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Are Facts a Matter of Choice?

Updated on August 19, 2017
Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran is a writer & former newspaper reporter/editor who traveled the world as a soldier's better half. Her works are on Amazon.


Otherwise, accept some facts:

Life is full of choices when it comes to what we choose to believe.

You can be a person of faith or you can be an atheist.

You can be a Republican or you can be a Democrat.

You can believe the Atlanta Falcons will actually win a Super Bowl one day or you can be a Baltimore Ravens fan and actually live the dream.

But when it comes to the issue of climate change, you can accept the facts or you can stick your fingers in your ears and sing "La-La-La" to block them out.

2005 report by NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies said more energy was being absorbed from the sun than was being returned to outer space resulting in an unprecedented rise in the earth's temperature.

California Technical Institute Researcher Nate Lewis has written that his research shows the earth's atmosphere remained relatively unchanged for twenty million years. But in the last hundred years, since the beginning of the industrial revolution when many nation's economies switched from being primarily agricultural to being carbon dioxide emitting industrial, the atmosphere has radically changed in ways that will impact not only humanity but also plant and animal life on earth.

The most rapid increase in temperature has occurred since 1970. The ten hottest years, according to the World Meteorological Organization, have been from 1995 to 2005, That organization has kept records since 1860. The measurable difference in that period of time in the earth's temperature is 1.44 degrees Fahrenheit. The difference between a planet that is a frozen ice ball and one that is comfortable for human life is a mere 42 degrees Fahrenheit. That's the weather difference between summer and fall that most places experience every year. It is the difference between needing a light jacket or not.

Now, these same scientists will tell you that the earth has experienced temperature changes throughout its history. Between the eleventh and fifteen centuries the earth experienced a period of cooler temperatures. The Pew Center on Climate Change reports that natural variability cannot account for what has been happening since the late twentieth century.

Studies of the earth's ice cap track the emission of carbon dioxide going back thousands of years. Lewis reports the level in the atmosphere was stable at approximately 280 parts per million as far back as scientists can research. But in the 1950s the rate showed evidence of rising, and by 2007 the rate grew to 384 parts per million and has continued to climb by 2 parts per million a year since. The result: a warmer earth due to what has become called the enhanced greenhouse effect.

Based on current data we are on track to add 100 parts per million of carbon dioxide to our atmosphere in the next 50 years resulting in an additional 42 degree Fahrenheit average temperature increase worldwide. It took us 300 years to add that amount previously, and ten thousand years to add that amount prior to that.

In August of 2005 when Hurricane Katrina struck the Mississippi to Louisiana coast the waters in the Gulf of Mexico were about 2 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the historical average for summers.

A heat wave in Europe in August 2003 had temperatures throughout the month of more then 100 degrees Fahrenheit. More than 35,000 people died. It was considered a once in a hundred year event. By 2050 the weather models estimate those temperatures will be an every other year occurrence.

In the summer of 2007 the Northwest Passage in the Arctic Ocean that had not been navigable in recorded history was able to be reached by ships because so much of the sea ice melted that year. Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the U.S. Snow and Ice Data Center, said the Arctic is the canary in the coal mine for climate warming - the first indicator of life-threatening danger.

March 15 to 21, 2008, The Weather Channel tracked 185 record highs either tied or set when only 28 record lows were either tied or set. Their sources have reported the number of record highs in any given month since that week continue to outpace the number of record lows nationwide.

But science is only science. This issue in America has become the worst thing that can happen to science. It has become political, which means people are now choosing what facts they want to believe and what facts they want to "La-La-La."

The facts you choose to believe determine your actions, and the actions that needed to be taken to deal with climate change should have been made about thirty years ago. Instead thirty years ago solar panels placed on the White House during the Carter Administration were removed when Ronald Reagan moved in and the environment became a political issue.

After presidents Ford and Carter urged higher fuel economy standards for cars and trucks, passenger vehicle mileage grew from 13.5 miles per gallon to 37.5. This change helped weaken Middle East oil conglomerates and damaged the economy of the Soviet Union, a major worldwide oil producer.

The Reagan Administration rolled the standard back to 26 miles per gallon and reduced the budget of the alternate energy programs, particularly the budget of the Solar Energy Research Institute. With the help of a Democratic Congress tax incentives for solar and wind start-up industries came to an end along with environmental regulation going back the the Nixon presidency. All the while Americans became more and more dependent on oil from the Middle East. The political fallout from that fact is the subject of some other hub.

How and why climate change has become a question for our elected officials to debate is not the point of this hub. The point is that facts are facts. They aren't beliefs or political convictions. Science is telling us we are doing a big thing badly, and the time to take steps to correct it is actually long past. We'd better get headed in the right direction - now.

"La-La-La-ing" won't change the facts.

NOTE: For opposing views on this subject go to this article in the WallStreet Journal:


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    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      DDE: There is much to think about here and so many places these days. Glad you found this one interesting.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      5 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Put Your Fingers in Your Ears and Say 'La-La-La!' An interesting and useful hub, so much to think about here.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Doc Snow: Coming from you that is high praise. I'll keep an eye on what you write on this subject in the future. You seem to have your finger on the pulse of climate change.

    • Doc Snow profile image

      Doc Snow 

      5 years ago from Camden, South Carolina

      A nice run-down of some of the leading points! There's so much to be said on this topic, but you've produced a good précis.

    • justmesuzanne profile image


      5 years ago from Texas

      Indeed it does...

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      justmesuzanne: Thanks for your comments and welcome to my hubs. It is a matter of concern to all of us how we are daily being manipulated by God knows who for God know what purposes. I don't consider myself to be a pessimist, but it makes you wonder what agenda very powerful groups or individuals are pursuing and to what end.

    • justmesuzanne profile image


      5 years ago from Texas

      It is terrifying the way corporate interests (e.g. the Koch Brothers) have managed to spread disinformation about global warming and turn it into a matter of opinion. A person who doesn't "believe" in global warming or climate change might as well say he or she does not believe in gravity. It isn't a matter of opinion. It is a matter of scientific knowledge and consensus. Great HUB! Voted up, awesome and shared!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      You're my first comment sense I included the opposing views. Makes it darned confusing, doesn't it? If only there were easy answers. I agree we ought to err on the side of caution. Thanks for the read and the comments.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      6 years ago from Houston, Texas

      Hi Kathleen,

      After reading your hub and the Wall Street Journal article, I would say that the jury is still out. That being said, it makes sense to me to expand the use of solar energy...make cars that travel further on a gallon of gas...plant more trees, etc. The weather does seem a bit more erratic the last few years, but judging weather patterns and drawing conclusions...we must take a much longer range look to draw valid conclusions. It IS sad that it has become a political topic of debate. Up and interesting votes!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      In spite of what I hope is an attention-grabbing title, the reporter in me has forced me to add a link at the end of this hub that gives the reader an opportunity to hear opposing views on this subject. And it is not a conservative blog, but the reputable Wall Street Journal.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Austinstar: "Wake up and smell what few roses we have left." Love it!

      Angie: Interesting to hear from another culture. There are no easy answers.

    • Angie Jardine profile image

      Angie Jardine 

      6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

      Brilliant analysis, Kathleen … unfortunately you have a great many disbelievers in global warming in the US in particular. Such an inconvenient truth stops them driving their gas guzzlers etc.

      Here in the UK we are so committed to clean energy that we have a reverse problem. They are wanting to cover the country in wind farms and fields of solar panels but even this is motivated by greedy companies.

      The beauty of Cornwall, where I live, in particular is suffering - I just wish they would get on with geothermal energy and wave power - we need some sort of middle way asap.

    • Austinstar profile image


      6 years ago from Somewhere near the center of Texas

      Humans no longer depend on small groups for survival. This is the reason for so much disagreement. Overpopulation of the planet is the root cause of just about any problem you can name.

      The industrial revolution - Too many people needed 'things' and jobs and cars and washing machines. Now we have to pay the price. We are trying to reverse what we have done to ourselves.

      There is no answer to the problem either. Unless you consider mass extinction to be an answer.

      By 2025 there will not be enough clean accessible water for our population. Infrastructure is already failing in large urban areas. That is not too far off people. Wake up and smell what few roses we have left.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Thanks always exploring. I just wanted to point out that this issue shouldn't be a political issue. But folks sure do feel strongly about it. I wonder how many have looked at the statistics?

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      6 years ago from Southern Illinois

      Bravo.. We have been warned and yet we do nothing..Remember when Al Gore was laughed at and ridiculed because of his concern for global warming? The oil industry cares nothing about the climate change. Greed has taken over, and we will all pay the price. I am hopeful with this administration, we will see a change in policy, thus saving us from total extinction. Thank you for sharing....

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      I approve all comments to my hub and yours is most welcome. Just please don't misquote me. " This issue in America has become the worst thing that can happen to science. It has become political" is what I said. Please read my profile and some of my other hubs before you slap labels on me and I will do the same for you. Thanks for reading my work.

    • Dont Taze Me Bro profile image

      Banned cause of PISSANTS Promisem and Dean Traylor 

      6 years ago

      Funny isn't it? For how many years were we told the appendix was a vestigial organ the human body did not need - even though they had no idea what its original function could have been. We now know, however, that the appendix serves an important role in the fetus and in young adults. Among adult humans, the appendix is now thought to be involved primarily in immune functions. It is no longer routinely removed and discarded if it is healthy and the appendix now appears to have a reason to be – as a "safe house" for the beneficial bacteria living in the human gut. Beneficial bacteria in the appendix that aid digestion can ride out a bout of diarrhea that completely evacuates the intestines and emerge afterwards to repopulate the gut.

      If scientists weren't brainwashed to believe in evolution they would never have concluded the appendix was a worthless vestigial organ but because science didn't have all the answers back then they shoved their conclusions (based on nothing but belief in evolutionary theory) down our throats. And these same cynics would be the first to say people superstitiously turn to a belief in God for comfort in the face of the unexplained when they themselves invariably turn to their unsubstantiated but believed theory of evolution when their science has no other answer. It is the height of hypocrisy and plain pathetic. Only when scientific advancement and discovery reveals an explanation are they forced to drop their false conclusions (based solely on faith in a theory) but life goes on as if they never tried to pull the wool over our eyes. I'd bet the majority of people still think the appendix is a vestigial organ.

      So don't tell me that I should be lending any credence to the accusation that global warming is a manmade phenomenon especially when you have left out many, many facts from those you string along in your little rant from La La Land (my home planet btw) that are actually contrary indicators to what you imply your random group of "facts" indicate. Science is not a process of cherry picking isolated facts and then implying some vague conclusion with them. And scientific research does not always produce facts as is demonstrated by scientists concluding the appendix was a vestigial organ.

      "America has become the worst thing that can happen to science"

      So this really reveals your motivation behind this hub - you are a blame America liberal - you actually hate America. That statement should read science can be the worst thing to happen to America when scientists have political agendas (America has no political agenda, America is "We the People) - just look at what lengths scientists have been known to go to to blood suck money out of the American taxpayer, or did you ignore what happened at "climategate" and the lying University of East Anglia scientists.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 

      6 years ago from New York

      Well, I have to say it is good to see you back and yes, you've still got it. Your "la-la-la" is right on. Whether people believe what is going on or not, it is time to study the issue and find out what to do before it is too late. This well written hub should give people pause to think.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • phdast7 profile image

      Theresa Ast 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Well done. A cogent, well researched and argued statement about what has been taking place, why we should be concerned, and why it is imperative that our concern lead us to make non-emotional, non-religious, non-political, and constructive policy changes.

      Sometimes the ability to influence the future is in our hands. What a tragedy if we do not act because we are instead occupied with partisan bickering and mud-slinging. Sharing.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Wow, and yes you do! I will have to come back later and share, as my computer is acting up, but I will for sure share!

    • Kathleen Cochran profile imageAUTHOR

      Kathleen Cochran 

      6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Faith Reaper: This is my first hub since early December. Thanks for the encouragement. It's like a fast ball. You wonder if you've still got it!

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      6 years ago from southern USA

      Very informative hub here and, yes, someone needs to unplug their ears no doubt!!!

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper


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