In the end, there’s no denying

I went out this morning and fired up my truck, which had been sitting idle for a few days. When it started, it released a large, noxious cloud of diesel exhaust, which gently floated off over the surrounding desert, on its way to its eventual atmospheric dispersal. Watching it drift away, I had no problem believing our activities are causing carbon dioxide in our planet’s atmosphere to rise. I mean, how many millions of similar clouds were being emitted at that moment?

I also have no problem thinking that the fallout from the now infamous story that came out this past November about climate scientists in Britain skewing some data in order to make a stronger and less ambiguous case for human-caused climate change is going to be damaging to a degree that will be difficult to overestimate. In other words, that story has been an absolute godsend to those who are now being referred to as “denialists.” As one denialist scientist said about the hacked email caper, “This is not a smoking gun, it’s a mushroom cloud.” Who knows how many millions will hop off the fence and head back to the denialist camp because of this one episode?

In a recent survey of 3,146 scientists, 90 percent said yes, the planet has warmed, and 82 percent agreed with the statement that this warming is mainly human-caused. So when I opine that I think human-caused climate change is real, I’m saying so not because I’m “a liberal” and this is the position that liberals are supposed to take, or because I’m a zombie disciple of Al Gore, or any of that other dismissive pap. I’m saying so because (1) I’m willing to side with scientists, academics, and intellectuals, who are generally smarter and more informed than I am, and who are weighing in on this issue in numbers that are not just in the majority, but are indeed completely lopsided, and (2) I honestly don’t think that these scientists have some kind of environmental agenda because they’re a bunch of commie European radical greens fixing intelligence around policy, but that they are, for the most part, doing the proper opposite, which is fixing policy around intelligence. (By the way, by comparison, 58 percent of the general public thinks climate change is mainly human-caused.)

After watching the squabbles that took place in Copenhagen, and seeing the weak-ass little non-binding nothing of an agreement that came out of that conference, I’m now more convinced than ever that humanity will tackle the problem of climate change with the same zeal and gusto with which it has tackled the problem of population growth. Translation: Any large scale regulating and adjusting that’s truly needed in the future will very probably be left up to the planet itself. Because, as the bumper sticker on my carbon-barfing truck says, “Nature Bats Last.”