Climate change denier leading the EPA? So long, fish


At long last, the whining voices of a mere “staggering majority” of scientists are being drowned out by a sensible non-scientist named Scott.

This hero’s full name is Scott Pruitt, and he’s the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency. He made headlines Thursday by boldly stating that carbon dioxide emissions — which for decades have been selflessly making sea water more temperate for polar bears — are not “a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.”

That gave the left-wing life-loving loony brigade conniptions, all because the administrator of the EPA was rejecting “established science” supported by shady special-interest groups like “NASA” and “the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration” and “the EPA.”

Granted, as Pruitt was praising factory effluents as non-troublesome environmental air fresheners and questioning the connection between human activity and climate change, there was a section on the EPA’s website titled: “Humans are largely responsible for recent climate change.”

Part of that section read: “Over the past century, human activities have released large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The majority of greenhouse gases come from burning fossil fuels to produce energy, although deforestation, industrial processes, and some agricultural practices also emit gases into the atmosphere. Greenhouse gases act like a blanket around Earth, trapping energy in the atmosphere and causing it to warm.”

I’m confident Pruitt will have that fake news scrubbed from the website as soon as he removes a few dozen environmental regulations, deforests Montana and kills off California’s endangered delta smelt, a small, dumb, freshwater fish that no one will miss.

Scientists can blather away with their numbers and measurements and verifiable facts, but we know from people who are rich and want to become more rich that there is no connection between carbon dioxide and anything bad.

And even if there was, who cares? We can’t let a little extinction get in the way of economic progress.

Consider, for example, the oceans.

A recent study published in the journal Nature Communications looked at what might happen to the oceans in the coming decades.

The study focused on oceans warming, becoming more acidic and having less oxygen and food for sea life.

Using computer modeling, researchers found that by 2030, “climate change will … push marine ecosystem drivers beyond the range of natural variability” in 55 percent of the world’s oceans. That means various forms of sea life will have to: survive beyond the range of conditions they’re accustomed to; migrate to other areas; or go to the great ocean in the sky.

The study found that by 2050, 86 percent of the world’s oceans will be warmer, more acidic and generally less amenable to life.

Per the report: “When the environment changes sufficiently that new conditions, or a new combination of conditions, emerge and persist, the organisms must adapt, migrate to more favourable areas, or face extinction.”

Well boo hoo hoo. Cry me an estuary.

The study goes on to note: “Slowing the pace of climate change could give species more time to adapt to changing conditions or migrate to more suitable areas, potentially reducing extinction risk.”

And that’s where I stopped reading. I couldn’t take it anymore.

I know this isn’t the politically correct thing to say, but I’ve had it with needy sea life. We are doing these organisms no favors by making them reliant on the global safety net of environmentalism.

It’s time for ocean organisms, from whales to plankton, to pull themselves up by their fins or cell walls and adapt to a changing world.

Why should I miss out on the joy of letting my lawn mower idle in the driveway for five hours just so some lazy sea bass doesn’t have to deal with unlivable water temperatures or a lack of food?

Move to another part of the ocean and get a job, sea bass! Yeesh.

Burning less fossil fuel and forcing oil company executives to have fewer mansions just so a few slimy sea critters can continue being alive seems fishcally irresponsible.

The researchers noted that a tropical reef fish will “acclimate to acute exposure to warmer temperatures within two generations.”

To which I say: Lazy much, reef fish? Why can’t you be more like phytoplankton, which adapts more rapidly because of its shorter life span?

The bottom line is this: I don’t want my tax dollars being used to prevent climate change just so a bunch of cod can laze around the ocean floor munching on lobster.

Sure, as that silly study points out, the ocean is “the primary protein source for one in seven of the world’s population.” But I don’t eat fish, so I can comfortably ignore that information.

Now I can already hear the humpback-anglerfish-huggers out there screaming: “Think about what you’re saying! It makes no sense!”

But their cries don’t bother me. Because in a country where a soot-loving science denier is overseeing our environmental policy, nothing makes sense anyway.

Listen to Rex Huppke and WGN radio host Amy Guth discuss presidential politics each week on the “Guth and Huppke on Politics” podcast at chicagotribune.com/guthhuppkepodcast.

rhuppke@chicagotribune.com

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