Saturday, February 03, 2007


OK, so now can we agree on global warming?

So let's see where things stand on the global warming "debate."

We learn this week that the most comprehensive report on the matter minces the fewest words yet. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expresses 90 percent certainty that the planet is warming before our eyes and that we are to blame for it. Global temperatures are expected to rise 3 to 11 degrees by 2100 with ocean levels rising as much as 23 feet. Those dire chicken little predictions of the past 20 years have turned out to be undestatements. It's too late to stop this climatological freight train, but perhaps we can mitigate it significantly if we act now. At least that's what this report, which relied on scientists from over 2,000 scientists from 113 countries, contends. I'm not a scientist, and so I won't pretend to speak authoritatively on the science of global warming and climate change. Instead, I'll cast my lot with what most scientists believe, and at this point, it's clear that the vast majority of scientists believe that human activity is warming the planet.

Can we now declare this debate over, once and for all? Apparently not, as some conservatives (I say "some" because I believe most conservatives also believe the consensus of the scientific community) insist on denying. Sean Hannity said on Thursday that these scientists sound like a bunch of hysterical children, and he managed to dig up some guy from MIT to concur. We know there are some like Hannity, who still want to pretend there's a debate on this issue, that a handful of global warming naysayers is sufficient to negate what most of us would agree is consensus. There remain many who insist the Holocaust is a myth, that the Earth is flat, and the Moon-landing was a hoax. Yet, most of us consider these matters to be completely settled. So why do we insist on pandering to those who so badly wish to believe that a few fringe elements constitute credible debate?

We've seen the 1998 memo dredged up from Exxon-Mobil officials urging that money be spent to fund global warming deniers to propogate this illusion of debate, which in turn allow President Bush to say that these questions are unsettled. We learned this week that the American Enterprise Institute, funded by Exxon-Mobil and closely tied to the Bush White House, was peddling an offer of $10,000 to any scientist to publicly poke holes in the IPCC report. We know of the many government climate scientists who quit because of heavy-handed editing of their work to play down any mention of the possibility that we're making our planet warmer.How many times have we heard U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., call global warming "a hoax?" And don't forget science fiction writer Michael Crichton, whose book "State of Fear" describes those who warn of global warming as part of a sinister conspiracy and web of deceit, a portrayal that earned Crichton an invitation to the White House to advise President Bush on climate issues. I find it laughable that Crichton, whose books warn that nanoparticles will turn the planet into a mass of gray goo and that prehistoric creatures will eat us if we keep messing with DNA, now implores us to be reasonable.

Then there are the average rank-and-file Joes who buy into all this denial and sophistry.
"A new, IPCC report, is nothing more than guesses and theories," writes the blogmeister at NewsByUs (get the right-wing pun?) "However, it was written by people with the same misguided mind set as Al Gore." From what I can tell, Mr. NewsByUs is a Christian conservative. I presume he's part of the religious right establishment that has sold itself out to satisfy the interests of corporate America, or perhaps he's one of those who believes that Jesus will return in the next few weeks, so who cares if the Earth gets warmer? Or judging by his blog, his hatred for liberals is so knee-jerk that anything Al Gore says automatically demonstrates a left-wing conspiracy. Come on, even Pat Robertson now says, "I'm a convert." Speaking last summer on "The 700 Club," he said, “It is getting hotter and the ice caps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air. We really need to do something on fossil fuels.”

Yet disbelief persists from those insisting on an impossible threshhold of truth. In other words, they don't wish to believe, therefore they refuse to. It's an inconvenient truth, to be sure. The deniers employ the powers of dubious observation (If the Earth is warming, then why was it so cold this morning?); folksy homespun wisdom (Now, come on folks, my granddad said it was plenty hot when he was bent over with his cotton sack, so let's not lose our heads here); re-interpretation of what the science actually reports (I don't care if the IPCC Third Assessment explicitly states that we're making our planet warmer, if you actually read the report, it says otherwise); anti-media obfuscation (Of course the media reported that the IPCC said we're causing global warming. They're a bunch of liberals. What do you expect?); and isolated, localized facts with no context ("Britain is one degree Celsius cooler now than it was at the time of the Domesday book," states one denial website).

So, since I hold with the four-out-of-five scientists doctrine, let's see what the scientific community says. Four IPCC assessments have now been issued since the panel was commissioned in 1988. Each one has turned up the volume to state with greater and greater certainty that human activity is causing global climate change. The National Academy of Sciences this past summer, in a report commissioned by Congress, stated, "The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions." A group of several large American corporations, including Alcoa, Duke Energy, Caterpillar, DuPont, BP and General Electric sided last month with environmentalists on the global warming debate, calling on the U.S. government to take action now to curb greenhouse emissions.

So, now that we've spent the past 20 years studying the matter, can we move on now and do something to save our planet? Apparently not, because the granddaddy of all global warming deniers resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., and I don't expect him to budge anytime soon.

bush certainly isn't going to do anything but make global warming worse. hell, even the democrats aren't willing to take adequate steps. i read obama's book and he barely mentioned global warming, except to play up ethanol, which is a nonsolution giveaway to archers daniel midland.

but i think there's a lot we can do as individuals. maybe the biggest thing is to stop eating meat, or at least eat less of it. a recent UN report found that the livestock industry accounts for 18 percent of human-induced greenhouse gases (more than cars!), and a university of chicago study concluded that switching from a typical american diet to a vegetarian diet reduces your contribution to global warming more than if you switched from a regular car to a hybrid. not to mention all the other environmental damage done by the meat industry, or the horrific suffering of the animals.

then there's all the other things that show up on typical lists - take public transit, bike, or walk instead of driving, switch to compact fluorescent lightbulbs, just buy less stuff. it's no substitute for government action, but we americans have to get used to consuming less, both for environmental and social justice reasons.
Wow, a left winger that thinks that we should stop eating meet because
Blogger: Post a Commentof global surprising. Hey, and while we're at it, lets promote abortion (because hey, they'll be less people to pollute), support homosexuality (same reason), ban cars, shut down all industry, ban Christianity (think of the loss of pollution from all those people not going to church on Sunday!). Global warming is absolutely "the Left's last best chance to gain a stranglehold on our political system and economy." The left continues it's manipulation of environmental issues for political purposes, and poses anyone who disagrees as a lunitic. When a very left and politically driven UN Scientist report comes out, the left once again claims that every scientist in the world of any credibility believes that global warming is man made, and if you don't, then you're automatically not credible. If you're backed by liberal governments, environmental companies, or radical Greenpeace initiatives, then you're credible. If you've ever taken a dime from an oil company then your Satan's son.

I think that it is the liberals who want to hold their hands over their ears and refuse to believe anything that might counter their radical environmental political agenda. If you really ARE open to hearing the otherside (which you'll never hear listening to the main stream media), here's a good, recent article by the Wall Street Journal:
and the web page by a group of New Zealand Scientist who seek to know the truth of global warming:
I agree, Jake. Sadly, I'm still wedded to my diet of steady meat, but I have considered giving it up completely. The effect of raising animals for food is devastating to our environment. God save me from my hypocrisy.

As for B from Dallas, his view is becoming increasingly irrelevant and anachronistic. He doesn't even realize he's on the wrong side of history, standing alongside the likes of Lee Raymond and Tom Coburn.
I am constantly amazed by bloggers who state that global warming is an American leftist-driven political issue. What about the the other 190 countries that signed off on the latest consenus that man is causing global warming? There definately is a group within America that are politisizing the climate issue and it is not the left.
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