Friday, January 19, 2007


Predicting the weather


Cathy Young of the Boston Globe from writes:

Mark Kleiman, a professor of public policy studies at UCLA and a self-identified liberal, noted this recently on his blog...."To those who dislike a social system based on high and growing consumption and the economic activity that supports high and growing consumption and maintains high and growing demand, to those who think that the market needs more regulation by the state, to those who think that international institutions ought to be strengthened . . . global warming is a Gaia-send" -- since it justifies drastic worldwide public action to curb production and consumption. While Kleiman sympathizes with environmentalists, he notes that "their eagerness to believe the worst" -- for instance, in Al Gore's documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth" -- "is just as evident as the right wing's denialism."

... those on the left who embrace environmentalism as their substitute religion don't want to hear about scientific and technological solutions to climate change -- from nuclear power to geoengineering, the artificial manipulation of the global environment -- that do not include stepping up regulation and curbing consumption.

Her conclusion?

Most journalists and pundits have limited knowledge of science...(and) an ideological crusade can be as strong an inducement to bend the truth as the profit motive.

There is a ways to go in the science; we have even further to go in deciding the best way to attack the problem - if indeed it can be solved by humans. I know the solutions I've seen so far have been less than satisfactory and the idea that I think shows the most promise is the one that is most ignored - for reasons of politics.

(That would the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate. Google it, or hit me with an e-mail address in the comments and I'll send you a .pdf file of the ABARE report. Hey, Dubya can't get everything wrong.)

Surely we can quit villifying the skeptics and instead address their concerns rationally. Many of their concerns are based on the political agenda of true believers as much as - or more than - the science itself. Contrary evidence as to causation is simply being shouted down and labeling the opposition seems to be a substitute for rational argument. We surely don't need to brand skeptics or those who hold competing theories as heretics and shun them...

Dr. Heidi Cullen, Climate Expert at the Weather Channel seems to think otherwise.

If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval. Clearly, the AMS doesn't agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns. It's like allowing a meteorologist to go on-air and say that hurricanes rotate clockwise and tsunamis are caused by the weather. It's not a political's just an incorrect statement.

We've made huge policy blunders in the past based on scientific "consensus" that turned out to be just flat wrong. How many are dead of malaria who didn't have to die?


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