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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) has taken the familiar Republican chorus of “I am not a scientist” one step further, by stating that he does not believe that science can know whether or not human activity is to blame climate change.

During an hour-long debate against Democratic challenger Rob Zerban on Monday, the moderator posed to both candidates the question of whether human pollution impacts climate change. The Associated Press reports that Ryan responded, “I don’t know the answer to that question. I don’t think science does, either.”

But science does know. A survey that collected 11,944 peer-reviewed papers from 1991-2011 on the topics “global climate change” or “global warming” found that 97 percent expressed the position that humans are impacting global warming. Similarly, NASA has concluded that 97 percent of scientists agree that human activity is very likely causing climate change.

Ryan has doubted climate science before. In July, speaking at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor in Washington, the congressman said, “Climate change occurs no matter what.” At that breakfast, Ryan also claimed that EPA efforts to reduce emissions from power plants were “outside of the confines of the law,” and “an excuse to grow government, raise taxes, and slow down economic growth.”

At the debate on Monday, Ryan again stood behind his opposition to implementing plans to fight climate change. Ryan’s stance that “the benefits do not outweigh the costs” (of proposals that would limit climate change) stood in stark contrast to Zerban’s point that “this is an opportunity to invest a dime to save a dollar.”

Ryan is heavily favored to win re-election to his seat in GOP-leaning southern Wisconsin.

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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  • 1standlastword

    Paul Ryan doesn’t believe in climate change and I don’t believe in Paul Ryan!

  • Independent1

    “Climate change occurs no matter what.”

    Paul Ryan isn’t wrong with that statement, but he’s not correct with respect to which the earth’s climate, and especially the CO2 concentrations in its atmosphere, have changed over the past 60-90 years.

    Humans began an industrialized revolution that began in the late 1800s and really took off with the vastly increased production of steel in the early 1900s. Steel allowed man to build skycrapers and evenutally hundreds of thousands of of huge cities on the planet. Cities that spew and hold heat overnight.

    Steel also allowed for the creation of trains, trucks, automobiles and thousands of other devices powered by fossil fuel powered engines which not only spew heat but also CO2 and other pollutants. It also resulted in the need to build billions of miles of roads crisscrossing virtually every continent on the planet; roads that also absorb and hold heat, warming overnight tempertures. And steel allowed man to drill deep wells to pump carbon producing fossil fuels out of the ground which was also used to power electric power plants that also spew heat and CO2.

    All of this MAN MADE activity began in the last 130 years or so; well, after about 30-40 years of this MAN MADE activity, the planet started to gradually recording the effects of all this MAN MADE ACTIVITY via slowly increasing water and atmospheric temperatures, and then starting about 1950 or a little before, the concentrations of CO2 in Earth’s atmosphere really started skyrocketing – to concentration levels not seen ON EARTH in over 630,000 years.

    The graph below shows that Paul Ryan wasn’t wrong about the earth’s climate changing with normal planet activity; but anyone who really looks at what the CO2 concentrations of earth’s atmosphere have done over the past 60 years and denies that today’s high concentrations aren’t MAN MADE is either deliberately lying or mentally deficient, or both.

    My vote is that Paul Ryan is both: deliberately lying and mentally deficient (anyone who would create the asinine budgets he has the past few years HAS TO BE mentally deficient.)

    • johninPCFL

      The other claim, that volcanic activity produces huge amounts has also been debunked. Large volcanic eruptions dump out the equivalent of one years’ industrial production. Man-made sources dump out the equivalent of a large volcanic eruption every single year. As a point of comparison, Kilauea began erupting in 1983, but it’s not a large eruption by this definition. During that time it has released cubic miles of lava, but it has produced 6 human-months’ worth of CO2 in its 30-year eruption.

  • Julieann Wozniak

    Doesn’t believe in the basic tenets of Catholicism either: like social justice.

  • Allan Richardson

    If 97 engineers said a particular bridge was about to collapse at any time, and 3 engineers said it was perfectly safe, would you drive on it?

    If 97 doctors said tobacco will kill you, and 3 doctors working for the tobacco lobby said it’s OK, would you still smoke?

    Apparently, the same group of people who DID answer “yes” to the second question would also answer “yes” to the first one.

    • Trevor Carlson

      Engineers get paid to solve a problem. They don’t get paid to prove how to word the problem.
      Your analogy of 97 doctors is better. Wherein 97 of them were pushed by the pharma industry to view previously normal behaviors as an official disorder (which conveniently they had developed a drug to combat… but with no exit plan to get off the drug) in part due to western medicine’s premise that if you make the symptoms go away the cause must also be resolved. They are not trained in root cause analysis like engineers and will not go back and verify their treatments affected the root cause of the issue with minimal side-effects. In part because the body is a very complex system and life’s experiences can and will affect it in many ways.
      This is similar to the climate. It is a very complex system in such that it is impossible to predict even with the best and brightest working to do just that. Almost all climate studies are based on grants and money to find how and where climate change is occurring.. but not on the buffering and/or negative feedback loops. Therefore their findings are self-supporting but never conclusive because then they couldn’t ask for more money to do another study.
      All the models to predict the climate have failed to even suggest the correct trend in climate change. The earth is a self-correcting system similar to our bodies in that if humans (like a virus) were to become extinct, the earth would return to its normal climate changes. However, the effect we actually have on the climate is miniscule. The earths temperature is not out of control by any means If your perspective is on the geologic time scale.
      Granted the CO2 levels have increased… but all the models were wrong as to HOW much it would have an effect. Solar insolation and cloud/snow reflectivity are the primary drivers of climate. Also the deep sea currents must not be underestimated. CO2 does not have the effect on clouds as scientific consensus predicted. CO2 does however supercharge the growth rate of foliage and vegetation. Science is NOT a democracy as much as the power grabbers would love it if it were. It is a constantly evolving thing the corrects and refines its prevailing theories and underlying principles.
      There is no point in time where we’ve been able to say… OK now we know everything there is to know about evolution. There is to be no more debate about it or studies about how it happens. We must now take these drastic measures and limit global wealth, increase control, take away freedoms to reduce the rate at which evolution occurs. This is despite an epidemic where bacteria and virus’s are evolving faster than our ability to counter their negative consequences.
      So trying to put forward the argument that all the cool scientists believe in the hand that feeds them isn’t that shocking. History shows, when it comes to science, the consensus community is not always right. (flat world, gravity, center of the universe… et. al.)

  • jmprint

    Paul Ryan has to act dumb because that’s what the Kock brothers are paying for. Lie and deny is their motto. They covers their ears when facts are being told and say Na, Na, Na. So they don’t know facts. He is not stupid, just bought.

  • EaglesGlen

    Your claim of “global warming” has no specific written standard and claims of “global warming” are fiction (fraud). Until you specify and publish a world accepted standard like a United Nations standard, your claim is at least as fictitious and fraudulent as Gores claim which the BBC ripped apart before showing Gores documentary on the BBC.
    Here we have another case of hearsay claim scientific existence when you did not specify the document specifying the legal standard. Claim of 97% has been shot down before.

    • mah101

      First, global warming is well understood and defined. Just because you don’t understand it is not a good enough standard for dispute. Do you understand the physics behind quantum computing? No? Well, I guess it can’t be real either.

      Second, Al Gore is not a climate scientist and is not anyone with authority. He is an activist, and one who recognizes the depth of scientific data in the field, but he is not a scientist. His contribution is not expanding our knowledge of the process, but is one of advancing awareness. Anytime you bring up Al Gore in the debate, you demonstrate your vacuity of argument.

      Global warming is happening. It is happening whether or not you like it. It is happening whether or not you believe it. The debate is long over.

    • Independent1

      What’s your explanation for why the CO2 level in Earth’s atmosphere is at levels never before seen in the past 650,000 years??????

      The typical climate change deniers’ every witty “Things just happen”????

      And I know you’ll love the statue created to show a group of climate deniers trying to make up excuses for why the waters are rising around them.

      Total idiots such as yourself NEVER LEARN!!!

  • stcroixcarp

    Paul Ryan does believe in the trickle down theory of economics, which experience has proven doesn’t work. At least it doesn’t work for the trickled on.

    • Trevor Carlson

      So being fiscally conservative now falls under the theory of trickle down economics? He comes from a very pro-union city that was devastated when the markets changed and the jobs dried up. He knows first-hand how the “middle-class” first policies perpetuated by strong unions and democrats create stagnation and inflexibility to changing market demands. Eventually leading to collapse and failure. (witness Detroit)
      Also – try sticking to the commenting on the article.

  • howa4x

    Any politician that stands up and says that they don’t understand science has no right to be president. We are entering a titanic shift in technology whose roots are science, and what the future economy will be based on, and some goon republican says they don’t understand it. Are you kidding me???

  • James Crockett

    Each of us should also keep in mind that low solar activity and global cooling offer an opportunity to discredit climate fortune-tellers like Ezra Klein and Paul Krugman.

  • Joseph Kelsall

    Then Paul Ryan is a feckin’ idiot!

  • bstockinger

    Since he isn’t a scientist, then he ought to listen to what they say rather than to whatever soothsayer he listens to. There isn’t anyone dumber than a person who says he doesn’t know something and then gets advice from another ignorant person rather than the expert.