“Denying that it’s raining doesn’t keep you from getting wet, and climate change has gone from theory to reality – while our side fiddles away like Nero.”
—Republican Meterologist Paul Douglas
Republican? Check! Evangelical Christian? Check! Believes global warming is real, and that we’re the culprit? Ch… Hey, wait a minute!
You mean there are some in the GOP base group of supporters who still look at science and evidence and believe climate change is a problem we need to do something about it? I might have lost faith that would ever be the case, but thanks to Paul Douglas, my faith in humanity is restored. (Somewhat, anyway.)
Too often, the conservative wings of various governments have put more emphasis on the economy than the environment. But instead of simply saying “Yes, global warming and climate change are important issues but we think fixing this economy is more important,” they seem to cope best with the issue by denying it, or at least referring to a fictitious lack of consensus. (Read: permission to continue on with business-as-usual and still maintain a clear conscience.)
As Chief Meteorologist for WeatherNation TV, Paul Douglas knows a little something about weather and climate, so I think it’s reasonable to give him some credence. As he wrote this past weekend for the Huffington Post, he makes a good argument for why his party should be taking climate change more seriously. He clearly points out that climate change shouldn’t be used as a punchline at the Republican National Convention, as Mitt Romney did two weeks ago. He also points out that it’s wrong for the US to ignore renewable energy sources since many other countries around the world are helping their economies by developing them. He fears the US will be left behind in this important sector of research and development.
As he explains:
“If any climate change skeptic had spent the year I have watching the weather maps—I’m confident they would be saying the same thing. These maps passed “normal” a long time ago. 2012 is the most severe year in recorded history; 46% of the USA has experienced extremes in moisture, drought, temperatures and tropical cyclones, breaking the old record set at the height of the Dust Bowl in 1934. This has been The Year of All or Nothing: drought or flood. And jaw-dropping weather is accomplishing what climate scientists couldn’t quite pull off: convincing a majority of reasonable, logical, God-fearing Americans that something is up. Something has changed.”
After Mr. Douglas wrote a blog in Minnesota for Earth Day on April 22, 2012, the story got picked up and spread very quickly. Soon after that he was receiving negative mail from conservatives for expressing something so contrary to the beliefs of many of them. But he likes to point out this isn’t a “popularity contest.” The information is too important to ignore. He also thinks it’s not very smart politically to ignore an issue that is being taken much more seriously by those under the age of thirty. You can read between the lines: Mr. Douglas is clearly concerned about the future health of the Republican Party if its members continue to stick their heads in the sand about something that younger voters—and especially future voters—are going to consider when they elect their politicians.
Mr. Douglas provides a Top Ten List of reasons why he’s convinced that climate change is real. (He elaborates on each of them in his post if you’d like to see them in greater detail.)
10). Shifting Weather Patterns
9). Rising Sea Levels
8). Warmer, More Acidic Oceans
7). Straining Water Resources
6). Dying Forests
5). Extreme Rains and More Severe Local Storms
4). Spike in Wildfires
3). More Drought
2). Superheated summers
1). Record Arctic Ice Loss
One thing I admire about Mr. Douglas is that he makes no apologies for being a Republican, and still holds onto his conservative values. I’ve never believed that science should be a political issue. It’s only the way science is applied that becomes political. Evidence and science stand on their own, so it’s always amazed me that fewer Republicans believe in global warming and our contribution to it than do Democrats.
As Mr. Douglas is trying to point out, you can hold onto a political ideal that is right of centre and still believe what the evidence clearly shows. He predicts the US will continue to lose its competitive edge on the world market if it continues to ignore the reality of climate change and its solutions. He cites a report from the World Economic Forum showing that in the last five years, the US has dropped from first to seventh in regards to global competitiveness. Mr. Douglas thinks this will only get worse if renewable sources of energy are suppressed rather than supported.
Paul Douglas is an example of what I’ve always believed: that ultimately the world will come to its senses. You can only deny it’s raining for so long before you have to dry yourself off. We need more people like him: people who believe in evidence over ideologies.