Climate Change Conference Opens In New Orleans, As Deniers Prepare To Take Over Climate Policy In Washington

Climate change is being discussed this week at Tulane University, in New Orleans. As one of America's foremost climate change deniers, James Inhofe, prepares to take charge of the major senate environment committee in January, French and American climate scientists are gathering to discuss the effects of climate change, and what can be done to stop it.

WWL TV in New Orleans reports that the climate scientists' goal is to change American public opinion on climate change, and the scientists feel that New Orleans is the perfect place for their meeting. French climate scientist Masson Del Motte told WWL that people need to know that climate change is real.

"I would like people to understand that it's real. We understand a lot about it."
Ninety eight percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is real, and that humans are the primary cause. Residents in coastal cities such as New Orleans are already witnessing rising sea levels due to increased temperatures. National Geographic reports that worldwide, the oceans have been rising at a rate of 0.14 inches (3.5 millimeters) since the 1990's. They explain that there are three factors, all connected to climate change, that are causing the oceans to rise.
  1. Thermal expansion. As water warms, it expands. About half of the sea level rise over the past 100 years has been due to thermal expansion.
  2. Melting of glaciers and polar ice caps. Glacial ice, and some polar ice, is over land. When it melts, and runs into the ocean, it adds water to the ocean, causing the sea level to rise.
  3. Ice loss in Greenland and Antarctica. The two land masses are covered with huge ice sheets. Like glacial melting, when this ice melts, it adds extra water to the oceans.
Scientists say that places like southern Louisiana will be in for other problems, in addition to rising sea levels. Residents in New Orleans, and other southern coastal cities, could be facing a future of heat waves, increased risk of hurricanes, and heavy precipitation, all thanks to climate change. Virginia Burkett, chief scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, told WWL that scientists are already seeing some of these changes.
"The frequency, the intensity, the duration, basically the major measures of hurricane intensity, have all shown an increase since about 1980."
But Burkett says that people can still change things.
"The future depends on the actions that are taken by humans. Humans, unequivocally, they are influencing the climate, causing the climate to warm."

Climate change 'denier in chief' set to take charge of climate policy in the U.S. Senate

With Republicans winning control of the U.S. Senate following this year's election, Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe is in line to take charge as chairman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Inhofe is one of the biggest critics of the claim that humans are causing climate change. As reported in the Inquisitr, Inhofe, along with several other Republican climate skeptics, was skewered for his beliefs by Steven Colbert. But it appears that, Steven Colbert or an overwhelming majority of climate scientists notwithstanding, Inhofe is holding firm to his beliefs.

Senator Inhofe, who wrote a book titled The Greatest Hoax, about climate change, isn't a scientist -- he's a former insurance executive. But, unlike some other Republicans, who use the "I'm not a scientist" as a dodge to avoid addressing the issue, Inhofe isn't afraid to speak his mind on climate change. Where does Inhofe get his notion that climate change is a hoax? According to Politico, at least in part from the Bible.

"God's still up there. The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous."
Politico says that Inhofe is likely to present a problem to other politicians who have been using the "I'm not a scientist" line when asked about climate change. Other Republicans are likely to be asked, "Do you agree with 98 percent of scientists, or do you agree with Senator Inhofe?" In a country where people are increasingly accepting the scientific evidence that man made climate change is real, this could put some politicians with presidential aspirations in a difficult situation. Could Inhofe's skepticism about climate change hurt the chances of potential Republican presidential candidates, who have to win over independent voters as well as Republicans?

[Photo credit U.S. Coast Guard]