Ignore science? At our own risk

An editorial from The Register-Herald

BECKLEY, W.Va. — As snowstorm Jonas approached the state, Delegate Rupie Phillips, D-Logan, passed around bottles of sunscreen on the House floor in Charleston. He was ridiculing the very idea of global warming. You know the tiresome schtick: How could we be experiencing global warming with a snowstorm in the forecast?

The lawmaker is from coal-producing Logan County, so yes, he has a very special interest group he is representing. It is clear Delegate Phillips is ignoring facts. Even the kids know that coal, which leaves a heavy carbon footprint in its wake, is a major contributor to global warming. Coal is a fossil fuel just like natural gas. When it is burned, it releases carbon dioxide into the environment. There, it helps trap heat and moisture in our little dome of life. It’s called the greenhouse effect — a pretty simple concept to grasp for anyone paying attention. And so, it gets hotter here on Earth and we get more extreme weather events. Even the oceans are warming up. It is undeniable. It is science. It has been researched. It is a fact. It is the truth.

But forget all of that. Forget the mountains of research. Forget all of the climate scientists around the world who have poured their intellectual curiosity into their work. According to Phillips, one winter weekend storm was all the evidence we needed.

As Phillips was providing the world with his simple-minded anecdote on global warming, he told fellow delegates that he had intended to get them each a pair of Maui Jim sunglasses — apparently to help deflect the effects of global warming — but said they were “a little expensive.”

Here’s what is expensive: willful ignorance…

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