Saturday, February 03, 2007

Bush and Bodman: Climate Cads

Don't you just hate it when Al Gore is right? And sonofagun, he's been right about global warming for a couple of decades.

Now comes the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which says that it is "very likely" (probability greater than 90%) that human activity is causing the planet to rapidly heat up, with dire consequences. The IPCC is an authoritative world body comprising 150 countries and hundreds of scientists. Rush Limbaugh may disagree, but the global warming science is compelling and the scientific consensus overwhelming. To remain in denial is to be willfully ignorant.

Naturally, the question of the day is what should be our response? Not even the Bush Administration continues to deny global warming. How, in the face of vast and incontrovertible evidence, could they? (Dumb question. This is the same administration that denied the disintegration of Iraq even as it unfolded before the eyes of the world.)

It was clear from his State of the Union address that President Bush just doesn't have his heart in this problem. His pallid comments on alternative fuels were aimed more at energy independence than global warming, and half-heartedly even at that. The President who loses no sleep over Iraq is certainly not kept up at night by concerns about climate change.

And so I'm sorry to report we'll not be seeing any leadership from the White House on this matter. This is, after all, an administration that cannot conceive of asking Americans to sacrifice or to change; an administration that has repeatedly tried to muzzle its own scientists when their scientific conclusions were at odds with administration politics.

The not-my-problem attitude was made embarassingly obvious by statements from energy secretary Samuel Bodman. In comments on the IPCC report, Mr. Bodman said that the United States is "a small contributor" to global warming, and that we need to have a "global solution" to the problem.

Small contributor? Secretary Bodman must surely know that while the U.S. has but five percent of the world's population, it emits one fourth of the world's greenhouse gases. Not only is the U.S. contribution not small, it is egregiously disproportionate.

Global solution? This from the administration that walked away from the Kyoto Protocol--that same Kyoto Protocol that despite U.S. abrogation was nevertheless ratified by 160 countries. Those countries continue--without meaningful U.S. participation--to grapple with the problem of climate change.

The administration has always said, and continues to say, that despite the threat of rising sea levels, greater intensity of storms, unstable weather patterns, and a multitude of other impacts with profound economic (never mind moral) implications, that taking action on global warming would be too big a burden on the U.S. economy. Samuel Bodman: "The U.S. economy is not something to be experimented with, in my judgment."

Whence comes such shameful lack of understanding, lack of vision, lack of leadership, lack of ethics, lack of responsibility? From mere wrongheaded stupidity? From head-in-the-sand self delusion? Or from something darker, more callous, more reprehensible? We can only wonder.

Copyright (C) 2007 James Michael Brennan, All Rights Reserved


At Sat Feb 17, 07:48:00 PM, Anonymous Terry Brennan said...

Yes Michael, I do hate it when Al Gore is right, however in this case, he is way off base. And Mike, did you do your home work here? Or have you conveniently omitted a few important facts by accident?

You seem to blame George Bush for the U.S. walking away from Kyoto. Where you aware however the Bill Clinton also walked away from the Kyoto Protocol? If you would check the facts, Mike you would find out that in July 1997, the Senate unanimously passed a resolution (S. Res. 98) (by a 95-0 vote) stating that it would not ratify any global climate treaty that would seriously harm the U.S. economy or that failed to require developing countries to reduce their emissions within the same time frame as the developed countries. Despite this Senate opposition, the Clinton Administration agreed to the Protocol five months later and then signed it on November 12, 1998. Recognizing the lack of support for the Protocol on Capitol Hill, however, President Clinton never submitted it to the Senate for ratification--a step necessary for it to take effect. Obviously, the U.S. Senate knew that the agreement was flawed.

Also Mike, did you know that the United States has played a leading role in advancing climate science and observations. Since 2001, the President has devoted nearly $29 billion to climate-related science, technology, international assistance, and incentive programs. Since 2002, the President has spent nearly $9 billion on climate science research -leading the world with unparalleled financial commitment.

You also say that the scientific consensus is overwhelming. You also mention hundreds of scientists. I can go tit or tat on this but what would it prove? You can show me hundreds of scientists, big deal, I can show you 17,000 scientists who signed a petition that says that humans are not responsible for global warming. You can probably show me studies that support the theory that global warming is caused by my and for every study that you show me, I can show you one that contradicts what you have just told me. There are many components to global warming. Many of them are natural. I can show you that the hockey stick graph developed by Michael Mann and adopted as the official view for the IPCC is flawed.
History will show you that the earth has gone through many cycles of warming and cooling. Geologists point to a period of much warmer weather prior to the Little Ice Age of 1350-1850 A.D., in which it was possible to farm in most of Scandinavia, Canada and even in Greenland (the name was not a joke). It is too cold to farm in Greenland, northern Canada and all but the southern tip of Scandinavia. Historians speak of times in the distant past when the earth was much warmer than now, such as prior to the fifth century A.D. or the 11th century B.C., when northern Europe was similar to the Mediterranean in overall climate. Imagine shirtsleeve weather in the Baltic in winter.
These periodic shifts in global temperature could have had their origin in any number of phenomenon. Perhaps, small variations in our planet’s orbit, sunspot activity, or alterations in background cosmic radiation effecting cloud cover caused these changes. Moreover, one thing is certain, the climate did not turn back then because people switched from driving gas guzzling SUVs to ethanol powered or electric cars.

Consensus is defined as an opinion or position reached by a group as a whole. Eventually there is a consensus. There's the word that disqualifies any of this as being science. Consensus, in this case, is just a bunch of scientists organized around a political proposition.

I’m sure you’ve heard of the Scientific Method. I remember back a long time ago when you were the smart one in our family when it came to science but maybe you were asleep the day the Wilbur Fast or PJ explained the Scientific Method

The scientific method is the process by which scientists, collectively and over time, endeavor to construct an accurate (that is, reliable, consistent and non-arbitrary) representation of the world.
Recognizing that personal and cultural beliefs influence both our perceptions and our interpretations of natural phenomena, we aim through the use of standard procedures and criteria to minimize those influences when developing a theory. As a famous scientist
once said, "Smart people (like smart lawyers) can come up with very good explanations for mistaken points of view." In summary, the scientific method attempts to minimize the
influence of bias or prejudice in the experimenter when testing an hypothesis or a theory.
I. The scientific method has four steps
1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.
2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena. In physics, the hypothesis often takes the form of a causal mechanism or a mathematical relation.
3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.
4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.
If the experiments bear out the hypothesis it may come to be regarded as a theory or law of nature (more on the concepts of hypothesis, model, theory and law below). If the experiments do not bear out the hypothesis, it must be rejected or modified.
You can't have consensus in science when the science contradicts the science, and that’s the case here In this case it’s just opinion because the science contradicts science
When established facts and scientific principles argue against a theory, then that theory must be untrue or partially untrue. A rock can’t fall down and fly up at the same time. Part of the scientific method is to test hypotheses again and again and then revise an overall theory on the basis of what the tests indicate. Not so with global warming. . In this case there are too many scientists that contradict each other.
When Einstein’s theory of relativity was thought to be insane,” E=MC2, “Einstein provided a method of testing it involving an eclipse and how light would behave. Things happened like he said they would, and we now accept the theory of relativity as science. The point is, if global warming theories were scientific fact, no scientist would be able to dispute it,” and yet, thousands of scientists do dispute global warming

I could go on and on as I’m sure you could too! I can show you many scientific studies. I’m sure you could show me a lot. The only thing it would prove is that the scientific community is in dispute about the causes of global warming.

There are a couple of points that we can agree on.

First, we know the surface temperature of the earth is warming. It has risen by .6 degrees Celsius over the past 100 years. There was a warming trend from the 1890s to the 1940s. Cooling from the 1940s to the 1970s. And then sharply rising temperatures from the 1970s to today. Even George Bush would agree with you on this.

Second, there is gunk, gook or whatever you want to call it the air. Obviously this gunk produces a health hazard. It’s called air pollution.

How these two are related, no one individual or group of individuals surely knows. I don’t know. You don’t know. George Bush doesn’t know. The IPCC doesn’t know. The scientific community doesn’t know because if they did there would be no scientists that would dispute a theory, one way or the other. To say anything else would be irresponsible.

In reality they could be years away from solving this, one of many great mysteries of our planet. So how at this point how do we react? Many predict the economic cost could be devastating to our economy in terms of unemployment, production, inflation, etc.

Obviously we can continue to invest in research and continue to develop cheaper and cleaner burning fuels. We can all work to conserve energy and do more to recycle.

I agree with one scientist who believes fossil fuels should be controlled, not because of their adverse affects on climate but to curb pollution.

Until more is know, for any government, or organization, to do more would be more irresponsible.


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