THE COHEN COLUMN--About 40 years ago (are we dating ourselves here?) there was a margarine commercial on TV with the tag line, "It's not nice to fool Mother Nature."
As it turns out, Mother Nature was not amused at being tricked into thinking some chemically manufactured concoction was "her delicious, sweet creamy butter." And that's when she turned all dark and scary with lightning bolts. Of course, this was before scientists discovered the health dangers of unnatural trans-fats. So it really was as frightening as all that.
This was also before we had the sophisticated computer models we have now, and before most scientists recognized the threat of global warming induced climate change. This is now incontrovertible scientific fact, to all but those determined to drown in their own ignorance. And that's what's really scary now.
An overwhelming majority of scientists agree — global warming is happening and human activity is the primary cause. Yet several prominent global warming skeptic organizations are actively working to sow doubt about the facts of global warming.
These organizations play a key role in the fossil fuel industry's "disinformation playbook," a strategy designed to confuse the public about global warming and delay action on climate change. Why? Because the fossil fuel industry wants to sell more coal, oil, and gas — even though the science clearly shows that the resulting carbon emissions threaten our planet. Here is a list of those global warming skeptic organizations.
The planet is not amused by the fact that humans have already dug up, pumped out, and fracked about 50% (known as peak oil) of every atom of carbon sequestered underground over hundreds of millions of years, and thrown that back up into the atmosphere as the greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide. Levels of carbon dioxide are currently sky rocketing so fast on a geological scale they are literally off the chart. That is the hockey stick – so named because the graph looks like a hockey stick laying on its back with the ”toe” pointing upwards to rising temperature.
But the planet will do what planets always do, obey the forces of physics that Newton and Einstein revealed to humanity. There is no practical upper limit on how bad it could get incompatible with human infrastructure as we know it. There are winds on planet Saturn over 1,000 miles an hour. On Earth’s sister planet Venus the atmosphere is more than 96% carbon dioxide producing a greenhouse effect creating an average temperature of 863 degrees Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt lead, hotter than would be anticipated just by the fact that it's a bit closer to the Sun than Earth.
Here on earth today, a temperature anomaly of just a 1.8 degree increase in ocean water temperature has intensified two monstrously destructive category 4-5 hurricanes in a row, with a third, Jose, itself already up to category 4 and ready to hit next, though the U.S. mainland may be spared this one.
We can no longer plead ignorance as a defense. We are fooling with forces of nature that have an inexorable momentum of their own and cannot be subsequently controlled without confronting the root problem - us.
The real scientists, not the few unqualified jerks on social media still shooting their mouths off, are telling us that it is imperative that we find a way to reduce the level of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere to a maximum of 350 parts per million. And if we do not, it's just going to get worse and worse and worse until critical parts of our human infrastructure, mostly on our coasts, are essentially
wiped off the face of the earth with Hawaii and low lying pacific islands losing ground literally.
We are fooling with Mother Nature at our existential peril. It's not going to be nice or pretty. And if you don't like it, move to Saturn or Venus. This is not a liberal vs. conservative issue it is an issue of science.
The Merchants of Doubt explains “how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming “. Employed or funded by the fossil fuel companies or partisan think tanks; using the same strategy used in the past by the tobacco companies to cast doubt on the scientific conclusions extending their profits at the cost of human lives and the health of our only home.
Come on Republicans what will it take before your party get it? Seriously, does every "red" state have to be literally under water before you finally admit that the climate change crisis is real?
Consider the fact that the US Navy is supremely interested in rising seas from global warming – they need harbors for god’s sake. Forbes Magazine asks “Does Our Military Know Something We Don't About Global Warming? Every branch of the United States Military is worried about climate change. They have been since well before it became controversial.”
Ignore the danger and we will have to endure the wrath of Mother Nature. She doesn’t like to be fooled.
We encourage you to donate to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma relief if you’re in a position to do so. You can donate to the Red Cross or to any number of other hurricane related charities you find worthy.
(Michael N. Cohen is a former board member of the Reseda Neighborhood Council, founding member of the LADWP Neighborhood Council Oversight Committee, founding member of LA Clean Sweep and a contributor to CityWatch.)