Category Archives: Global Warming

The Crackpot Consensus

One of the most challenging aspects of adjusting to the NAO’s is the fact that so many of them are, well, stupid. Todd Akin’s absurd belief that women have some sort of magical control over their bodies if only they’d decide to use it is just the tip of a very large, annoying, and dangerous iceberg. The Times’ Timothy Egan gives a chapter and verse or two that barely scratch the surface but make the point quite clearly: many of the most powerful people in the country, all of them major puppets of the oligarchs, have demonstrated again and again that they have great faith but zero actual knowledge. Continue reading

Global Warming 2: Empty Promises and Stalling at the G-8

I keep hoping somebody somewhere is going to hold the Emperor’s feet to the fire, and I thought maybe the G-8 conference on global warming would be the place. Host Angela Merkel, German Chancellor and a fire-breather when it comes to the environment, started out pushing Bush harder – a lot harder – than our home-grown Bubble Boy is used to. She was dead-set on specific commitments: actual numbers attached to real targets with specific end-dates. No more of these vague “voluntary” agreements from the US – the biggest polluter on the planet – that leave corporations free to spew as much poison into the air as they feel like without consequences or any kind of realistic plan to reduce harmful emissions in, like, this century.

Alas, it was not to be. Bush wanted the spotlight moved away from the US and onto the next two biggest polluters, China and India, and he got what he wanted by making another vague promise to “enter negotiations” before – get this – 2009.

The United States agreed Thursday to “consider seriously” a European plan to combat global warming by cutting in half worldwide greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, averting a trans-Atlantic deadlock at a meeting here of the world’s richest industrial nations.

The compromise, worked out in tough negotiations between the United States and Germany, also endorses President Bush’s recent proposal to bring together the world’s largest emitting countries, including China and India, to set their own national goals for reducing emissions.

The agreement reached Thursday does not include a mandatory 50 percent reduction in global emissions by 2050, a key provision sought by Chancellor Angela Merkel, nor does it commit the United States or Russia to specific reductions.

Coming from the man who has made a million promises in the past 6 years and kept two of them – tax cuts and the permanent occupation of Iraq – this one is worth nothing. Less than nothing. Bush, complaining of a convenient tummy ache, wasn’t even there for the announcement.

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Bush’s “Position-Change” on Global Warming a Sham

Recent statements in which Bush seemed to have reversed his barricaded stand against acknowledging global warming and crossed to the other side got some people excited and made others suspicious. Those statements ignited a certain amount of legacy talk – as in, “Bush is finally concerned that his legacy as a president ought to include something other than the Iraq debacle” – and had people wondering if it he had finally come to his senses.

Now we know. He hasn’t.

As thousands of protesters clashed with police nearby, President Bush and leaders of other industrial nations traded markedly opposing views here Wednesday on how to combat global warming.

Despite the refusal of the United States, China and some developing countries to agree to calls for mandatory cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, Bush expressed optimism that the summit of the Group of Eight countries would result in agreement for a common strategy.

And what might that “common strategy” be, so you suppose? Ta-da:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, host of the gathering at this Baltic Sea resort, has said she wants action on global warming to be the centerpiece of the meeting. She has pushed for specific numerical targets for lowering gas emissions by 50 percent by 2050 and holding temperature rises to 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

As an alternative, Bush has offered to convene a series of meetings among the world’s 15 top greenhouse gas-emitting nations with the goal of reaching consensus on nonbinding goals for reducing the pollution. Scientists say the gases are the prime cause of the current warming trend.

Asked by reporters whether he could relent and sign on to Merkel’s goals, Bush said: “No. I talked about what I’m for. Remember? I said I’m for sitting together with the nations to sit down and discuss a way forward.”

(emphasis added)

That’s precisely the same bullshit “strategy” Bush has been selling from the beginning. Now he wants to shove it onto the rest of the world.

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Those Darn Scientists!

Drat those pesky troublemakers! We keep coming up with cappa stories about stuff and they keep dragging in facts! Who needs ‘facts’? They just get in the way.

A Bush administration report suggests that evidence of global warming has begun to affect animal and plant populations in visible ways, and that rising temperatures in North America are due in part to human activity.The report to Congress, issued Wednesday, goes further than previous statements by President Bush. He has said more scientific research is needed before he imposes new restrictions on greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

In 2001, after the release of a National Academy of Sciences report on global warming, Bush said the concentration of greenhouse gases has increased, in large part, because of human activity, but he emphasized that other factors could have influenced warming. Referring to the NAS report, he said, “We do not know how much effect natural fluctuations may have had on warming.”

He’s right, you know. ‘Natural fluctuations’ are entirely and completely unpredictable. You can’t know about things like that. Who do you think they are, scientists? Oh, wait….

We’ll just have to bide our time until the ocean washes over NYC and NJ drops into the sea. Then we’ll be sure–that it happened, not that global warming was the reason. With the oil and gas industries at stake, we can pretend there’s no such thing as ‘global warming’ for millenia, and as long as they keep paying us, we WILL!

Several administration officials characterized the study as a routine annual summary of scientific research on global warming. John H. Marburger, the president’s science adviser, said the report has “no implications for policy.””There is no discordance between this report and the president’s position on climate,” Marburger said.

But environmentalists and conservatives said the report reveals contradictions within the administration’s stance on global warming.

Jeremy Symons, who heads the National Wildlife Federation’s global warming program, characterized the study as “nothing new in terms of the science of global warming, but this is definitely new in terms of the administration’s position.”

Those darn scientists thought it was a routine report because everything in it has been known to the scientific community for years. They forgot Cardinal Science Rules #1 (‘NO science is to be considered valid if doing so directly affects the oil industry or any other corporate product in an adverse way’) and #2 (‘ALL “science” must be cleared by the political section; any scientific conclusions deemed harmful to the Would-Be-Emperor’s re-election effort or in contradiction of fundamentalist Xtian fantasies are to be destroyed’).

No worries. Karl will make sure this never happens again.

Bush Admin Pays Attention to Global Warming

When the Bush Administration sees a problem it can recognize, it leaps into action. Take global warming, for example. Faced with the prospect of potential catastrophe arising from oceans rising and swamping whole coasts as the polar ice caps melt, Junior wants to “study” it some more (what he should have been doing in college when he was busy chugging and snorting instead). BUT–when Dan Bartlett, WH Communications Director, discovered that a movie about global warming was about to be released, he swung into high gear, immediately ordering the top Press Officer at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, to tell everybody there to keep shut.

“No one from NASA is to do interviews or otherwise comment on anything having to do with” the film, said the April 1 message, which was sent by Goddard’s top press officer. “Any news media wanting to discuss science fiction vs. science fact about climate change will need to seek comment from individuals or organizations not associated with NASA.”Copies of the message, and the one from NASA headquarters to which it referred, were provided to The New York Times by a senior NASA scientist who said he resented attempts to muzzle climate researchers.

Not to mention the dastardly attempt to keep lowly climate researchers from meeting movie stars promoting the film.

The movie in question, The Day After Tomorrow, depicts an “instant ice age” that occurs over the course of 48 hrs. Guess who made it?

“The Day After Tomorrow,” from 20th Century Fox, is directed by Roland Emmerich, whose “Independence Day” in 1996 depicted an alien invasion of earth and included such memorable special effects as the White House exploding in flames. The new movie’s script contains a host of politically uncomfortable situations: the president’s motorcade is flash frozen; the vice president, who scoffs at warnings even as chaos erupts, resembles Dick Cheney; the humbled United States has to plead with Mexico to allow masses of American refugees fleeing the ice to cross the border.

Oops. Well, as you can plainly see for yourself, this movie clearly represents a greater danger than any old real threat from global warming–it suggests it could happen NOW, during the reign of Emperor George, not at some safe, distant remove like, say, a century or so when, as Bush said to Bob Woodward, “We’ll all be dead.”

Global warming is only important enough to pay attention to when it threatens Junior’s re-election. Actually, everything is only important if it threatens Junior’s re-election. If only the specter of starving kids and civil war in Iraq and a failing economy threatened Junior’s re-election, he might do something about them, too.

Coal’d American

Phaedrus links to a Christian Science Monitor story that reports how dirty coal is making a big comeback.

After 25 years on the blacklist of America’s energy sources, coal is poised to make a comeback, stoked by the demand for affordable electricity and the rising price of other fuels.At least 94 coal-fired electric power plants – with the capacity to power 62 million American homes – are now planned across 36 states.

The plants, slated to start coming on line as early as next year, would add significantly to the United States’ generating power, help keep electricity prices low, and boost energy security by offering an alternative to foreign oil and gas. But they would also pump more airborne mercury and greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and sulfur dioxide into the air

Well, why not? Global warming doesn’t exist, the environment won’t be affected, and anyhow, a little sulfur dioxide laced with mercury never hurt anybody. Gotta keep your eyes on the prize: corporate profits! Everything else is liberal jibberish.

Well, I’m convinced. Phaedrus isn’t so sure this qualifies as a Good Thing–” We’re a bunch a damn energy drunks and if we don’t change our ways we’re gonna die.”–but then he’s one of those left-wing loonies always looking on the dark side (dark like the lungs of the miners after 10 years of getting the shaft being in the shafts). But what’s a little sacrifice like that compared to boosting the profits of the starving energy corps? Priorities, gang, priorities. Gotta have ’em.

Dear George: The polar ice cap is melting. Do you care?

Open Letter to GWB:

Dear George:

The polar ice cap is melting at an astonishing rate:

NASA satellite images show that Arctic ice has been shrinking at the rate of nearly 10 percent a decade. During the past 35 years, it also has thinned by more than 40 percent — from 9 feet thick to about 5 feet.A team of researchers, who will report the latest findings next week in the American Meteorological Society’s Journal of Climate, say they don’t know how much of the change is due to man-made factors. But they say the changes are so dramatic and the likely effects so far-reaching that any political debate over the causes begs a more pressing question.

“Global warming is usually viewed as something that’s 50 or 100 years in the future,” said David Rind, of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. “But we have evidence that the climate of the Arctic is changing right now and changing rapidly. Whatever is causing it, we are going to have to start adapting to it.”

Would you now consider re-considering your unconditional surrender to corporate energy interests in order to help slow down the swamping of our coastal cities? Surely our right to live through the next few decades trumps their right to pollute.

Doesn’t it?

Yours somewhat sincerely.


PS. Doesn’t your family own some beach property in Maine? Just thought I’d mention it.