Finally, there is a Republican, self-identified Christian who thinks that "acknowledging climate science doesn’t make you a liberal". Minnesota meteorologist Paul Douglas has written a provocative essay, "A Message from a Republican Meteorologist on Climate Change", that has been getting attention on the Net across the political spectrum. Douglas has more than 35 years in meteorology and is a businessman. He begins his essay:
I’m going to tell you something that my Republican friends are loath to admit out loud: climate change is real. I am a moderate Republican, fiscally conservative; a fan of small government, accountability, self-empowerment, and sound science. I am not a climate scientist. I’m a meteorologist, and the weather maps I’m staring at are making me uncomfortable. No, you’re not imagining it: we’ve clicked into a new and almost foreign weather pattern.Since Douglas describes himself as a moderate, not surprisingly, those in the rightwing are already labeling Douglas as a "RINO Climate Poser" and those hostile to the human-cause climate change at JunkScience are doing their best to discredit Douglas, all the while saying, he "was one of the greatest forecasters I have ever met".
Douglas, for his part, tries to decouple America's insane identity politics from climate science. He describes himself as being in a "small, frustrated and endangered minority", which is a Republican concerned about the environment. He explains something must be causing the "off-the-scale, freakishly warm" spring this year.
And yes, climate change is probably spiking our weather. “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.” 129,404 weather records in one year? You can’t point to any one weather extreme and say “that’s climate change”. But a warmer atmosphere loads the dice, increasing the potential for historic spikes in temperature and more frequent and bizarre weather extremes. You can’t prove that any one of Barry Bonds' 762 home runs was sparked by (alleged) steroid use. But it did increase his “base state,” raising the overall odds of hitting a home run. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, more fuel for floods, while increased evaporation pushes other regions into drought.Pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere has rigged the game toward the extremes. Greenhouse gases are climate steroids. Douglas started looking for answers to why the weather patterns over Minnesota were different in the mid-1990s and by studying the peer-review research, he started to see the "thumbprint of climate change".
We should listen to peer-reviewed climate scientists, who are very competitive by nature. This is not about “insuring more fat government research grants.” I have yet to find a climate scientist in the “1 Percent”, driving a midlife-crisis-red Ferrari into the lab. I truly hope these scientists turn out to be wrong, but I see no sound, scientific evidence to support that position today. What I keep coming back to is this: all those dire (alarmist!) warnings from climate scientists 30 years ago? They’re coming true, one after another – and faster than supercomputer models predicted. Data shows 37 years/row of above-average temperatures, worldwide. My state has warmed by at least 3 degrees F.I grew up in Minnesota and saw 'weather guy' Douglas on KARE, the Twin Cities' local NBC affiliate. After a brief stint in Chicago, Douglas returned to the Minneapolis/St.Paul airwaves as the chief meteorologist for WCCO, the local CBS affiliate until 2008. For decades, Minnesotans got the weather from Paul Douglas and that weather is becoming unrecognizable. Douglas quotes Weather Underground's Jeff Masters, observing, "This is not the atmosphere I grew up with."
The weather sure isn't the same in the Twin Cities even when compared to a couple of decades ago. Meteorologist Paul Hunter of Minnesota Public Radio described December 2011 in Minnesota as "surreal". He noted at 52 degree high on December 26th and wrote kids riding on new bikes and the number of walkers and joggers made it look "more like July when people stream to the beach down the street" than the day after Christmas. "Since modern record started in 1871, we've never been able to string together 3 consecutive months this warm in the metro during the last quarter of the year. The October-December quarter is running about +6.3 degrees vs. average!"
Minnesota's climate is changing and along with it the state's weather. Douglas writes:
The climate is warming. The weather is morphing. It’s not your grandfather’s weather anymore. The trends are undeniable. If you don’t want to believe thousands of climate scientists – at least believe your own eyes: winters are warmer & shorter, summers more humid, more extreme weather events, with a 1-in-500 year flood every 2-3 years. For evidence of climate change don’t look at your back yard thermometer. That’s weather. Take another, longer look at your yard. Look at the new flowers, trees, birds, insects and pests showing up outside your kitchen window that weren’t there a generation ago.While the "climate skeptics" are attacking Douglas and his trust in the peer-reviewed research done by the climate scientists, Douglas simply asks who are you going to believe? The skeptics or your own eyes? The signs of a changing climate are everywhere. For example, earlier this year, the USDA updated the Plant Hardiness Zone Map and the changes made showed the United States is warming.
Even if the science may be confusing or challenging, Douglas thinks there is more than one way to care about the environment. He asks, "my fellow Republicans have an allergic reaction to regulation, but do we really want to go back to the 60s, a time of choking smog and combustible rivers?" Personally, I think they do as long as someone can make a quick buck from it.
But, Douglas thinks its every Americans' responsibility to protect our environment. He comes to this conclusion not because he's lefty, environmentalist, but because he's a Christian that believes in stewardship.
I’m a Christian, and I can’t understand how people who profess to love and follow God roll their eyes when the subject of climate change comes up. Actions have consequences. Were we really put here to plunder the Earth, no questions asked? Isn’t that the definition of greed? In the Bible, Luke 16:2 says, “Man has been appointed as a steward for the management of God’s property, and ultimately he will give account for his stewardship.” Future generations will hold us responsible for today’s decisions.Douglas is optimistic that Americans will address the sources of greenhouses gases and work toward renewable energy. What is holding America back from a "sustainable future" and new sources of energy are not "silly 'global warming alarmists'" getting in the way of Americans "drilling and mining our way to prosperity", but rather the U.S. political system, itself.
We can tackle this problem, like we’ve tackled every other problem in our nation’s history. But do we have the political will? Our political system is broken, utterly incapable of dealing with long-term threats. Compromise is seen as weakness; our natural resources put at risk by political paralysis.
Today, we have both remaining candidates of Douglas' Republican Party being firmly in the climate change deniers camp. Neither Mitt "we don’t know what’s causing climate change" Romney nor Rick "there is no such thing as global warming" Santorum are going to do anything positive toward the environment. What I don't understand is why "RINO" Douglas would want to remain associated with the party of climate and energy nihilism. They obviously do not want anything to do with him.