Rhode Island Senator Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) May 20th, 2013
More than 95 percent of climate scientists are convinced that human carbon pollution is causing massive and unprecedented changes to our atmosphere and oceans. You want to go with the five percent, and you think that’s gonna be a winning strategy?
Moreover, it turns out a lot of those five-percenters are on the payroll of the polluters. You know that. It’s public knowledge. Some of those payroll scientists are the same people who denied acid rain, who denied the dangers of tobacco.
You still like those odds? Those are the folks to whom you really want to hitch your Republican wagons? You’ve got to know that they aren’t telling the truth. So where does this go? What’s the end game?
Our planet has had a run of at least 800,000 years with levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between 170 and 300 ppm. That’s measurement; not theory. Eight hundred thousand years. Homo sapiens have only been around for about 200,000 years, so that 800,000 years–8,000 centuries–it takes you back a ways. Eight hundred thousand years between 170 and 300 ppm, and in just the last 50 years we’ve blown out of that range, and have now hit 400 ppm and climbing.And you want to be on the side of “nothing’s going on”? Really?
Have you noticed the floods and wildfires and droughts and superstorms and tornadoes and blizzards and temperature records? Have you noticed those warming, rising seas? Have you noticed species invading new territory, and miles of dead pine forests in the Rockies, and Arctic sea ice disappearing?”