Vail Daily column: Science, indeed
March 25, 2014
Our resident conservative/Republican ideologue, Butch Mazzuca, has authored a rather bewildering juxtaposition of two subjects (Vail Daily, March 12). On the one hand, he describes, and no doubt embraces, what in effect are how the biological sciences explain changes in the habitat/animal environment when wolves are re-introduced to Yellowstone National Park. In this we can all agree that Mr. Mazzuca had correctly described what science has shown to be the case. Could this be called a "settled" phenomenon? Well, yes.
Then we have his interesting change of pace about what science says — this time on the subject of global warming — challenging Obama by asserting that the science of global warming is "unsettled" when Obama has opined that it is, in fact, settled. By way of background, it's important to note what the scientific community does say on the subject:
"The scientific evidence is clear global climate change caused by human activity is occurring now, and it's a growing threat to society." (American Association for the Advancement of Science)
And … "Comprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicates that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities and potentially a very serious problem." (American Chemistry Society).
Thus, we can understand just how Obama comes to his conclusion. And is he right? I certainly think so. Mazzuca goes on to politicize the president's comment on global warming by saying it's an ideological issue. Really? I guess most of thought that it was a scientific issue.
It's not really surprising that Mr. Mazzuca would contradict Obama's stance on global warming. Why? On two counts, actually. First, it's in keeping with Mazzuca's ever-predictable pattern of denigrating Obama. One need only review many of his previous columns to see just how obsessed he is with this. Too bad; Mazzuca has from time to time authored interesting and informative columns. He is a good writer.
His stance is quite in line with the Republican position (as voiced by Sen. Mitch McConnell who stated upon Obama's victory in 2008 that anything Obama puts forward must be fought by Republicans whose No. 1 objective must be to ensure that Obama is a one-term president (thus the party of "no," which has continued to be such to this day). And, of course, Obama was not a one-term president, winning overwhelmingly in 2012. Many Republicans just can't seem to get over their loss(es) at the polls … and behave that way.
Second, Mazzuca, like it or not, appears to be at one with many of his conservative compatriots whose viewpoint coincides with that of big oil (and gas and coal). It calls for denial of mankind's contribution to global warming. One such conservative (not Mazzuca) has claimed that the global warming issue is a Democratic hoax. Nice.
The energy conglomerates need to take this position of denial — and do, through intense lobbying of legislators with attendant funding of (read "buy") legislators come election time — in order to squelch any regulations that would impede their continuing to pour excessive amounts of greenhouse gases: Carbon dioxide, methane, plus particulates, etc. into the atmosphere. Does Mazzuca want this? I would actually guess not.
The energy companies have even employed their own researchers who, predictably, denial global warming in toto.
The repercussions of denial — doing nothing — are huge. Obama is exactly right in calling for legislation and programs to counter the world-changing (and tragic) consequences predicted to result from global warming.
So … what do we make of Mr. Mazzuca's comments? He embraces science (he doesn't call it that but that's what it is) when it comes to the behavior of wolves vis-a-vis their habitat, but in the case of global warming, he seems to thumb his reportorial nose at science.
Quote of the day: "The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom." — Isaac Asimov.