Friday, April 22, 2005

Fasten Your Seatbelts

Most scientists believe that [global] warming is caused largely by manmade pollutants that require strict regulation. Mr. Luntz [a Republican strategist] seems to acknowledge as much when he says that "the scientific debate is closing against us." His advice, however, is to emphasize that the evidence is not complete.

"Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled," he writes, "their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue." [emphasis added]
- As reported in the New York Times March 15, 2003

The President's
proactive approach, which is yielding the desired results:

Mr. Bush began reorganizing climate research in 2001, focusing on the uncertainties about the relationship between rising global temperatures and rising concentrations of heat-trapping emissions. His critics, including some scientists and former senior officials in the climate program, say the shift in focus was meant to distract attention from the broad scientific consensus that humans have caused most of the new global warming.

Rick S. Piltz, who resigned last month after 10 years in the Global Change Research Program, which coordinates climate work, said that Dr. Mahoney had good intentions, but that the program had been changed so that worrisome findings did not emerge that could increase pressure to curb emissions. [emphasis added]
If science is against you, blind it:

The Bush administration's program to study climate change lacks a major component required by law, according to Congressional investigators. The program fails to include periodic assessments of how rising temperatures may affect people and the environment....

Without such an assessment, the [GAO] said, "it may be difficult for the Congress and others to use this information effectively as the basis for making decisions on climate policy."
With the scientific data thus manipulated, it becomes easier to oppose needed legislative measures that are less favored by important donors and constituents:

Mr. Bush opposes mandatory restrictions on smokestack and tailpipe gases, which many climate scientists link to global warming, saying the science pointing to the risks remains uncertain.

Other Republicans have broken ranks with Mr. Bush on the climate since his re-election. In remarks at the Brookings Institution in February, Senator Chuck Hagel, Republican of Nebraska, said although the administration had been right to reject the Kyoto Protocol, the climate treaty embraced by almost all other industrial powers, it had never offered a coherent alternative.

"We have been out of the game for four years," Mr. Hagel said. "That's dangerous. It's irresponsible."
Adding insult to injury, at a time when right wing pundits talk, with feigned concern, of "tough choices" on Social Security benefits required by out of control deficits, they vote to funnel billions more to those already appeased backers (who happen to be doing quite well at the moment as the price of oil continues its record-breaking ascent):

The House approved broad energy legislation on Thursday....Many Democrats and some Republicans said the measure, which provides $8 billion in tax breaks to energy producers and billions of dollars more in direct federal aid, was too friendly to industry and gave short shrift to energy efficiency and renewable fuels.[emphasis added]
But hey, who needs a planet when the rapture index is telling us to "fasten our seatbelts" because Armageddon is just around the corner. Just to clarify, that's fasten the seatbelt in your SUV.

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