Saturday, May 26, 2018

Yes, EVs Are Green and Global Warming Is Raising Sea Levels

Republicans paid by the fossil fuel industry deny these realities.

A Volkswagen e-Golf electric car stands in the front of the Volkswagen AG (VW) factory on May 8, 2018 in Dresden, Germany. (Photograph Credit: Jens Schlueter/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
Last week, the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee held yet another climate science hearing similar to those from April 2017, February 2017, January 2016, May 2015, June 2014, December 2013, and so on.  It seems as though disputing established climate science is House Republicans’ favorite hobby.  This time, it was Philip Duffy’s turn to spend two hours playing whack-a-mole with the committee Republicans’ endless supply of long-debunked climate myths.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) claimed that sea level rise is due to the White Cliffs of Dover tumbling into the ocean (yes, really), and his colleagues argued that scientists in the 1970s were predicting global cooling, that Earth is just returning to its “normal temperature,” that Antarctic ice is growing, and sea levels are hardly rising.

Self-contradictory sea level rise denial
Those last two claims originated from a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) editorial entered into the Congressional record by Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX), written by Fred Singer.  As the group Ozone Action documented, Singer has been a lifetime contrarian on virtually every scientific subject imaginable - acid rain, nuclear winter, nuclear waste, nuclear war, ozone depletion, secondhand smoke, amphibian population loss, and even minimum wage benefits.  In recent decades he’s worked for a plethora of fossil fuel-funded think tanks, denying established climate science.

Singer’s WSJ editorial is difficult to follow, largely because it contradicts itself several times, saying:
there is also good data showing sea levels are in fact rising at an accelerating rate ... to keep the rate of rise constant, as observed...
Obviously if sea level rise is accelerating, it’s not increasing at a constant rate.  The WSJ later “corrected” that first sentence, thus removing one of the few accurate statements in the editorial - sea level rise is indeed accelerating.

Singer’s explanation for why the accelerating sea level rise isn’t accelerating likewise contradicts itself:
the temperature of sea water has no direct effect on sea-level rise … accumulation of ice on the Antarctic continent has been offsetting the steric effect [sea level rise due to warming temperatures] for at least several centuries.
Here, Singer first claims that the basic physics of thermal expansion is wrong, or at least somehow doesn’t apply to ocean water, but then argues it is real and is merely being offset by ice growth on Antarctica.  The latter claim is of course also wrong – Antarctica has been losing land ice and a recent study found that it’s responsible for 8% of sea level rise since 1993 (thermal expansion is the biggest contributor, at 42%). 

As one sea level researcher at Climate Feedback described Singer’s editorial, “If this were an essay in one of my undergraduate classes, he would fail.”  The whole thing is complete nonsense, denying basic physics, and yet was published in the WSJ and entered into the congressional record.  This is the material that House Republicans and their conservative media allies who reject climate science and oppose all climate policies find most compelling.  That says a lot about the state of climate denial on the American right today.

Read more at Yes, EVs Are Green and Global Warming Is Raising Sea Levels

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