Recent Posts

Knuth gamely tries to explain global warming to Drazkowski

by Eric Ferguson on May 20, 2011

Rep. Kate Knuth (DFL-Fridley/New Brighton) can be seen in this video from The Uptake gamely trying to explain global warming to Rep. Steve Drazkowski (R-Willful Ignorance).

You won’t find much new in Knuth’s explanation if you already understand the basics of the science, know it’s tough to find a climatologist outside a fossil fuel payroll who doesn’t accept that global warming is real and man-made, that this conclusion comes from multiple lines of evidence, and that deniers counter the science with opinion pieces. If that describes you, you aren’t Steve Drazkowski, though given his questions and responses to her, he didn’t really listen and still doesn’t know this stuff. His first retort — why is there snow in the Sears parking lot? No, he wasn’t kidding.
For a bit of context, the Capitol is close to a Sears store with a large parking lot, and St. Paul used it for dumping snow, resulting in a large mound of it. Legislators presumably have seen it. At least Drazkowski has seen it, and he thinks a having a big pile of snow last into May disproves global warming. Knuth answered by trying to explain to him that increased heat means more moisture in the atmosphere, which means more precipitation. She perhaps thought he was smart enough to realize that if temperatures are below freezing, that precipitation falls as snow.

He was not so smart. At about the eight minute point of the video, he repeats his question about why there’s snow in the Sears parking lot, and further adds that barge season on the Mississippi started late. Then to prove he was at best half-listening, he said Knuth said we’re experiencing global cooling. Knuth tried to explain that global cooling came from news magazines in the 1970’s, and there wasn’t any consensus like there is about global warming.

OK, maybe she had to try. Maybe before going after Republicans for being science deniers who throw tantrums when facts don’t fit ideology, she had to explain it to them like they actually care. At least she can say she tried to take them seriously.

I’m not in the legislature, and I don’t have to be so nice. Anyone who refuses to acknowledge basic long-proven physics, and who thinks a propaganda booklet from a conservative think tank or their own gut feelings and maybe an anecdote or two disproves science, has no business legislating on anything touching science. The science of global warming has been clear for so long, there is no further excuse for a supposedly educated person who sets public policy. Their opinions deserve no more respect in scientific matters than those of creationists or moon landing deniers.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: