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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

When Thomas Friedman was wrong, people listened. Now that he's right, will they still?
Posted by Jill | 5:49 AM
When Thomas Friedman was supporting the War in Iraq and saying things like "Suck on this, Iraq!", he was regarded as a sage, and invited to tubthump about the war everywhere. Now that he's talking about climate change, and he's actually RIGHT for a change, will the same right-wingers who thought he was so smart listen? Or will they be too busy thinking that because we now have 16" of snow on the ground in New Jersey instead of palm trees, it means climate change doesn't exist?
When you see lawmakers like Senator Jim DeMint of South Carolina tweeting that “it is going to keep snowing until Al Gore cries ‘uncle,’ ” or news that the grandchildren of Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma are building an igloo next to the Capitol with a big sign that says “Al Gore’s New Home,” you really wonder if we can have a serious discussion about the climate-energy issue anymore.

The climate-science community is not blameless. It knew it was up against formidable forces — from the oil and coal companies that finance the studies skeptical of climate change to conservatives who hate anything that will lead to more government regulations to the Chamber of Commerce that will resist any energy taxes. Therefore, climate experts can’t leave themselves vulnerable by citing non-peer-reviewed research or failing to respond to legitimate questions, some of which happened with both the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia and the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Although there remains a mountain of research from multiple institutions about the reality of climate change, the public has grown uneasy. What’s real? In my view, the climate-science community should convene its top experts — from places like NASA, America’s national laboratories, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford, the California Institute of Technology and the U.K. Met Office Hadley Centre — and produce a simple 50-page report. They could call it “What We Know,” summarizing everything we already know about climate change in language that a sixth grader could understand, with unimpeachable peer-reviewed footnotes.

At the same time, they should add a summary of all the errors and wild exaggerations made by the climate skeptics — and where they get their funding. It is time the climate scientists stopped just playing defense. The physicist Joseph Romm, a leading climate writer, is posting on his Web site, climateprogress.org, his own listing of the best scientific papers on every aspect of climate change for anyone who wants a quick summary now.

The right-wing ridicule about climate change is yet another example of how, for Republicans, ideology trumps everything. When their vacation homes in Florida are under water, and malaria becomes common in Missouri, and category 5 hurricanes are the rule rather than the exception, do they think their snark about Al Gore is going to mean anything?

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Anonymous Charlie O said...
They all think "global warming" was a weather forecast. Morons! This country is doomed.

Blogger Jayhawk said...
Well, even right he's a moron. "Climate wierdness?" What are we, collectively about twelve years old? A reasonable person with an IQ higher than room temperature might suggest a return to the term "climate change" perhaps.

Blogger Bob said...
It's taken decades & legislation & court victories & huge sums of money just to the bring the Hudson River back to the point where it's not too poisonous for fish, although its still polluted. Science tells us climate change is largely (though not entirely) the result of human global pollution. People resist climate change science the way so many resisted cleaning up the Hudson, & start by denying the science, the necessity, & the possibility of success.