Even though I got satellite radio to avoid the right-wing talk shows that dominate the Portland, Oregon airwaves, occasionally I tune into Lars Larson (KXL) or Victoria Taft (KPAM) to check on the strength of my cranium -- since almost always what I hear makes me feel like my brain is going to explode.
I survived ten minutes or so of Larson a few days ago, but just barely. The combined scientific ignorance of Lars and a global warming-denying sidekick he had on, Chuck Wiese, was astounding.
And intensely disturbing.
Three years ago I criticized Larson for joking about how global warming is going to be good for Oregon. He's still up to his head-in-the-sand tricks. Now his brain-dead theory is that the Earth is cooling rapidly, so if big bad government limits our nation's carbon footprint, people are going to freeze to death when their furnace fuel is rationed.
Or something like that.
It was hard to follow the logic of Larson and Wiese, since they didn't use any in their blathering about how climate change/global warming science is a fraud.
Larson doesn't have any scientific qualifications, so far as I know. Wiese calls himself a meteorologist, but he only has a B.A. in Atmospheric Science. He says he's done weather forecasting for twenty-five years.
Well, obviously he never learned that short term changes in the weather are different from long term changes in the climate, because he and Larson kept saying that because Oregon has had an unusually cool spring, this shows that global warming isn't happening.
If idiocy spewed over the public airwaves could be taxed, our national debt would be wiped out by Lars Larson quickly. But, hey, I'm an optimist. People can change.
I wish Larson would read "What's the Worst That Could Happen?" by Greg Craven, an Oregon high school teacher who subtitles his terrific book a rational response to the climate change debate. He calmly and logically leads the reader through an analysis of climate change -- focusing on how to decide what to do, not the scientific facts.
Craven is a believer, as am I, in finding the most reliable sources of scientific information, and trusting them.
I don't have a particle accelerator in my house, nor the ability to conduct experiments in subatomic physics, so I trust the conclusions of experts in this field. Likewise, Craven lists the key organizations who agree with the scientific consensus: global warming is for real, humans are the main cause of it, and it poses a huge threat to human civilization.
The U.S. National Academy of Sciences, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and National Research Council, for example. Along with the 2008 National Intelligence Assessment by all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, among many other reliable sources.
But a right-wing talk show host and a guy with a B.A. in Atmospheric Science disagree, saying that efforts to reduce carbon emissions are some sort of Obama plot to turn the United States into a socialist state.
Or something like that. Again, it's hard to follow crackpot craziness.
Larson and Wiese were angry at those who want this country to take serious actions to stop, or at least slow down, global warming. Well, I'm angry too: at them, and anyone else who refuses to face the facts -- which are pointing toward a future for my granddaughter that will be much worse than what we're enjoying now.
It's utterly immoral and unethical to allow future generations to inherit a virtually uninhabitable world from us. As Craven demonstrates, the costs of doing nothing about climate change are vastly higher than the expense of acting to reduce carbon emissions.
Conservatives have a valid point when they criticize the rapidly rising national debt that will be passed on to our children and grandchildren, if nothing is done about it. They should be equally concerned about the environmental debacle that will be passed on if the Earth continues to warm as rapidly as it is.
In a recent issue of TIME magazine, William Antholis and Strobe Talbott wrote "Leaving a Good Legacy: Why the ethical case for combating climate change is one that should appeal to conservatives."
It should be another piece of required reading for Lars Larson. The article ends with:
Our concept of intergenerational equity holds that assets do not belong exclusively to those who have accrued them; rather, those resources should, to the extent possible, be administered and preserved for those who will inherit them and will, partly as a consequence of their inheritance, live somewhat better lives than those who came before. We come into this world in debt to our ancestors, and we leave it an incrementally better place, believing our descendants will come up with means of fending off or coping with whatever their age throws at them.
Down through the years, that has been the narrative of the human family. But global warming alters it in a basic way. We cannot leave those who come after us to their own devices. If we do not get the process of mitigating climate change started right now, our descendants, however skilled, will not be able to cope with the consequences. If we do nothing, we will likely bequeath to them a less habitable — perhaps even uninhabitable — planet, the most negative legacy imaginable. That is why there is no time to lose.