Earlier this week, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report that outlines a grim future for the planet with the current rate of climate change. Days later, the Republican-led House passed a bill to restrict climate change study in government agencies.
H.R. 2413, the Weather Forecasting Improvement Act, will force the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to lessen its efforts on studying climate change and concentrate that time on predicting the weather. Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-OK) introduced the bill last June.
The bill won’t kill NOAA’s ability to study climate change completely. However, the bill forces it to “prioritize weather-related activities, including the provision of improved weather data, forecasts, and warnings for the protection of life and property and the enhancement of the national economy.”
The bill’s language exemplifies Bridenstine’s backhanded, GOP tactic to quiet the discussion about climate change. The measure is thoughtless, “prioritizing weather-related activities” goes hand-in-hand with studying climate change. Weather and climate experts were clued in to climate change because, as many studies have proven, climate change has an effect on weather patterns.
Bridenstine and the House GOP claim that the bill is beneficial to the future of the world, but it’s really the exact opposite. The reason climate change is important is because our atmosphere and climate, if continued on its current path, will have a detrimental effect on “life and property” and will curtail the “enhancement of the national economy.”
According to the IPCC and news reports, warmer climates will causes food shortages, which will directly affect the economy and even further perpetuate income inequality. Food shortages are already happening as global wheat yields decrease in the face of an even-increasing world population.
“A warmer world will push food prices higher, trigger ‘hotspots of hunger’ among the world’s poorest people, and put the crunch on Western delights like fine wine and robust coffee,” the AP reported. “Food prices are likely to go up somewhere in a wide range of 3 percent to 84 percent by 2050 just because of climate change.”
The IPCC also predicts that the world will become more dangerous as a result of climate change. Food shortages and natural disasters will worsen problems in tense countries. “Well-documented drivers of these conflicts such as poverty and economic shocks” might worsen regional conflicts and civil wars, according to the report.
In classic Republican form, Bridenstine’s position on climate change isn’t based on science or empirical study, but rather political ideology. While 97 percent of the scientific community has agreed that climate change exists, Bridenstine and others like him still refuse to accept the science. Bridenstine, who is clearly no scientific expert, insists that “solar activity” is responsible for the world’s increased temperature instead of greenhouse gas emissions.
Josh is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire. Follow him on Twitter @dnJdeli.