Teapublican Lie #25.

“Climate change is a figment of Al Gore’s imagination.”

When Al Gore produced his highly successful An Inconvenient Truth, Republicans dismissed the movie as a liberal lie concocted to push renewable energy and to undercut the federal subsidies to the oil and gas industries. They also feared that increased environmental concerns would reduce the profits of their corporate masters.

Republicans claimed there is no evidence of climate change, and even if there were there is no proof that it is caused by human activities. Every time there was a large snowfall, they mocked climate change by saying, “Where’s your global warming now?”

Oil companies cited conflicting studies to raise questions about climate change. And Teapublican contributors even commissioned their own studies to refute the opinions of most of the world’s climate scientists. One such study was commissioned in part by the Charles Koch Foundation, whose founder has contributed large sums to conservative causes, has confirmed the findings of mainstream climate scientists. The study by a long-time skeptic of climate change, Richard Muller, found that the earth’s surface is 1.6 degrees warmer than in the 1950s – numbers which match those of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and NASA.

“There is no reason now to be a skeptic about steadily increasing temperatures,” Muller wrote in The Wall Street Journal. Although Muller’s research did not address the cause of global warming, he said it makes sense to reduce the carbon dioxide created by the burning of fossil fuels such as oil and coal. He said that greenhouse gases could have a disastrous impact on the world.

Indeed, the World Meteorological Organization just released a report showing that global warming gases have hit record levels in the world’s atmosphere, with concentrations of carbon dioxide up 39 percent since the start of the industrial era in 1750. The report shows that CO2 levels have increased from about 280 parts per million to 389 parts per million. And WMO Deputy Secretary-General Jeremiah Lengoasa said, “…even if emissions were stopped overnight globally, the atmospheric concentrations would continue for decades because of the long lifetime of these greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”

The WMO report cites fossil fuel-burning, loss of forests that absorb CO2 and use of fertilizer as the main culprits for the increase. And carbon monoxide may be the least of our worries. The methane being released by the thaw of the Arctic’s permafrost is potentially 23 times as powerful as carbon dioxide when it comes to global warming. This is why many climate scientists refer to a cascading effect that will cause irreversible changes that include the flooding of major cities and entire islands that will result in the displacement of millions of people.

The Teapublican refusal to acknowledge the possibility that humans have played a significant role by burning fossil fuels may already have taken us so far down the climate change road that our very existence is threatened.