By Katie Herzog
20 January 2016
(Grist) – Readers of The New York Times were treated to a deeply touching essay this week by Piers Sellers, a NASA astronaut and climate scientist who was recently diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. […]
And yet, it took no time at all for the climate change deniers to start attacking Sellers, as ThinkProgress points out.
James Delingpole — author of such illuminating articles as “Paris Climate Talks Are Doomed Because China Knows ‘Climate Change’ Is A Hoax” — wrote a post on Breitbart with the ridiculous headline “NASA Chief: Global Warming Is Real Because I Have Cancer”:
A senior scientist at NASA has announced in The New York Times that he has terminal cancer. This is sad.
What’s sadder, though, is that he has chosen to exploit his personal tragedy for the purposes of promoting climate change alarmism.
Delingpole goes on, arguing that “Sellers’ cancer says no more about the validity of global warming theory than Einstein’s having shagged Marilyn Monroe says about the validity of his theory of relativity.” Though I commend Delingpole for the creative metaphor, his logic is absurd: Sellers isn’t saying that climate change has anything to do with his cancer. He’s simply reflecting on his own life studying climate change — something that most of the world and every scientist worth his or her PhD agrees is an ongoing and human-made phenomenon.
Delingpole isn’t alone. Marc Morano, executive director of ClimateDepot, a thinly veiled propaganda arm of the fossil fuel industry, also wrote a post mocking Sellers. It quotes another post, this one by Lubos Motl, a physicist and fellow climate denier, who marvels at Sellers’ “focus on irrelevant stupidities.” [more]
By Joe Romm
19 January 2016
(Climate Progress) – NASA climatologist and astronaut Piers Sellers has a moving New York Times op-ed piece about his plans to keep working despite his diagnosis of terminal Stage 4 pancreatic cancer.
It struck a chord with me, especially since the headline, “Cancer and Climate Change,” was one I had for a previously unfinished and unpublished post I wrote a few years ago — after I was diagnosed with a pancreatic neuro-endocrine tumor (the general class of tumor that killed Steve Jobs, though mine was probably non-lethal). […]
I share his optimism that the worst of climate change can be avoided. To paraphrase something I wrote in 2009 about another dying climate hero: there is hope, as long as people like Piers Sellers are willing to use their energy — even their last drop of energy — to tell the world what is to come on our current path and how we can stop it.
There’s only one piece of Sellers’ optimism I don’t share: He wrote, “Last year may also be seen in hindsight as the year of the Death of Denial.”
In fact, the deniers quickly went after Sellers despite the fact that he doesn’t have long on this Earth. An astonished AP science writer Seth Borenstein tweeted Sunday:
Wow. Climate doubters are attacking dying astronaut, climate scientist. Just stunning. https://t.co/oM9hQ5Inwu— seth borenstein (@borenbears) January 17, 2016
And Breitbart wasted no time in misrepresenting and smearing Sellers, with a piece absurdly headlined, “NASA Chief: Global Warming Is Real Because I Have Cancer.”
As the saying goes, the only things certain in life are death and taxes … and denial.
Mortality is inevitable. But catastrophic climate change is not. Rather, it is a choice that humanity is making, driven in part by the most well-funded disinformation campaign in human history — and in part by humanity’s own myopia and greed, which allows us to continue embracing a global fossil-fuel driven economy, even though the science now makes clear the world economy is Ponzi scheme
Each year, we consume more and more of the world’s carrying capacity — livable climate, soils and arable land, fisheries, fresh water and so on — to maintain a lifestyle that will be utterly unsustainable for our children and grandchildren. [more]