The transition to cranky uncle-hood was rapid and startling. My family and friends at first seemed to accept my lukewarmer status–someone who accepts the science underpinning our understanding of climate change but is skeptical of the more alarmed pronouncements issuing forth from NGOs, politicians and their adherents in the press and blogosphere.
But after the second or third time of me saying ‘Y’know, the science really doesn’t say that,’ I could see the wary look in their eyes and I was as happy as they when the conversation turned to football or its adult equivalent, presidential politics.
So now I don’t talk about climate change very much. I have a 71-year-old aunt who pronounces on it with equal portions of absolute certainty and profound ignorance. I let her speak on, nodding my head and looking out the window. My sister, a head librarian who is arguably smarter than me, regurgitates the conventional wisdom of NGOs and despite never having read a scientific paper, is calmly assured that her point of view is transcendantly correct.
I am the cranky uncle at the holiday dinner party. We tiptoe around the subject, the same way we used to tiptoe around the subject of the Vietnam War when I was a teenager vehemently opposed to our involvement, much to the disgust of most of the elders in the room.
I like it.
Today on NBC’s Meet The Press, climate scientist Kate Marvel came forth with an interesting tidbit–she said that glaciers in one of the US national parks had been receding since 1850, ‘when humans started burning coal and emitting greenhouse gases.’ Spot the bait and switch? Scientists have agreed that human contributions to climate change via greenhouse gases really began in 1945. So what Dr. Marvel (I almost labeled her ‘Captain’) is really saying is that these glaciers began melting a century before humans were responsible for mass emissions. But she labeled it as evidence of our culpability.
I didn’t have anyone to discuss this with. I don’t care. There’s always you in the blogosphere.
In the same program, I saw several company and corporate muckamucks eagerly jump on the bandwagon of blaming climate change for all modern ills, and I realized something I should have realized before. They are offloading responsibility for their decisions about destroying the Everglades, emptying aquifers, diverting river courses, etc. ad infinitum, onto climate change as a get out of jail free card.
What other examples can we bring to the table?