I have a bone to pick with comic Dennis Miller. We all know about his famous shift to the political right after the September 11 attacks. Although I can remember an interview in which he said it went back further, to when he used to hear liberals complain about Mayor Rudolph Giuliani´s law and order policies (which involved a lot of cutting corners with constitutional rights and civil liberties), and Miller said he tended to side with Rudi.
But global warming is not a partisan political issue, however much some people want to make it one. It is science. And it is very dangerous, as a new US government report demonstrates. I can laugh at someone making fun of liberals and liberal positions. But Miller´s schtick on climate change just makes me want to throw my shoe at the television. His standard line is that he doesn´t trust the history of climate record-keeping, since it started when people still had to go out in the winter to the outhouse to relieve themselves. I´ve noticed that he gets fewer and fewer laughs with this stupid ´joke,´except before Vegas audiences who are apparently disproportionately full of rightwingers who don´t let their moral puritanism stand in the way of a good time.
Miller is of course simply incorrect that people in the late 19th century could not make precise scientific measurements of temperature.
Miller is a voice a lot of people listen to, and with that kind of visibility comes responsibility. Take a science course, Dennis. Or at least watch a video What you are doing is not funny.
The world has heated up significantly in the past three decades, with the past ten years being the hottest on record. So says the US National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration´s yearly ´State of the Climate´ report. (There is a difference between climate and weather. Over-all global warming can occur even if there are very cold days and snowstorms. In fact, climate change can cause some places to get colder even if the earth´s average surface temperature increases. Planets are complex things. But understanding an upward over all graph should not be so hard.)
The report is here and the beginning of the executive summary goes like this:
* June 2010 was the fourth consecutive warmest month on record (March, April, and May 2010 were also the warmest on record). This was the 304th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average. The last month with below-average temperature was February 1985.
* It was the warmest April–June (three-month period) on record for the global land and ocean temperature and the land-only temperature. The three-month period was the second warmest for the world’s oceans, behind 1998…
That item about the world´s oceans is concerning. Apparently the oceans have been absorbing a lot of the extra heat being kept on earth by the carbon dioxide curtain that lets sunlight and its heat in, but traps it once here.
In turn, the warming oceans may be killing off marine algae.
Marine algae produce half of all the oxygen we breathe, and little fish eat them, and the big fish eat the little fish, and we eat the big fish. Killing off the marine algae is a big step toward killing off the planet, and we´re almost half way there to finishing this crucial species off.
Mr. Miller should note that the above report appeared in Canada´s National Post, a right wing newspaper. Reality doesn´t have a political party, and nor does the human species, and nor do the infants of the next generations, to whom we a bequeathing a cosmic cesspool.