lower 48 states have occurred since 1990, and the last 10 five-year periods have been the warmest five-year periods on record. Average global temperatures show a similar trend, and 2000–2009 was the warmest decade on record worldwide. Within the United States, parts of the North, the West, and Alaska have seen temperatures increase the most.

And, of course, we can’t ignore:

Heat Waves. The frequency of heat waves in the United States decreased in the 1960s and 1970s, but has risen steadily since then. The percentage of the United States experi­encing heat waves has also increased. The most severe heat waves in U.S. history remain those that occurred during the “Dust Bowl” in the 1930s, although average temperatures have increased since then.

NASA says the same. Their Global Climate Change site offers the stark reality:

Arctic Sea Ice Minimum: -11.5% per decade. In 2007, Arctic summer sea ice reached its lowest extent on record.

Carbon Dioxide: +390 parts per million. C02 concentrations are at their highest in 650,000 years.

Sea Level: +3.27 mm per year. The global average sea level has risen 4-8 inches over the past century.

Global Temperature: +1.5 degrees average temperature since 1880. January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record.

Land Ice (Greenland): -100 billion tons per year . Greenland ice lost doubled between 1996 and 2005.

I don’t know, that doesn’t sound like cooling to me. I think it would be charitable at this point to call Santorum stupid. He is clearly, whatever his intellectual deficits, a stooge for the fossil fuel industry. There is clearly a problem when facts appear invisible to Santorum. Not only did he get in reverse the cooling-warming thing, he somehow interpreted 33% to be a negative:

“according to a recent ABC News poll, only 33 percent of Americans believe man-made global warming is the world’s most serious environment crisis.”

What he neglects to mention is that 33% is the highest percentage given, the next being a related problem, air-pollution, coming in at 13%. No other “environmental problem” (the term the actual poll uses) rated higher than 6%, making that 33% significant in a completely opposite way than Santorum claims. He also neglected to mention that 75% of people polled trusted what scientists say about the environment (moderate, lot, completely) compared to 24% who trust them little or not at all.

Santorum wrote in a December 17, 2009 article for the Philadelphia Enquirer that,

“It is one thing for ideologically driven science to indoctrinate children in classrooms. It is another for politicians to use science to destroy national economies and redistribute global wealth. I refer, of course, to the latest scientific non-controversy, man-made global warming.”

I agree with Santorum that it’s a non-controversy. The evidence is there and it’s insurmountable, and Santorum has by denying it repeatedly demonstrated himself to be the living embodiment of his name’s meaning.

C02 Graph from NASA Global Climate Change

Sunspots Graph from Stanford Solar Center

Presidential Wannabe Rick Santorum’s Climate Change Fantasies was written by Hrafnkell Haraldsson for PoliticusUSA.
© PoliticusUSA, Wed, Jun 8th, 2011 — All Rights Reserved


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