1.29.2009

Mini Global Warming Roundup

Poll Numbers Down

The WSJ's "Best of the Web Today" feature by James Taranto highlights a recent NYTimes post about global warming's dropping poll numbers.
...there is a widespread belief that the voters handed President Obama a mandate to "do something" about global warming. A poll released last week by the Pew Research Center, however, calls this into question.
"According to the survey of 1,503 adults, global warming, on its own, ranks last out of 20 surveyed issues. . . ."
[The Times] also links to a Rasmussen survey that finds Americans increasingly skeptical about the science behind global warmism:
Forty-four percent (44%) of U.S. voters now say long-term planetary trends are the cause of global warming, compared to 41% who blame it on human activity. . . .

In July 2006, 46% of voters said global warming is caused primarily by human activities, while 35% said it is due to long-term planetary trends.
This is quite a shift. In two years, there was a 9 point surge in the numbers of those who take the reasonable view that man is not the primary cause of global warming (assuming it's even happening).

Taranto goes on to discuss a recent study that claims that humans have already done so much damage that it will take one thousand years to fix, assuming we stop all greenhouse gas emissions right now. The following is an excerpt from an article about the study, followed by Taranto's appropriately exasperated response:
"People have imagined that if we stopped emitting carbon dioxide, the climate would go back to normal in 100 years, 200 years," lead author Susan Solomon, a senior scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said in a telephone news conference. "That's not true." . . .

Solomon said in a statement that absorption of carbon dioxide by the oceans and release of heat from the oceans - the one process acting to cool the Earth and the other to warm it--will "work against each other to keep temperatures almost constant for more than 1,000 years."
Is it absolutely crucial to the planet's future that we curtail greenhouse gases this instant, or would it not make any difference anyway? If the latter, what sense does it make to be alarmed? And that last quote by Solomon is a classic head-scratcher. We're supposed to worry that temperatures will be "almost constant for more than 1,000 years"? That's what they mean by global warming?

Weather forecast for the year 3009: Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. ["The more things change, the more they stay the same" -ed]
The Boston Globe is delivered to my doorstep every morning, and since the inauguration I have noticed a sharp uptick in climate change hysteria (note: they do not say "global warming" anymore, to hedge their bets), along with calls for drastic action and obvious elation that we now have an administration that will "do something." The study by the NOAA scientist was presented as "news" in urgent tones, trying desperately to spin the interpretation of the reader towards the view that things are much worse than we ever anticipated. Taranto's derision is a welcome change, as are the poll numbers showing that people are starting to look behind the curtain.

Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

Despite growing evidence calling into question the theory of global warming, increased skepticism by the public (see above), and more and more public statements by prominent scientists debunking the theories... politicians and alarmists are pushing full speed ahead.

Today, John Lewis and Paul Saunders at Principles in Practice discuss the latest high-profile scientist to speak up.
The Obama administration continues to appoint radical environmentalists who want us to commit industrial suicide on behalf of nature. Meanwhile, top-rank scientists continue to renounce claims of a coming climate disaster.

The latest scientist to voice his conclusions is retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist Dr. John S. Theon. As chief of several NASA programs from 1982 to 1994, Theon was responsible for all weather and climate research...

"I appreciate the opportunity to add my name to those who disagree that global warming is man made,” Theon wrote to the Minority Office at the Environment and Public Works Committee on January 15, 2009.
It is always good to have more voices speak out for reason. But Lewis and Saunders go further and examine why politicians, in the face of mounting evidence in contradiction to their stated positions, continue to push for drastic and harmful regulations to "protect the planet."
In summary, while the vast majority of scientists are going in one direction—repudiating claims of a man-made climate disaster—politicians are going the other direction—embracing such claims and shackling industry on those “grounds.” Why? Why, as the scientific case for man-made global warming collapses, are politicians all the more determined to impose draconian controls on industry?

The answer is morality. Politics is directly dependent upon morality. Politicians who follow a morality of sacrifice will impose laws that enforce that “ideal.” Conversely, those who follow a morality of rational self-interest will act to protect our rights—including our rights to productive action.

The observations, analyses, and conclusions of scientists have never deterred those who are committed to the morality of sacrifice. This latest disparity between science and politics is yet another example of this fact. [bold added]

This is a crucial point to remember, both when trying to fathom how people could be so out of touch with the facts (i.e. reality), as well as when trying to fight the environmentalist menace. It is not only a scientific question, but more importantly a moral one.

2 comments:

Rational Jenn said...

Nice post. It amazes me that anyone would seriously try to assert that Obama has a mandate to do anything....not like he won in a landslide. Or am I missing something?

LB said...

Thanks for the link to the Taranto article. There is a glimmer of hope in his report.