For those who follow A Science Enthusiast, or are in his big ol’ Facebook group, and hate the “political” content he (and frankly a lot more often I) bring to the table, you might wanna look away. Then again, this kind of story is precisely why science and politics are inextricably linked, at least as long as the political side has control over how much money scientists get to play with.
To be fair, any story involving freshman Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is going to bring out her many detractors from the right. If AOC were to come out and say that climate change is caused by abortion, and that the only way to stop it would be through overturning Roe v. Wade, as long as she still called herself a Democratic Socialist, overnight millions of Republicans would become pro-choice as hell.
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So it should surprise absolutely no one that when she was interviewed recently and spoke in dire, certain terms about how much time humanity has to work with before climate change does irrevocable harm to our species, she was assailed on the right for it. For pro-business conservatives, you see, climate change isn’t a scientific issue; it’s a political one. The irony of course is that one of the reasons they think it’s all a big “hoax” is their belief liberals are the ones politicizing climate change so they can implement their devilish scheme of keeping us from literally killing the atmosphere we depend on for the continued survival of humankind.
As reported by Inverse, Cortez was speaking during an MLK Day interview, and made it very clear where she stands on the urgency of addressing climate change.
“Millennials and people, you know, Gen Z and all these folks that will come after us are looking up, and we’re like: ‘The world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change and you’re biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?”
Predictably, Republicans all over social media started blasting AOC. How could she predict such an extreme, dire outcome, they sarcastically asked each other. How could she have pulled such a ridiculously stupid number out of her backside? How could she just make up such a doom and gloom number like a dozen years?
Science Says She’s Right.
Well, here’s the answer for anyone who wants it: She didn’t predict it; she merely re-reported what a UN climate change report, performed by actual scientists, told us.
“The report find that limiting global warming to 1.5ºC would require ‘rapid and far-reaching’ transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide, would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.”
AOC is a new generation politician, and she quickly wielded the power of her own 2-million strong follower Twitter account to clapback at her scientifically illiterate critics.
For some reason GOP seems to think this is a gaffe, but it’s actually a generational difference.
Young people understand that climate change is an existential threat: 3,000 Americans died in Hurricane María.
The UN says we’ve got 12 years left to fix it: https://t.co/KzawP5oI1M https://t.co/xTjtM39cCL
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) January 22, 2019
A couple years ago, when Pope Francis took over as the Chief Catholic Dude, I wrote a satirical piece for The Political Garbage Chute called “Even Head Guy Who Believes In Virgin Birth Knows Climate Change Is Real.” The satirical point I was making was that somehow, some way we got to a point in this timeline where the Catholic church has a more realistic view of climate change than conservative Republicans do.
But don’t go thinking faith in Jesus is going to get a bunch of American Christians to the Promised Land of climate change realism. The administration currently in power has people like Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders in it. And when Huckabee was on Hannity last night, she told him that the administration won’t be listening to Ocasio-Cortez because they believe in God, basically.
“Look, I don’t think we’re going to listen to her on much of anything, particularly not on matters we’re gonna leave in the hands of a much, much higher authority, and certainly not listen to the freshman congresswoman on when the world may end,” she said. “We’re focused on what’s happening in the world right now.”
I’m not going to tell you I agree with every proposal AOC has made or will make. And I’m not here to tell you she’s never been, or never will be wrong. But the bottom line to me is that it’s extremely insightful to see people call her stupid, or an extremist, or foolish because she relied on an actual scientific report, while simultaneously believing, as Huckabee does, that we can just leave it all up to “God” and not worry about climate change.
Climate change isn’t a marginal tax rate; so you can think Cortez off her rocker on the economy without completely throwing the science out the window. To put a finer point on it — I trust the woman quoting science before I trust the woman who works for the guy who thinks he can stare at eclipses with impunity. Call me crazy.
We can’t see God. We can’t, ever, prove its existence. But we have proven, over decades of strenuous, peer-reviewed scientific study, that climate change is real, humans are making it worse, and that our time is quickly running out to reverse or at the very least slow down the march toward extinction she has us on.
Writer/comedian James Schlarmann is the founder of The Political Garbage Chute and his work has been featured on The Huffington Post. You can follow James on Facebook and Instagram, but not Twitter because he has a potty mouth.