Mar 272015
 
symington

Alex Symington

by Alexander Symington…

I went to the movies the other night and saw a preview for a documentary called, “Merchants of Doubt”. I was curious about it, so I did a little interweb sleuthing and discovered that the documentary exposes professional science deniers as a group; well funded by special interests that have found a niche career casting doubt on overwhelming scientific evidence that is deemed a threat to the corporate status quo. This particular hatchet job is currently being focused on climate change science, but the same gang used the same tactics to create doubt and muddy the waters in debate over evolutionary biology, ozone depletion and the dangers of asbestos and tobacco, thus stalling changes in laws and safety regulations that are beneficial to the citizens, but might damage the particular culprit’s bottom line.

The subjects of climate change, global warming and sea level rise are of great importance to me as a resident of South Florida, the canary-in-the-coal-mine state. As the governor of Florida recently decreed from on high, although muffled by his head being in the sand (or was it some other dark place?), “We shan’t use the unpleasant phrase “Climate Change” any longer and sea level rise shall henceforth be referred to as “nuisance flooding”… Really?! I would say that half of our state slipping under the sea is a little more than a nuisance. We’re not talking thousands of years from now before we are feeling it, either. The rising sea level has already begun to affect the fresh water aquifer with salt intrusion and even before we are under salt water all together we will be without fresh water. No golf courses for the snow birds. No car washes. No lush tropical landscapes. No ice for those Mojitos. No life that is dependent upon fresh, sweet water, i.e. No human life. So, the governor of ground zero says “just say no to climate change”? This is the best game plan to counter the rising seas he can come up with? If he was Emperor he would be buck naked.

Poor Rick Scott…His absurd denial is driven by his myopic hyper-capitalist vision of the world. Instead of buckling down and working with these scientists to figure out a battle plan to counter global warming, he has doubled down with his unimaginative and childish position of ignoring reality and maintaining business as usual. He is putting on a good front for investors and developers that are still coming to Florida to do their thing. If the cold hard truth was discussed and the governor concurred with that cold truth would the money still be coming in? That is Rick Scott’s singular concern. To hell with the future!

As the movie points out, unfortunately, the onus is on the 97% of actual scientists to make the case that climate change is a very real event and human behavior is the cause. The Guardian reports, “As one scientist points out in the film, they have to prove their case while their opponents only have to sow the seeds of doubt. Nowhere is that more keenly felt than in climate change, with a massive disconnect between public acceptance and the political will to act.”

“Merchants of Doubt” is a film adaptation of the 2010 book of the same name by professor of scientific history at Harvard, Naomi Oreskes. Professor Oreskes is understandably taken aback by Governor Scott’s Orwellian decree, “So breathtaking that you don’t really know how to respond to it.”

Professor Oreskes clarifies her fears of inaction by suggesting “that the threat of climate change is so extreme, and time to curb its accelerating effects so short, that the scientific community should abandon its conservative, 95% confidence standard – which, she argues, is an unfair burden of proof that has no actual basis in nature.” Her point being, “there is no debate, and by entering the semantics of a debate, you’ve already lost.”

The gravy-train-free-ride-no-tomorrow is over. Our appetite for destruction has reached critical mass and denial is not a solution. I don’t think people like Rick Scott can be bothered to look past their noses and beyond the next quarter. While Rick is worried about investors in the short term, NOAA informs us that “In 2010, 123.3 million people, or 39 percent of the nation’s population lived in counties directly on the shoreline. This population is expected to increase by 8% from 2010 to 2020.” It’s simply a matter of taking your medicine now or undergoing major surgery later.

Our “leaders” are going to act surprised when Miami and NYC are no longer viable centers of commerce and constantly under water at high tide. Gee, talk about financial losses! Or are they so incredibly short sighted and focused on that next quarterly profit report they don’t care? Do these soulless, mindless empty suits even give a damn about their own grand children? It boggles the mind and I echo Professor Oreskes statement on the insane denial of climate change, “So breathtaking that you don’t really know how to respond.”

Alex Symington

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/mar/15/climate-change-denial-florida–global-warming-naomi-oreskes-interview

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/may/16/climate-research-nearly-unanimous-humans-causes

http://www.newrepublic.com/article/121341/florida-gov-rick-scotts-ban-climate-change-hasnt-halted-action

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/03/19/1372031/-The-phenomenon-that-can-not-be-spoken-in-Florida-continues-as-salt-water-intrusion-moves-inland

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/population.html

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/03/neil-degrasse-tyson-slams-florida-ban-on-phrase-climate-change-i-thought-we-were-better-than-this/

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 March 27, 2015  Posted by at 3:55 am Alex Symington, Issue #107  Add comments

  16 Responses to “Ground Zero”

  1. Alex, your article took my breath away. Wonderful layout of the issues. Fla gov’s take on “climate” change reminds me of “Alice’s” conversation with “Humpty Dumpty”:
    ‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’

    ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’

    Your article, Alex, goes a long way toward stripping the clothes off Florida’s Presumed Emperor’s jabberwocky, thanks.

  2. The “nuisance flooding” phrase is so outrageous I had to look it up. It’s there! I think, though, that Scott did not himself say it: rather, state officials are forced to use it because of Scott’s ban on climate change, sea level rise, global warming. So it comes to the same thing. Scott may not have said it, but forces the people who work for him to do so.

  3. Alex,

    Your intelligence, tenacity and passion are qualities that I admire and respect. Your sincerity and authenticity provide examples of conduct, which are molding our world and cosmos into a better place.

    Please allow me to share the following with you.

    GeoEngineering Watch: “When prominent “scientists” from governments and universities are caught lying again and again about issues as dire as climate change, is it any wonder there are a great many people that have lost all trust in the so called “experts”? Is it any wonder why many people are now skeptical of any information that is put out by such questionable sources? In addition to the often false and misleading information being dispensed from many “scientists”, there seems to be a level of arrogance, self worship, and mutual admiration that is at times shocking”.

    Four prominent British scientists were caught, as they attempted to perpetrate a scientific fraud in support of global warming and man-made climate change. Their scientific misconduct discredited the research and findings supporting their theories. Their claims were invalidated.

    Dr. Eric Karlstrom, Professor Emeritus of Geography at California State University said: “Global warming is a phony science that was concocted to justify implementation of an international political agenda. This pseudo-science is the centerpiece of a phony environmental political agenda…”.

    As you know, there are a plethora of credentialed Doctors and Scientists who are not in agreement with your theory. I guess we could get into a duel of battling experts, however, that would undermine your position.

    Science has been politicized. Unfortunately, we’ve arrived at a point where funded ideologies determine “what is truth”.

    Gov. Rick Scott is my friend. After a previous governor and attorney general were willing to go along with the execution of a man they knew to be innocent, Gov. Scott stepped in and put a stop to this attempted murder.

    As this injustice was being worked, he appointed a new Secretary of Prisons who allowed this innocent inmate to speak with the woman who had raised him by phone, uninterrupted, from the warden’s office, the night before this woman died.

    Alex, you are a brilliant and compassionate man. I wish I had more of your traits and characteristics. I am drawn to your spirit. Your voice is powerful and persuasive. Please make room in your life for people that you don’t agree with. There is a lot that we all can learn.

    Love, Blessings & Respect…

    • John, Whatever “phony environmental political agenda” may be involved in whatever malfeasance that has occurred on the climate change side of this debate is microscopic compared to the vested interests involved in denying climate change.

  4. Alex,

    Your intelligence, tenacity and passion are qualities that I admire and respect. Your sincerity and authenticity provide examples of conduct, which are molding our world and cosmos into a better place.

    Please allow me to share the following with you.

    GeoEngineering Watch: “When prominent “scientists” from governments and universities are caught lying again and again about issues as dire as climate change, is it any wonder there are a great many people that have lost all trust in the so called “experts”? Is it any wonder why many people are now skeptical of any information that is put out by such questionable sources? In addition to the often false and misleading information being dispensed from many “scientists”, there seems to be a level of arrogance, self worship, and mutual admiration that is at times shocking”.

    Four prominent British scientists were caught, as they attempted to perpetrate a scientific fraud in support of global warming and man-made climate change. Their scientific misconduct discredited the research and findings supporting their theories. Their claims were invalidated.

    Dr. Eric Karlstrom, Professor Emeritus of Geography at California State University said: “Global warming is a phony science that was concocted to justify implementation of an international political agenda. This pseudo-science is the centerpiece of a phony environmental political agenda…”.

    As you know, there are a plethora of credentialed Doctors and Scientists who are not in agreement with your theory. I guess we could get into a duel of battling experts, however, that would undermine your position.

    Science has been politicized. Unfortunately, we’ve arrived at a point where funded ideologies determine “what is truth”.

    Gov. Rick Scott is my friend. After a previous governor and attorney general were willing to go along with the execution of a man they knew to be innocent, Gov. Scott stepped in and put a stop to this attempted murder.

    As this injustice was being worked, he appointed a new Secretary of Prisons who allowed this innocent inmate to speak with the woman who had raised him by phone, uninterrupted, from the warden’s office, the night before this woman died.

    Alex, you are a brilliant and compassionate man. I wish I had more of your traits and characteristics. I am drawn to your spirit. Your voice is powerful and persuasive. Please make room in your life for people that you don’t agree with. There is a lot that we all can learn.

    Love, Blessings & Respect…

  5. Jerome,

    Unfortunately and Unnecessarily, its turned into a high skates game. Science is not founded on guesses and political muscle to get the outcomes wanted.

    The handling of this matter has catapulted us further from the truth.

    I don’t like people going out of their way to lie to me. Do the work. Prove your position with certainty and clarity, so that it can be transparently replicated.

    As usual, I’m grateful Alex brought it up. Your perceptions and ideas are invaluable. Thank you.

    Blessings & Respect

  6. Hard to imagine any real progress being made, if it affects corporate profits and/or funding for scientific research provided by big business, big military, big government …

    I wonder two things about climate change (global warming):

    First, how much is due to human beings, and how much is due to the planet perhaps going though a natural warming cycle?

    Second, regardless of what is the cause of global warming, does anyone in this discussion actually think humanity will, or can, do anything about it?

    I don’t see anyone I know, for example, giving up his/her car or truck, for a bicycle. I don’t see any cigarette smoker I know giving that up. I don’t see oil companies changing their spots. Nor chemical companies. Nor agribusinesses. Nor armies, navies or air forces.

    I always thought, if seas rise, the thing to do would be to move to higher ground, instead of trying to fight the rising water. Yet here in the Florida Keys,the view is to stay and build higher, raise the roads, etc.

    Then there is my age factor. I’m 72. I just can’t get exited about one-half of Key West, for example, being under water in 50 years. I see plenty of things in Key West crying for immediate attention, and not getting it. Such as, 6000 affordable rental units are needed.

    I imagine Mother Nature would be delighted for climate change to defoliate the human population on this planet. Perhaps she’s in on the global warming. Perhaps she’s defending herself from human beings in a sneaky way.

    Perhaps ETs like global warming. Perhaps they are helping it along, because they want this planet for themselves after it is warmer and more suitable for them than its current temperatures.

    Perhaps human beings are slated for extermination by powers that be, which oversee such operations, and global warming part of the human exit strategy.

    I imagine only the discovery of a cheap new form of energy, perhaps cold fusion, perhaps conversion of dark matter, readily available to all (fat chance), will lead to human beings not mining this planet for energy, and not filling the atmosphere with chemicals.

    Another solution is a lot less human beings. Oh, I already said that :-).

    • Sloan, One of my favorite expressions is to say, referring to human beings, “that it’s time for us to go”. How quickly the Earth would heal itself.

  7. John,
    Did you read my essay? Rick Scott is simply caught up in something bigger than all of us. He is trapped in the hyper-capitalist matrix that we all are victim to. As for the science, when 95% of any group agree on ANYTHING, I’m going to side with them over the remaining 5% of contrarians. Sorry about that. I’m glad Rick Scott stepped up and prevented an innocents execution, but that doesn’t alter other behavior of his that is negative or harmful.

    I’ll repeat Professor Oreskes’ point, when the overwhelming majority of scientists agree (97%) “there is no debate, and by entering the semantics of a debate, you’ve already lost.”

    BTW:
    http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/gov-rick-scott-signs-bill-to-speed-up-executions-in-florida/2126764

    http://fcir.org/2014/02/17/rick-scott-now-holds-record-for-most-state-executions-in-first-term-chavez-florida-most-exonerated/

    http://fcir.org/2015/03/08/in-florida-officials-ban-term-climate-change/

  8. Alex,

    You address the compelling issues of our day. Without your keeping our feet to the fire, our spiraling drift towards where others will take us, would go unchecked and unexamined.

    Rarely, if ever, have I mentioned my involvement with Gov. Scott. Given the serious nature of my exchanges with him, which resulted in a resolution sparing an innocent man from being murdered by the state, my opinion of Gov. Scott is favorable.

    I am trained as a scientist. I’m thoroughly acquainted with the scientific method. Throughout this process accurate and valid standards of measurements, free of bias and self-fulfilling analysis, along with transparent experiments producing reliable results, all carried out in a controlled environment free from all contaminants, factors and variables that could alter or influence the outcome of the hypothesis being evaluated; is an absolute requirement, if you are to with certainty verify the accumulated data. Absent any of these ingredients, the hypotheses//theory remain just that, an unproven hypothesis and an unproven theory.

    It is a simple, clear, clean and an irrefutable method designed to prove and establish a fact (truth), as it relates to an issue being studied.

    Global warming and man-made climate change are theories that have not met this standard.

    That does not mean it is not occurring. It means that it has not been proven as a fact (truth).

    Perhaps the training I received as a scientist, is no longer required to validate a position that is being presented as scientifically proven, accurate and true.

    High-jacking this invaluable tool (scientific method) by any entity to push a political agenda, ideology or the basis upon which we proceed as a nation, is a treachery capable of destroying the world.

    I’ve attempted to secure, study and research the ‘Actual Data’ accrued by several scientists claiming to have prove their propositions (Global warming–man-made climates change). It was easier to make the Department of Corrections release an inmate that they wanted to kill, then cooperatively work with these alleged men/women of science.

    Authentic science and scientists do not behave this way. They do not form political alliances with groups that expect and are willing to purchase a specific result. That is much more than a hoax, fraud or junk science. It is a criminal conspiracy serving their own self-interests, at the expense of destroyed nations, cultures and societies.

    I am a Conservationist and Environmentalist. If we don’t have verifiable and irrefutable scientific findings, from which we can draw reliable data to develop public policy, our decisions and actions will be corrupted by the highest bidder. Those influencing the decisions made in DC will thrive as our quality of live deteriorates.

    Again Alex, without your courageous involvement and advocacy, we would not be having this discussion. Thank you.

    Blessings & Respect

  9. 97% scientists concur as ‘believers’?

    BALDERDASH!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyUDGfCNC-k#t=14

  10. Everyone, Wow, it is amazing how this issue cranks out the passion. Anyone with an objective mind knows that science sometimes gets it wrong, or that some personal issues might taint a finding. What makes me even more in harmony with the climate change backers is just how much this has become a POLITICAL issue. There is no reason for this to happen other than vested interests in a fossil fuel based economy wanting to hold onto what they’ve got. Yes, sometimes malfeasance taints science, but in a general sense, I’ll trust the scientific community far more than the financial community protecting their material interests. C’mon. it’s a no brainer. However, can they be wrong about climate change? Of course, but if they are, sooner or later it will come out in the wash and they will admit it. That is what makes science science. I love you guys, ciao, PCM

    • The question is how long are you going to wait to take a look at the wash? And when are you going to stop enjoying being lied to? They will admit they were wrong?…Ha, that’s a good one.

      The ‘humans’ that are causing havoc on the planet are the ones that have control over it. Wouldn’t your time be better spent questioning why Tesla type energy technologies have been stunted and how can you have a conversation about climate change without addressing the geoengineering that the Military Industrial Complex has been engaged in for decades?

      I’ve seen a few reports stating that NASA confirms CO2 actually cools the atmosphere…and it definitely produces more plant growth.

      It’s time to take a look at the wash, boys.

  11. the passion is not for the issue but what the issue pretends to be….first it was global cooling..oops….then it was global warming..oops….now its climate change since the other two didn’t pan out too well….but behind the curtain looms infamous ‘agenda 21’ and a un sponsored and promoted ‘world carbon tax’ pushed by the ‘new world order’… Orwellian speak for a unified totalitarian world regime… as the sheeple sleep!

  12. It really don’t matter how this is spun, it’s gonna take non-human solution(s) to straighten out the mess Earthlings have made of things among themselves and of this planet.

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