Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Even Pastor Rick Joyner Ought To Take Note of New Climate Change Report

Rick Joyner is high-powered Pastor (a real one) who operates a Mega-Church from Asheville, NC. He was featured in one of the key segments in the "Ice and Brimstone" episode of "Years of Living Dangerously", shown Sunday night on Showtime. Most of the semi-episode dealing with Joyner had his daughter (an environmental sciences grad from University of North Carolina) trying to "convert" her pop to accepting the scientific evidence for human-caused climate change. At every turn - and no matter who she brought forth (including a fellow Evangelical scientist), Joyner fobbed them off with the same recycled codswallop that "there's no hard evidence" and he has "problems with the math". This even after a former denier (Richard Muller) showed him a graph similar to the Keeling curve (above) and how temperatures have inexorably increased from the Industrial  Revolution.

But for Pastor Joyner and other hardheads the time for denial and refusal has really run out after the release of the report yesterday from the National Climate Assessment Panel - which featured inputs from over 250 climate scientists (not mock climate scientists) as well as oil companies. Their findings, following four years of exhaustive study, ought to make every American -denier or not - sit up and take note. (As noted on the news this morning, only 24% of Americans assign climate change top priority. Would they do the same if a planet killer asteroid was about to strike Earth? Well, climate change is analogous to a slowly moving planet killer (ok, "human inhabitants- of- the -planet",  killer).

The report removes all the "maybes" and "ifs" and asserts ravaging climate change is happening in the here and now costing us hundreds of billions in precious treasury money every year.  Torrential rains, flooding, heat waves, drought and wildfires- they're all getting worse, year by year. The time when Americans could look at the tube and pity people in Arkansas, or NJ or Colorado over a climate-related catastrophe - whether F5 tornado, super storm with massive floods, or wildfires - is over. Everyone's turn will now be coming, and if your burg isn't featured on the nightly news this week, it might be next year.

The report notes that average temperatures already have increased 1.5 degrees in the northeast, the southwest and the great plains. This may not sound significant but it's already adversely affecting the maple syrup industry in Vermont, since the trees are not yielding their treasure at the right times, and the quality is down. In the southwest, drought and high temperatures have allowed the spread of the mountain pine beetle which has turned millions of acres of trees into tinder for wildfires. The same has happened in the great plains.

Meanwhile, the average temperature increase overall in the U.S. has been 1.9 degrees F since 1894. The effects this ongoing increase portends are remarkable, and include:

- Most of the northeast  could see two additional months of 90+ temperatures.

-The southeast will have significantly more 95F weather days and rising sea level

- More heat related deaths will occur in the Midwest with many more days hitting 100F or over

- Warmer water will threaten aquatic life in the Great Lakes. The only fish people are likely to see may be Asian Carp. Lake Huron's temperature alone rose 5 F between 1898 and 2002.

- The southwest has had its hottest decade on record with no sign of easing, which has triggered drought, insect infestation and wildfires.

- Alaska has warmed twice as rapidly as the rest of the country over the past 60 years. This has meant widespread glacier retreat.

Sea levels are projected to rise by 1- 4 feet by 2100, which means Miami Beach will be under water unless pumps or dykes are used to stop the inexorable local effects.

The report also warned on the impacts to human health, including our water supply, our crops and livestock. In the case of water, a number of communities, e.g. in Texas, are already having to recycle sewer water because reservoirs are so low. Meanwhile, with increased heat more communities face risks from cryptosporidium as well as possibly amoebic dysentery (in the more distant future). Already in Florida lakes, a form of antibiotic- resistant bacteria thrives which - if you happen to dive into one with a cut - may be the end of you.  And in earlier blogs, I already wrote of the increase in worm infestations, especially of the human brain, e.g.

I noted that the worms (mainly Taenia solium)  spend time as larvae in large cysts, which find their way into the brain and cause a condition known as neurocysticercosis. Lowball estimates suggest 5 million cases of epilepsy arising from this condition, worldwide. The numbers seem to be increasing as temperatures increase accompanied by worm -cyst invasion of the human body in many different locales. And we won't even get into the threat from tropical diseases such as dengue fever spreading northwards.

Of course the Right Wing still expressed doubts, but that is their shtick. They are more invested in ensuring their prime donors - like the Koch brothers and other oil magnates- can run rough shod over the planet, fracking and drilling, never mind leaving a wasted planet for future generations. Thus, you could find a fool and congenital asshole such as Mitch McConnell bloviating:

"This debate shouldn't be about alleviating the guilt complexes of liberal elites."

No, but it ought to be about leaving a hothouse world (with no more seasons)  to your grandchildren, who now will face parasitic infections each time they take a drink of water, as well as possibly having their brains colonized by worm cysts. Not to mention, living without a/c - since all the power girds will have collapsed after 85 straight days of 95+ temperatures. That what you want, Mitch? Really?

Then there was the fake atheist S.E. Cupp on CNN, trying her best to outwit Bill Nye and demanding:

"I want you to look me in the eye and tell me in good conscience, that climate change is our most urgent, number one priority right now."

Of course, Nye, familiar with the data as most perceptive science oriented people are, called the idiot's bluff:

"Climate change is our most urgent, number one priority right now."

The fact 1 in 4 Americans don't agree merely shows they're not paying attention. Or, perhaps a local climate catastrophe (flood, wildfire, tornado) hasn't hit them yet. Give it time! 

Physicist Michio Kaku, this morning on CBS, giving his input on the climate report stated:

"This report is dramatically different from all previous reports on climate change. Previous reports talked of climate change being in the future, maybe decades into the future. This report says, uh-uh, it's here and happening right now. We're talking about a sea change. Also, this is a home grown American study not one done by the UN."

(Kaku's obvious emphasis addressed the fact that many Right wing nuts believe the whole climate issue is based on a UN conspiracy)

The economic impact in 2012  (the warmest year on record, and 15th driest) was $100 billion alone, from droughts, super storms, and wild fires which burned 9+ million acres.. This number will only increase, and more and more homes will be threatened - whether from wild fires, floods, or storms.

Of course, Repukes dismiss the report as an "election year ploy" designed to instill fear with the upcoming elections. This is what we expect knuckle-draggers to say, and that likely includes Pastor Rick Joyner who already demonstrated his personal beliefs trumps scientific evidence.  Thus, each time his daughter presented him with a sober voice on climate issues, Joyner went on a Google binge to seek out only those sites that confirmed his existing bias.  This isn't the behavior of an inquiring mind, but rather the modus operandi of a believer, impervious to new information or evidence.

Had Joyner accompanied Leslie Stahl (in the same episode) to Greenland to actually see the ice sheets and glacier walls collapsing in real time, he might have finally seen the evidence he professed to desire so much.

Well, ok, maybe only if he was actually standing under a falling -collapsing ice mass.

For the rest of us, it's time to pay much more attention and try to do something, anything to reduce the CO2 injected into the atmosphere.

See also:


Jim Steele said...

In the episode with Pastor Joyner, it was the pastor who behaved more like Feynman's ideal scientist and not the producers of this documentary.

Read my critique posted here

In another episode they basely exploited human tragedy from fires, and it was based on one study that runs contrary to most of what fire ecologists know. I have worked to promote wise environmental stewardship in the Sierra Nevada and nearly lost our university research station to a human set forest fire. To study the regions ecology we must be very aware of the true nature of forest fires and this documentary is misleading. I posted my essay on the deceptive presentation on WUWT

Copernicus said...

First, the producers never claimed to be scientists. They did portray scientists in different settings but ultimately they represented a spectrum of the media telling the story from one POV. A POV, I might add, that needs to be emphasized more.

Rick Joyner, on the other hand, is no scientist either - by any stretch- and remotely comparing him to Richard Feynman is laughable.

His tuning out of Richard Muller's arguments and data was especially obtuse and purblind. His rejection of the evangelical climate scientist - almost as much.

Basically, at nearly every turn he committed the cardinal sin that Feynman never would: out and out seeking sources of info ((actually disinfo) to support a pre -existing confirmation bias.

But this is the nature of BELIEF, not open inquiry or science.

The fact is Joyner is wrong on basically every area presented that counts. Forest fires, while important, are only one area the program examined - and the whole must be taken into context.

The issue at the end of the day is whether we are facing a climate change emergency and we are - full stop.

You are invited to read my other blog posts on the issue of climate change and why this matter is settled.

Copernicus said...

See these other posts:


Copernicus said...

Be aware that the vast majority of climate scientists concur climate change is real, serious and of anthropogenic origin.

As reported in Eos Transactions (AGU), Vol. 90, No. 3, p. 22, by P. T. Doran and M. Kendall-Zimmerman found that (p. 24) :

“the debate on the authenticity of global warming and the role played by human activity is largely non-existent among those who understand the nuances and scientific basis of long-term climate processes.”

In their analytic survey for which 3146 climate and Earth scientists responded, a full 96.2% of specialists concurred temperatures have steadily risen and there is no evidence for cooling. Meanwhile, 97.4% concur there is a definite role of humans in global climate change.

The authors concluded (p. 24) :

“The challenge appears to be how to effectively communicate this fact (non-existent debate among real climate specialists) to policy makers and a public that continues to mistakenly perceive debate exists among scientists”

If you dispute these findings you are basically an outlier, a contrarian. Contrary to widely accepted myths that this type does the "real science", the fact is they are most often wrong.