Friday, June 01, 2007

Who's arrogant again?

Via the Swilling, another climatologist off the reservation:

NASA administrator Michael Griffin is drawing the ire of his agency's preeminent climate scientists after apparently downplaying the need to combat global warming.
"I have no doubt that a trend of global warming exists," Griffin told Inskeep. "I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with."
Griffin's comments immediately drew stunned reaction from James Hansen, NASA's top climate scientist at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York.

"It's an incredibly arrogant and ignorant statement," Hansen told ABC News. "It indicates a complete ignorance of understanding the implications of climate change."

Funny, but that didn't seem so arrogant to me. It sounds much more like he was trying to be very careful not to stir the harpies from their nests. (Shame it was unsuccessful, but still.) For example, this was on the front page of yesterday's Newark Star-Ledger, but since I was already sick, I didn't feel up to blogging it:

Wildwood's famous boardwalk could be under water. Smog in the suburbs, heat-related deaths in Newark, and beetle infestations in the Pinelands all could worsen. The Holland Tunnel could be closed every five years on average - because of flooding.
Or New Jersey could become a nationwide leader by passing "the strongest, most comprehensive global warming legislation in the country."
That was the choice outlined yesterday by Suzzanne Leta Liou of the nonprofit group Environment New Jersey, who strongly urged the latter course of action.
"If we don't take drastic action, global warming will touch every corner of New Jersey," Liou said at a news conference at the Statehouse.

It seems to me much more arrogant to believe that the laws of nature and physics are subject to human amendment. It's also kind of silly to think that a piece of legislation in force over 8700 square miles or so is going to have jack squat impact on global weather. It's not as if India or China or Russia are going to suddenly turn into an arboreal paradise because Jon Corzine put his name on a law.

Neither is it proven that everything in the 40-page report she brandished will either come true, or be preventable in any case. For example, the Cape May shoreline has been eroding for centuries already. There used to be a town called South Cape May, with a coastline railway. If you want to find the tracks, you have to go several feet offshore; and the ground itself has been steadily piling up in front of "Wildwood's famous boardwalk." (There's a reason the darn thing is 150 yards inland in spots. Some of the piers don't even reach the water anymore.)

The Mirror Principle strikes again here. Aren't these the folks who are always accusing the right of "needing an enemy" to keep people perpetually scared, in order to win their votes? And yet when you look, there's an environmentalist on the steps of the Statehouse telling our lawmakers (and us) that all is doomed unless they get their way. At least when the right finds an enemy, it's something or someone real, who can actually be defeated. Further, it's the left that cries doom and gloom - Reagan talked about morning in America, and fostered optimism and confidence. (For that matter, GWB has been doing the same now, one of his few remaining strong points.)

I'll try to link later to the full article online.

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