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Climate Researchers Feeling Heat From White House 635

Posted by Zonk
from the get-up-there-and-talk-science-boy dept.
Jeff K writes "Facts and science collide with tribal loyalties, the Washington Post reports: 'Scientists doing climate research for the federal government say the Bush administration has made it hard for them to speak forthrightly to the public about global warming. The result, the researchers say, is a danger that Americans are not getting the full story on how the climate is changing.'"
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Climate Researchers Feeling Heat From White House

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  • by liliafan (454080) * on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:40AM (#15075947) Homepage
    Is this really a shocker? Bush has had a policy of denying global warming is a result of humans, the fact he is giving the NOAA extra money for research rather than prevention is quite interesting, global warming is something that is happening.

    I remember years ago when the offical stance was there is no such thing as global warming, this has evolved to, there is no proof of global warming, to okay it exists but it isn't our fault, somehow I get the feeling the intention now is to attempt to prove it isn't caused by the biggest donators to the Bush administration.

    When the whitehouse and the pentagon started to open up and declassify documents all those years ago, it was a good thing it felt like finally they are opening up, now things are going back to feeling more like the cold war, a policy of secrecy, spying (although internally now rather than on a foreign element), lies, and gagging the people with important information.

    So as you feel your skin cancer forming and watch the ice caps come washing over us, just remember it isn't because of mankind, President Bush says so.
  • by MECC (8478) * on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:40AM (#15075951)
    "Although Bush and his top advisers have said that Earth is warming and human activity has contributed to this, they have questioned some predictions and caution that mandatory limits on carbon dioxide could damage the nation's economy."

    Of course, the cost of doing nothing is much lower in the long run.

  • do they care? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by P3NIS_CLEAVER (860022) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:41AM (#15075952) Journal
    It doesn't appear that US citizens even care about global warming. Maybe work on this first, or is the Federal goverment responsible for public morals?
  • by tpgp (48001) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:42AM (#15075964) Homepage
    The result, the researchers say, is a danger that Americans are not getting the full story on how the climate is changing.'"

    You only have to read a slashdot story on Climate Change (and the amount of time posters call it "global warming" to know that the vast majority of people all over the world are not getting the full story on climate change.

    I'm more worried about the current administration's failure to legislate forced change to energy (particularly oil & gas) consumption, then I am about the American public's lack of awareness of the facts.
  • Gov Money (Score:1, Insightful)

    by TheKAVH (196883) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:42AM (#15075969)
    I guess this is the price you pay for taking money from the government for your research. Perhaps the government shouldn't be doling out the money. Maybe the government shouldn't be given that power. The power of the US Government comes mostly not from the armed forces but the money it takes in and gives out.
  • by farker haiku (883529) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:43AM (#15075980) Journal
    "There has been a change in how we're expected to interact with the press," said Pieter Tans, who measures greenhouse gases linked to global warming and has worked at NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder for two decades. He added that although he often "ignores the rules" the administration has instituted, when it comes to his colleagues, "some people feel intimidated -- I see that."

    I think I like this Pieter Tans guy. I think there needs to be more scientists^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H people like him, who don't allow their convictions to be challenged by the administration.
  • Seems familiar (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ucaledek (887701) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:47AM (#15076025)
    Not to draw TOO many parallels, but remember when Galileo et al gave scientific findings that the governing powers didn't like? One of the causes, I feel from experiences with research, for the acceleration of scientific discovery is the change from a few centuries ago when science was done at the behest of the wealthy/powerful for status. As science was removed from the political, innovation and creativity flourished. This seems a bad sign of a growing politicization of scientific research, which is what kept things so slow for so long.
  • World. Ending. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Dr Reducto (665121) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:48AM (#15076030) Journal
    It seems like what they are complaining about is that the Bush administration doesn't want people who work for them to talk to the media and espescially don't want them to field questions on public policy.

    In effect, a non-issue. Most of you already know you shouldn't go to the media and make comments about the job your boss is doing, or make comments about what they should do instead. I really don't think it's out of the ordinary for Bush to put a collar on his subordinates.
  • Don't blame Bush! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Josh teh Jenius (940261) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:48AM (#15076032) Homepage

    Bush is evil, yes, yes, but stop blaming him for Global Warming.

    You want the truth? This is *my* fault. In fact, just yesterday I noticed the bathroom light was on, and I figured "oh well, not worth getting up" and left it on.

    Anyone under the age of 30, intelligent enough to use a computer, who intentionally reproduced despite the COMMONLY UNDERSTOOD STATE OF AFFAIRS, should be very, very ashamed of themselves. Anyone attempting to "play dumb" or "blame politics", doubly so.

  • by NoData (9132) <_NoData_.yahoo@com> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:51AM (#15076055)
    I thought that this was a dupe [slashdot.org], but then I realized it's the same tactics, different agency. Just our lovely administration "staying the course" on being "good stewards" of the environment.
  • Re:do they care? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Scarblac (122480) <slashdot@gerlich.nl> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:52AM (#15076072) Homepage
    They don't care because they think it's not serious, or not happening at all. I'd say that informing citizens about upcoming disaster is a government responsibility.
  • by argoff (142580) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:52AM (#15076075)
    In all fairness, nobody talks about how government orgs like the EPA allocate funds for climate reasearch with heavy biases in favor of research that tends to promote the necissity of a larger EPA. But then when it goes the other way around, people scream bloody murder.

    Get the government money out of the freakin cliamte research studies to begin with, and they might actually become credible.
  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:52AM (#15076078) Homepage Journal
    This story has a "both sides of the coin" situation to me, and one HUGE reason why I absolutely despise government financing and control of research. To say the Bush Administration is the problem is to ignore the reality of government -- it is seemingly all powerful, very corrupt, very easily manipulated if you have the cash, and never thinking about its citizens as individuals, just as voting groups.

    Clinton was no better, no matter what the Progressives might say. This is the reason guys like this run for office -- to change the climate of thinking in the US and in the World. When it comes to public opinion, you may win on occasion when the big guys pick your side, you may lose on occasion. But when it comes to reality, you'll always lose -- the politicians will never do things the way you want them to, and they usually have hidden reasons for doing what they do.

    If this doesn't help prove the case for withdrawing federal funding of research (and arts and dozens of other areas) to better allow researchers to publicize evidence for their beliefs, I can't think of what will.

    There is no federal mandate for financing science or art or anythink of the sort, and the reason for it was so that the science and the art wouldn't be corrupted by opinion or political control.
  • Politics aside... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GrayCalx (597428) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:54AM (#15076088)
    Really, politics aside, all I hear about lately is Global Warming. Ever since Gore had his big push when The Day After Tomorrow came out, it seems like its all i ever hear anymore. Time and Newsweek just gave Global Warming their covers recently... I just don't see how theres information out there that isn't getting to me. At least information i could understand, I don't need up to the minute global-current charts.
  • by codegen (103601) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @10:54AM (#15076092) Journal
    Americans will only start caring when they lose some coastal cities.

    You mean like new Orleans?

  • by BungoMan85 (681447) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:00AM (#15076147) Homepage
    And I'm sure BushCheneyCo (tm) and his big cabal of corrupt campaign contributors aren't responsible for previous warming (and cooling) periods either... They say they aren't, so that means they really must be cause anyone who says their not all dirty profit driven corporate beholden liars is either bought out by them or is so dumb they've been duped by BushCheneyCo (tm) and his big cabal of corrupt campaign contributors.

    At the risk of destroying the effectiveness of my post I'd like to clarify that that was sarcasm.
  • by smooth wombat (796938) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:06AM (#15076228) Homepage Journal
    Of course! It's no different than the ID vs. Evolution nonsense. They keep moving the goalposts everytime new information is gathered and presented.

    The recent posting [slashdot.org] about a new fossil link between water creatures moving onto land is the classic example (as is archaeopteryx). Such a creature was predicted both in the evolutionary path as well as the geologic path. And the prediction was confirmed by the discovery.

    But the IDers will now say (and this was discussed ad nauseum in the postings) "Well what about the creature that came before or after it? Where are those fossils?"

    So off the paleontologists go and find those fossils and the IDers repeat the same questions. Same thing here. The evidence for global warming continues to be found and expanded upon and every time the data is presented someone chimes in "But man can't affect the Earth! We're too small in the grand scheme of things."

    In 1815 Mt Tamboras eruption caused the year without a summer. It spewed out roughly 40 million tons of gases and ash from April through June. In one year man produces orders of magnitude more pollutants through the burning of fossil fuels than was done in those two months. Apparently it's ok for a volcano to influence the worlds climate but when man throws out, on a continuing basis, enormous quantities of pollutants every year, well that can't have an effect on the climate.

    It's time to get over ourselves. We are, to an extent, influencing global warming which may or may not be a natural phenomenon. These are facts which cannot be disputed. But as the parent poster said, as you watch the ice caps come washing over us, just remember it isn't because of mankind, President Bush says so.

    The really sad part is that if prevention or at least mitigation would take place it would provide a needed boost to employment in this country. Think of all the companies who would need to expand or be created to produce the pollution control products for factories and power plants. Think of all the people who be needed to service those products.

    If nothing else, think of the influx of taxes that the Republicans could use to create a bigger, more intrusive government. Think of the children and all that porn that could be banished from the interweb! Won't someone think of the children!

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohnNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:09AM (#15076267) Journal
    It's easy to fault Bush and to make him sound like a two year old. Oftentimes, it just requires you to copy and paste something he said.

    But I would like to point out that there is a good article regarding this matter [factcheck.org] and it happens to take a look at it without political bias (if you believe that's possible).

    Essentially what I'm asking you is, "Would a Democratic president be doing anything differently?" That's hard to decide--both sides are all talk and no action on this subject.
  • Re:World. Ending. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rewinn (647614) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:14AM (#15076319) Homepage

    > don't want them to field questions on public policy

    When public policy is related to science, talking about science is talking about public policy.

    The current White House policy is to deny castrophic global climate change; therefore scientists are forbidden to tell the truth about the science of global climate change.

    It is simply wrong to tell scientists to lie about their findings.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:18AM (#15076378) Journal
    "Climatological Cassandras are becoming increasingly apprehensive,
    for the weather aberrations they are studying may be the harbinger of another ice age." - TIME, Monday, Jun. 24, 1974

    But NOW (I understand) they're sure?

    Let's just point out:
    "From around 150,000 to 130,000 years ago, North America experienced colder and generally more arid than present conditions. About 130,000 years ago, a warm phase slightly moister than the present began, and conditions at least as warm as the present lasted until about 115,000 years ago. Subsequent cooling and drying of the climate led to a cold, arid maximum about 70,000 years ago, followed by a slight moderation of climate with a second aridity maximum around 22,000-13,000 14C years ago. Conditions then quickly became warmer and moister, though with an interruption by cold and aridity in many areas around 11,000 14C years ago."
    (Jonathan Adams, Environmental Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
    http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/nercNORTHAMER [ornl.gov] ICA.html [ornl.gov]

    Does the temperature seem to be moving up lately? Yep.

    Beyond that, it seems to be a huge guessing game: are humans responsible for the current warming? (personally, I think we probably contribute significantly to it)

    Is warming a catastrophe? Even IF you buy into the Cassandras, for every "coral reef is gonna die because the water's too warm!" it's hard to believe that there's not a corresponding expansion (northward) of coral-reef-able zones. For every acre of expanded desert, there's another acre of former-tundra that now has a growing season.

    And don't even get me STARTED on "cities will flood" crap. Duh? For ANY city in any location, over a long enough span of time, the odds of it surviving unscathed are ultimately zero. Nobody built the big cities (generally starting as a cluster of wooden huts around a river or nice bay) with an eye toward their long term survivability - NOBODY. To presume at this point that we need to exert every effort to somehow FREEZE Earth's dynamic climate to accomodate habitation choices made 000's of years ago?

    That's just stupid.
  • Of course! It's no different than the ID vs. Evolution nonsense.

    This statement on /. is getting to be like Godwin's Law. I'm hereby naming it "Martorana's Law" (that's my last name) - within any discussion of Science, there is an ~90% chance that someone will take the opportunity to take a swipe at ID.

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not an IDer. But for God's sake, this is flaimbait. An obvious attempt to get the discussion going again so mods can have fun down-modding any IDer into total oblivion while patting themselves on the back for being so enlightened, so much more intelligent than the masses.

    So "Martorana's Law" is now on the books. Slashdotters love to put down ID, even during a discussion on global warming or current administration corruption.

    Good job. Pat yourself on the back. So enlightened.

  • by BungoMan85 (681447) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:20AM (#15076389) Homepage
    I didn't defend anyone. I tried to illustrate the absurdity of the people who jump all over the Bush administration for global warming. Granted the person I responded to did it in an admitedly level headed way. But, I would not be lying if I said I have seen people go into seething rages when global warming and Bush are mentioned in the same sentence and then procede to go on tirades like the one I did with sarcasm and believe every single word of it whole heartedly.
  • Marketing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by silverbax (452214) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:22AM (#15076417)
    Some marketing professionals have stated that the reason people in the U.S. don't care about global warming is because of how it's presented: global is good, warming is good, how can 'global warming' be so bad? They should call it what it is: 'atmosphere cancer', 'oxygen rot' or 'Earth decay'.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:24AM (#15076442)
    Yet another drama filled screed about some scientist being "gagged". Has it occurred to anyone that if we are reading about it and about his opinions on Global Warming that he is not being gagged?

    What's happening is that they are being told that they do not speak for the administration whenever they open their mouth about something. No one is holding a gun to their head to make them say something or prevent them from saying something. They just can't say it as if they are the official spokesman for the Administration. That is nothing more than common sense management.

    Of course, this won't stop the coming wankfest of Daily KOS, Dem Underground pseudo scientists from filling Slashdot with all kind of vitriol towards anyone to the right of Howard Dean.

    And anyone who would dissagree with the wacky left had better post anonymously, otherwise they will have their karma pummeled to the point that they will be effectily "gagged" much more than any government scientist supposedly is.
  • by GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) <curt@johnson.gmail@com> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:28AM (#15076501) Homepage
    In all fairness, nobody talks about how government orgs like the EPA allocate funds for climate reasearch with heavy biases in favor of research that tends to promote the necissity of a larger EPA.

    How is that fair when it ignores the peer review process that is designed to eliminate these biases?

    Get the government money out of the freakin cliamte research studies to begin with, and they might actually become credible.

    Straw man. You give no explanation as to how they are not credible, nor do you state how a non-government entity would be able to avoid this charge of budget increase bias. If one was to look at the credibility of the Bush Administration vs. the credibility of NOAA and EPA scientists, I don't see a scenario where the Bush Administration has higher credibility.

    The GOP has been cynically playing the role of the skeptic, but they are not offering rational criticisms, just hyperbole and rhetoric. This is an old tactic of theirs, they prey on the idea that to be intellectually honest, one must consider all evidence and the misunderstanding that induction increases scientific knowledge. They do not offer counter evidence, or attempt to falsify the claims of climatologists, they attack the integrity of the climatologists using the old trick of infinite logical regression. Using infinite logical regression exposes the logical fallacy of justified knowledge, the root cause of the problem of induction. The Bush Administration and it's allies have simply not offered scientifically valid criticisms, yet they claim that they are correct in a matter of science.

    The only way to defeat this utter absurdity is to realize that science does not rely on induction. They have not falsified theories on global warming, they have only attacked the inductionist view of the evidence pertaining to climate change. Unless you believe that scientific knowledge is increased by induction (a logical fallacy), their criticisms are useless to furthering the search for truth on climate change.

    This is either more incompetence or dishonesty on the part of the Bush Administration. As before, neither is acceptable.
  • by jdavidb (449077) * on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:28AM (#15076504) Homepage Journal

    Don't get me wrong. I'm not an IDer. But for God's sake, this is flaimbait. An obvious attempt to get the discussion going again so mods can have fun down-modding any IDer into total oblivion while patting themselves on the back for being so enlightened, so much more intelligent than the masses.

    Okay, here I am. I'm a fundamentalist creationist. I believe the literal understanding of Genesis is the most likely explanation of what happened, although it may not tell the full story, and/or may be figurative or symbolic or something.

    Have fun. Beat me. Slap me. Mod me down. I know someone will get their jollies. I'd hate to deny it to you just because Martorana pointed out where this was going and tried to stop it.

    Maybe eventually we can just get the discussion simplied to something like "Is not!!!" "Is so!!!~!1~!" to save time or something.

  • by GOD_ALMIGHTY (17678) <curt@johnson.gmail@com> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:33AM (#15076560) Homepage
    The logical fallacies used by the ID crowd are the same set of logical fallacies used to attack climate research, ergo, criticisms of ID pertain directly to the climate research debate.

    The enlightened person realizes this and points out the symmetry. That way, we can use the same logical basis for defeating these intellectually dishonest criticisms on climate research that we use to defeat ID.

    I'm sorry, but I don't think you've discovered the new Godwin here.
  • Re:do they care? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cornflake917 (515940) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:42AM (#15076665) Homepage
    "A recent poll published in the Chicago Sun-Times now shows that 'An overwhelming majority of Americans think they can help reduce global warming and are willing to make the sacrifices that are needed, a new poll shows. After years of controversy, 71 percent of Americans now say they think global warming is real."

    I really wish that this meant that Americans actually care about global warming, but think about this for a second. What is our voter turnout rate? Less than 50% right? However, just about everyone has an opinion about the gov't. They want something done and they bitch about it, but they never actually DO anything about it. Sure, maybe we can get most Americans to turn down their thermostat 2 degrees. But what if they had to give up their precious SUV's? Just because people say they are willing to make sacrifices doesn't mean they will.

    But because of this, I couldn't agree more that the government needs to change it's policies.
  • by stlhawkeye (868951) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:48AM (#15076728) Homepage Journal
    Is this really a shocker?

    No. I fully expect all presidential administrations to keep a tight leash on what gets reported as "official" government science.

    Bush has had a policy of denying global warming is a result of humans

    It can reasonably be disputed based on our current evidence. We have established correlation, but not causation.

    the fact he is giving the NOAA extra money for research rather than prevention is quite interesting

    Yes, it means he's doing exactly what he said he was going to do - fund more research and gather more data. You can disagree that this is necessary (I don't happen to - more data is always good).

    global warming is something that is happening.

    I don't recall the White House denying this.

    I remember years ago when the offical stance was there is no such thing as global warming

    Under which President? Bush has never as President (to my recollection) insisted that global warming does not exist at all.

    this has evolved to, there is no proof of global warming

    Well, there wasn't any proof for quite some time. Just speculation and incomplete data.

    to okay it exists but it isn't our fault

    Again, this isn't the official White House line. The official line is, "we don't know for sure and I want to be sure before I sign economically crippling policies to screw up everybody's lifestyle." That seems sensible to me.

    somehow I get the feeling the intention now is to attempt to prove it isn't caused by the biggest donators to the Bush administration.

    Such as? Bush isn't running for election again, even if the Democrats are still running against him. Why would he still pander to lobbyists?

    When the whitehouse and the pentagon started to open up and declassify documents all those years ago, it was a good thing it felt like finally they are opening up

    Well, a war can tighten up the flow of information.

    now things are going back to feeling more like the cold war, a policy of secrecy, spying (although internally now rather than on a foreign element)

    Spying internally? So wiretapping people who are suspected of having conversations with foreign Al Qaeda operatives is NOT spying on a foreign element?

    lies

    Such as?

    and gagging the people with important information.

    This does bug me, but since this administration can't seem to keep a lid on its leaks, it doesn't seem to be a real problem.

    So as you feel your skin cancer forming and watch the ice caps come washing over us, just remember it isn't because of mankind, President Bush says so.

    He could end up being right. He probably won't. We'll find out eventually!

  • by ppanon (16583) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @11:56AM (#15076832) Homepage Journal
    Essentially what I'm asking you is, "Would a Democratic president be doing anything differently?" That's hard to decide--both sides are all talk and no action on this subject.

    Actually, the answer is quite clear on this. The last Democratic president was doing things quite clearly differently (i.e. supported Kyoto and didn't suppress embarrassing research results); it was a Republican Congress that blocked his efforts. The 2000 Democratic candidate is active in raising awareness of global warming. It's reasonable to believe that another Democratic president would do things differently as well.

    I'm tired of "the other side is just as bad" bullshit arguments. After the results of the 2000 elections, it should be pretty clear that that's not true. Most of the people who make those kind of claims are just trying to avoid moral responsibility for results of their (selfish) choices.
  • by jahudabudy (714731) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:01PM (#15076880)
    I tried to illustrate the absurdity of the people who jump all over the Bush administration for global warming.

    Blame Bush for global warming? Wow, that really is the height of absurdity. The people I know tend to simply jump all over Bush for his policy of denying global warming, or denying that it is caused by humans. Those that criticize him for this policy do so in the belief that this policy is fueled more by an unwillingness to face negative economic consequences than any actual belief. To put it another way: if I thought that Bush honestly felt that humans were in no way responsible for, nor could affect, global warming, I would simply disagree with him. If I thought that he simply cared more about certain special interest groups' multi-billion dollar profits than he did about the future well-being of everyone on the planet, I would despise him.

    But yeah, blaming the Administration for causing global warming, rather than blaming it for refusing to help reduce the trend for purely selfish reasons, is rather silly.
  • Re:Gov Money (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Krow10 (228527) <cpenning@milo.org> on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:04PM (#15076913) Homepage
    I guess this is the price you pay for taking money from the government for your research.
    It shouldn't be. Doing a job for the government should mean that you are ultimately responsible to the people of the US and not to the party in power. The party is administration, not the client. To put this in corporate terms, the client of an employee of a corporation is the shareholder (not to be confused with the speculator, but that's another rant) and not the management. The government should never be an arm of the party. A government scientists should be able to report on research even when the resaerch says something that the party in power doesn't like.

    Cheers,
    Craig

  • Disheartening (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DRM_is_Stupid (954094) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:08PM (#15076941)
    The academia usually doesn't get censored very often in the West. During Chairman Mao's rule, Chinese professors were criticised for being "anti-revolutionaries." Smart people who know shit and know what's going on are liable to expose the administration's lie.
  • Re:Skeptical (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Dominic (3849) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:09PM (#15076953) Homepage
    > the Kyoto treaty that just happens to be rigged to do disproportionate harm to America

    Umm.. like America is doing disproportionate harm to everyone else (and itself) right now? Seems fair to me.
  • by mOOzilla (962027) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:10PM (#15076958)
    This is something that is affecting us all and beyond. Can the rest of the world not sanction the US on these issues?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:10PM (#15076965)
    In 1815 Mt Tamboras eruption caused the year without a summer. It spewed out roughly 40 million tons of gases and ash from April through June. In one year man produces orders of magnitude more pollutants through the burning of fossil fuels than was done in those two months.

    Do you care to cite your reference for orders of magnitude greater, or at least give a number? Since we are arguing facts, facts would be nice, not generalizations. And you also neglect to mention that there are volcanoes that erupt consitantly or continually, where are their stats? Last I heard Kilauea in Hawaii, had been erupting almost comtinually for over 10 years.

    I am not saying there is no such thing as global warming, I'm not saying we don't affect it, but you brought up a comparison of nature vs. man and included only natures stats. Can someone also talk about deforestation and destruction of vegitation, if we reduce the Earths capacity to process greenhouse gasses, it makes what is produced, by man or otherwise, much worse.
  • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:10PM (#15076971)
    The problem is that IDers are not just a bunch of harmless backwater hicks. They are actively trying to redefine the meaning of the word science. That statement is not hyberbole. The Kitzmiller decision is one good example -- it was admitted on the stand (by Behe) that for ID to qualify as science, then the definition of science would have to change. What it would change to would also include (also according to Behe) astrology.

    They are attempting to undermine the very basis of rational thought just because it doesn't align with what they think the Bible says. This is NOT new -- Luther himself called reason "Satan's whore." There is a long and rich tradition of anti-intellectualism in this movement, and the denial of global warming (and then the backup position, that humans aren't involved) goes hand-in-hand with Intelligent Design. Also involved here is the fact that most evengelicals (who make up the vast bulk of the ID movement) believe that Jesus is coming back during their lifetime--i.e. end-times are nigh. If you literally believe that you and yours will be raptured to Jesus in the next few decades, then don't you think that might just influence your views on the necessity of environmental activism? So flinging about the label of religious nutjob, while entertaining, is not by any means gratuitious.

    ID and "skepticism" over global warming are both integral parts of the same movement. This linkage is not figurative or polemical--we're talking about two fronts being fought by the same army. So bringing up ID in this context is nothing at all like calling someone a Nazi just because you don't like them.

    Yes, moderators land hard on ID proponents, just as they would if someone said "I don't buy it that germs cause disease," or, "I don't believe in continental drift--it's just a theory." The astounding arrogance and willful ignorance of ID proponents deserves to be modded down. Would you be for "teaching the controversy" to placate a group that wanted to displace the germ theory in favor of the idea that demonic possession causes illness? No, eventually you'd get snippy and start humiliating them in public, because it's just a stupid position to take.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:16PM (#15077022)
    I tried to illustrate the absurdity of the people who jump all over the Bush administration for global warming. Granted the person I responded to did it in an admittedly level headed way. But, I would not be lying if I said I have seen people go into seething rages when global warming and Bush are mentioned in the same sentence

    It's like seeing a tobacco executive in the 80's deny smoking causes cancer when, in the previous 15 years, you've had a number of family members who smoked heavily then die of lung cancer.

    He's lying. He knows he's lying through his teeth and so do you. And yet many people believe him because they're in denial of their smoking habit.

    And, as you see his smug face on TV denying a smoking-cancer connection, you vividly remember your relatives as they were in pain and wasting away in a hospital bed. Wouldn't that piss you off too?

    That's why some people get angry about Bush and Cheney when the latter deny man's influence on global warming or, until recently, global warming itself. They are lying to protect their self-interest and those of their oil-industry executive buddies who make big campaign donations. They know they are lying and they don't care how bad the results are.

    It's beyond hypocritical. It's evil.
  • by Eggz Factor (455382) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:26PM (#15077131) Homepage
    "Of course, the cost of doing nothing is much lower in the long run."

    I understand your sarcasm, and support it.
    I am continually amazed at the mindset of those who would take no action to scale back our species contribution to the greenhouse gas issue, and our effect on the closed ecosystem we inhabit. The argument regarding the cost of retooling for lower emissions seems to come from those who have the most to gain financially from not altering their business model and those unwilling to alter their lifestyle to one with a smaller environmental footprint. Yeah, it's getting warmer, and it's not all our fault, but we have contributed to the problem. Instead of inhabiting the island of denial, think about the financial/social impact of things like changes in ocean level, the ozone layer, plankton levels, alteration of weather patterns, and attendant disruptions in conditions for agriculture, the impact of natural disasters.

    Explain to me, then how it is a bad thing to cut our green house gas emissions, which seem to be accelerating the melting of global ice cover, and thawing of permafrost (think methane and CO2 released). Also explain why it is "too costly" to reduce our reliance on combustible fossil fuels, which contribute to the particulate matter ejected into out atmosphere. What is wrong with eliminating smog in out large cities? Why is it so difficult for some people to see that this is not a partisan issue, it is one of greed and power.

    Some of us can look beyond how "cheap is my gas" and "does the electricity flow when I flick the switch?".
  • by Baby Duck (176251) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:33PM (#15077192) Homepage
    Even if everything you said here is true, it does NOT justify censoring of scientific conclusions that say otherwise. And it does NOT justify threatening the livelihoods of the dissident scientists.
  • by oldenuf2knowbetter (124106) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @12:34PM (#15077208)
    Sure, let's eliminate taxpayer funding and wait for private industry to fill the void. I'm just as certain as can be that we can expect Exxon, BP, and Shell to provide many millions of dollars for research into the role of fossil fuels in climate change with no strings attached.
  • by geoffspear (692508) on Thursday April 06, 2006 @03:35PM (#15078984) Homepage
    Even more important, how many disasters have government laws stopped? New Orleans? San Fran earthquakes? Mississipi flood basin?

    This is possibly the most flawed argument I've ever read on Slashdot. Of course the disasters that happened weren't stopped. The disasters that didn't happen were the ones that were stopped. Obviously, we can't count them. That doesn't mean they weren't prevented.

    How many more deaths would their be from earthquakes if building codes on earthquake-prone areas didn't exist? Look at developing countries' mortality rates after earthquakes and compare them to rates in California. How many more people would have been killed in New Orleans without NOAA warning that a major hurricane was coming and that people should leave, and without government-built levees that at least delayed the worst flooding and almost certainly attenuated it to some degree? We can't say for sure, but that doesn't mean these things saved no one.

    How many people would die every year in the US from foodborne illnesses if there were no health inspectors? How many murders are prevented because the hypotethical killer is afraid of the consequences of breaking the law? None? I doubt it. Are no fires prevented by electrical codes? Would nuclear power plants all keep from melting down if the industry was allowed just just run them as cheaply as possibly by ignoring safety regulations?

    Would there be more morons like you running around if we didn't have compulsory education?

  • This based on a COMPUTER MODEL of climate

    false

    from sci.environment today:

    i will point out that the argument from classical radiative physics is very well known for more than a century. i understand from some of your previous posts that you are most sceptical and disbelieving of large numerical models requiring extensive computation. i therefore suggest you read the following paper

    Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, Fifth Series, page 237 et seq., April 1896. 'On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground' by Svante Arrhenius

    i further suggest that you equip yourself with pencil and paper and work through the arguments presented therein.

    this is a very nice paper and may be verified with some elementary calculation, with no use of elaborate computer models. i have done so and satisfied myself that the result is sound.

    if you are able to find some glaring error in the physics or the mathematics in this paper, i am sure you will forever be famous.

    these can't even predict the weather beyond four days with any reasonable accuracy

    Irrelevant. Waves are not predictable but tides are.

    we find engineering solutions to the problem, hm?

    yes please. Nukes, I think.

    we can sure as hell figure out how to build carbon dioxide sinks and somehow get this out of the atmosphere. If engineering is the problem, engineering can sure as hell find a solution.

    Not much surer than hell, though. The scales are daunting, and by the nature of the problem we can't solve it by applying more energy. People are working on it, but the solutions so far all turn out to be either non-functional or more expensive than just finding ways to cope with less energy. I'm sure if you have any specific ideas you can find some funding to develop it, though. Don't let me discourage you in this regard. We NEED such a solution. It's just not sure there is one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06, 2006 @04:16PM (#15079328)
    To presume at this point that we need to exert every effort to somehow FREEZE Earth's dynamic climate to accomodate habitation choices made 000's of years ago?

    Well, if the area you currently grow a significant portion of the world's food in becomes that desert, there may be a few problems... But hey, we can just relocate the people in the new fertile land and rebuild the farms (obviously we can go without the food production during the time it takes to get all that ironed out, and it would be far less damaging for our economy than trying to slow the warming down, obviously).

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