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Hullabaloo


Sunday, November 29, 2009

 
Rolling The Dice

by digby

From what I can gather, this climate change pseudo-scandal is going to be with us for a while so if you haven't delved into it in any detail, it's probably a good idea to do so. The number of Inhoffian cretins bellowing on TV about hoaxes is growing by the hour. This article by Brad Plumer seems to be a good place to start.

Meanwhile, here's an example of how the issue is being handled by talking heads on television:



SUZANNE MALVEAUX: What can the president do on this issue, James?

JAMES CARVILLE, CNN POLITICAL CONTRIBUTOR: Well, unfortunately, I hope I'm wrong, but not very much. And I hope that talk radio and the pollution lobby are right that global warming is not a problem, and 940 peer reviewed scientific articles are wrong. That's about all we can hope for, because right now, I have to tell you that the pollution lobby and talk radio is winning this battle. And the will in the United States to do something about this is not what I think it should be, but that's the reality of the political situation, as I see it right now.

MALVEAUX: Ben, does -- is James right? Does the president have any power to move the ball forward here if he goes to this summit?

BEN STEIN, COLUMNIST, "FORTUNE" Well, calling the people who want to keep Americans free to use the kind of energy they want to use the "pollution lobby" is a wild smear, and I'm very surprised to hear someone as good natured and kindly as James say it. But it's not the pollution lobby, it's a lobby for the truth.

The truth is that the global temperature peaked around 1998. It has not gotten any hotter. Instead, it's gotten cooler.

The truth is that there have been periods in the past a thousand years ago, 2,500 years ago, when it's been warmer than it is now, when there was no manmade burning of carbon. The truth is that we do not know the exact interaction between all these events and effects and what they do to weather.

The truth is we cannot predict the weather three days from now. To say we can predict it in 2030 or 2080 begs (ph) the imagination. It's just unbelievable.

The truth is we've now got a lot of data coming out that the scientific community around the side of anthropogenic global warming were cooking the data and were suppressing data to those who are questioning their data. So I think the whole thing of fighting global warming may be based on a false premise. Maybe it isn't, but the fact is we just don't know at this point.

MALVEAUX: What the truth, is too, is that Americans are divided politically over this issue. If you look at the poll, "Washington Post"/ABC News here, among Republicans, 54 percent believe that global warming is really happening, but Democrats, 86 percent believe that it is really -- it is taking place here.

CARVILLE: Look, again, I hope that talk radio and the pollution lobby is right, because I -- but I'm afraid that 950-something peer reviewed scientific articles and almost the entirety of the non-paid-for by people that study this think that climate change is real.

I hope they are wrong for the sake of my children. And it seems as though that they've spent a lot of money and have been very successful here.

MALVEAUX: Well, what do you make of that, Ben? Do you think it's just a lobbying effort?

STEIN: Actually, no, there are huge number of scientists who are questioning that. I mean, you say 950 peer reviewed articles. We now learn that the peers are in a kind of cabal -- not all of them, but some of them are in a kind of cabal to suppress any information that challenges the consensus on global warming and the manmade effects on the climate.

There are many, many scientists not paid for by the energy companies. In fact, the energy companies pretty much have backed off and washed their hands of this. They find they just don't want to question the conventional wisdom on this. This is being done, this questioning about the effects of manmade activity on the climate, is being done just by brave independent souls, and it's just not proved.

MALVEAUX: Well, we could debate whether or not this is real or not, but I covered Bush for eight years, and he said that global warming did not exist, that science didn't back it up. But here's a poll that shows that a lot more people are actually agreeing with the former president.

Three and a half years ago, 76 percent of Republicans believed it was happening. Well, now it's down to 54 percent.

Take a look at the Independents. Eighty-six percent thought it was happening. Now it's down to 71 percent.

Democrats, 92 percent. Now it is down to 86 percent.

Is that not going to make it even harder for the president to convince the rest of the world that we need some sort of global initiative here?

CARVILLE: Yes.

MALVEAUX: Climate change?

CARVILLE: The answer is yes.

MALVEAUX: What does he do?

CARVILLE: The pollution lobby is winning. They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars and they are winning.

MALVEAUX: So what does he do? What does the president do, James?

(CROSSTALK)

MALVEAUX: If you could give him some sort of advice, could you advise the president? What does he need to do if he's going to change this and is going to turn it around, or is it hopeless?

CARVILLE: Well, I don't know if it's hopeless. Still, you've got a good majority of the people believing that.

And in the end, scientific truth is going to win out. But right now, you've got to say ExxonMobil was paying tens of thousands of dollars for any "scientist" that would dispute these facts. And over a period of time, this is building up and they are winning.

I don't know why you're not happy about it, Ben.

STEIN: Well, you know, James, with all due respect, I hate to say this because I respect you very much and always love it when I'm on with you, but you just made that up about ExxonMobil. They are not paying tens of thousands of dollars to any scientists...

CARVILLE: Sure they did. They did.

STEIN: ... who will dispute global warming. This is a cabal of global warming -- anthropogenic global scientists who are suppressing anyone questioning them.

It's not the pollution lobby versus the clean air lobby. It's the truth lobby versus those who want to suppress the truth lobby. Look, I don't like pollution either. I don't like those little microparticles that go up in the air and they get in my lungs and they cause cancer. But whether or not -- and I'm all for cleansing the air of as much as possible. But whether or not manmade activity is changing the climate of the Earth, that is very much in dispute, and whether or not we should have giant global policies based on suppressing something which may be a hoax, that's very much up in the air.

CARVILLE: It's very much not very up in the air by the scientific community. But, again, nobody is suppressing it. You're right here saying this, and you all are winning.

The scientific community and the evidence is losing, and that happens. You know? It happens.


He's right. The "skeptics" didn't want to hear Galileo either. Of course, Galileo didn't observe a massive man made phenomenon that would fundamentally alter the way humans live on the planet (if they can live at all.)

For the sake of future generations I hope they're right too. But I can't for the life of me understand why they are so hellbent on taking the risk that they're not. The only thing I can conclude is that they love their gashogs and fighting wars more than they love their own children.


* And notice the tack Malveaux takes. If Americans don't believe it, does that mean it isn't true?



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