2010-11-05 16:11:55GOP to investigate ‘scientific fraud’ of global warming: report
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.160.198

Not sure how substantial it is - surely all the newly elected GOP politicians are still rearranging the paperweights on their desks. Anyway, the news:

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/gop-investigate-scientific-fraud-global-warming-report/

Does include a nice link to our page on consensus.

2010-11-05 16:52:59
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.116.139
Maybe Obama will get Steven Chu, Secretary of Energy, to focus on fighting this issue. He would actually be good in a debate: He thinks on his feet and has the scientific chops (Nobel prize in physics) to stare down the "scientific" deniers.
2010-11-06 01:14:34
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
93.231.154.124

Couldn't these "investigations" be stopped before they even get off the ground by showing how big a waste of taxpayers' money they would invevitably become?

As I'm not too well versed in US-politics, I have a question: have most of these "clowns" now been elected for the next 6 years or is there a chance to give them the boot sooner? I really think that folks running for a political office should first be required to take a kind of "science-literacy-test" much like everybody has to pass a driving-exam before being allowed to drive a car unsupervised. They are after all supposed to be "at the steering wheel of a country - and should therefore be able to drive without accidents", aren't they? The way things are shaping up now, they won't take long to run the country off a cliff....

Cheers
Baerbel

2010-11-06 01:17:52
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.116.139

My dear Baerbel,

Your rationality is refreshing.

However, it amply clear that, as you say, you're "not too well versed in US politics." The point of investigations is not to find the most efficient (or any) solution. The point of investigations is mostly to advance a political agenda. I believe the consensus for this statement among political scientists exceeds the consensus for AGW among climate scientists!

Details:

- The term of office for a Representative is 2 years.

- The term of office for a Senator is 6 years; however, someone elected to replace an early retiree faces election at the time the original office holder would have.

- The requirements for a candidate for these offices was defined in the US Constitution, around 1787. Regrettably, scientific literacy is not among them.

2010-11-06 01:53:38
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
93.231.154.124

Hi Neal,

somehow I have the feeling that - at least some pieces of - U.S. politics are more like "antics" - the stuff, the GOP is trying to do, being a point in case.

I guess, the main point of these "investigations" is to prevent the invevitable from happening (like switching to renewable energy) for as long as possible to please the fossil fuel interests, right?

Cheers
Baerbel

2010-11-06 03:30:53
Ned

ned.flounders@yahoo...
129.170.23.58

Baerbel, that's about right.  Those who aren't directly trying to "please the fossil fuel interests" probably just want to provide good theater for their constituents.

It is perfectly possible for a large proportion of US politicians and voters to be completely out of step with modern science.  In fact, this is already the case with evolution.  Roughly 40-50% of the US population rejects the idea that humans evolved from other species. 

If it's at all reassuring, this widespread ignorance hasn't prevented American scientists from engaging in high-quality research in biology, genetics, and other fields where acceptance of evolution is important. 

On the other hand, we (probably) need something very different in this area (climate change) -- a coordinated national & international effort to reduce fossil fuel emissions.  Having a bunch of yahoos deny the concept of evolution doesn't prevent scientists from using it in their research (or biotech companies from getting rich) ... but a large enough concentration of yahoos can certainly prevent any progress on large-scale decarbonization.

2010-11-06 04:51:32
nealjking

nealjking@gmail...
91.33.116.139

The goal of these investigations is to put off the move from fossil fuels until the moment that fossil fuels become unprofitable anyway; but the method is to discredit the science.

The larger danger (larger even than destroying the global environment through AGW) is that the mode of attack, if successful, will discredit not only climate science but all science. Scientific knowledge is more like a web than an isolated jewel: If a large segment of society decides that some of it is dispensable, all of it becomes vulnerable.  That is definitely a path to ruin, not only for GW matters, but for all other matters that relate to dealing with physical reality.

Plan B will then have to be a technocracy, where the technocrats will have to be in charge just because they are actually in touch with reality - regardless of their political skills and intentions. They will stop AGW; but they will do it by force, because a large number of people won't believe in the issue or its solution.

So, oddly enough, the fear of a 'socialist' world government that would impose a solution to AGW will turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: by making any other approach to a solution unworkable and impossible. 

Gosh, this is a dark train of thought, inspired by the aftermath of the US election. Somebody talk me out of it. Please.

2010-11-06 05:06:42
Ned

ned.flounders@yahoo...
129.170.23.58

So, oddly enough, the fear of a 'socialist' world government that would impose a solution to AGW will turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy: by making any other approach to a solution unworkable and impossible. 

Gosh, this is a dark train of thought, inspired by the aftermath of the US election.

 

In my darker moments I think the more likely outcome is that once the denialists have made any other solution impossible we'll just do ... nothing.  That is to say, we'll keep burning oil until all the extractable oil is gone, then out of desperation we'll switch to coal liquification, tar sands, and oil shale.  Sure the landscape will be a mess and the atmosphere will be over 1000 ppm CO2 with all the expected consequences, but at least we'll still have our SUVs.

Ugh.

2010-11-06 05:53:17
BaerbelW

baerbel-for-350@email...
93.231.154.124

I didn't know if I should laugh or cry when I watched the new video with Rachel Maddow about the right-wing echo-chamber. In addition, I was at extreme risk to get whiplash from all the head-shaking I was doing throughout

Can people really be this stupid to believe stuff like this and vote for people who believe it? (And, yes, unfortuantely I know the answer to this question)

Cheers
Baerbel

2010-11-06 09:54:27inquiry
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
38.223.231.252

Baerbel - I saw that video too.  It's funny and depressing at the same time that so many people could get stuck in the insane right-wing echo chamber.

The supposed climate investigations will be performed by the House of Representatives.  As neal said, they're elected to 2-year terms, so we'll have the opportunity to kick them out in 2012.

I think too much is being made about potential GOP climate investigations right now though.  Not only have they not rearranged the paperweights on their desks, they don't even take office until late January of next year.  The article was based on another article (from the Atlantic) which made just a brief mention that the GOP will conduct climate inquiries.  This statement no doubt originated from recent GOP threats to do so, but it remains to be seen whether they'll follow through.  I'm not saying they won't, but it's too early to be panicking just yet.

2010-11-06 11:09:44
Rob Painting
Rob
paintingskeri@vodafone.co...
118.93.198.129

Sure the landscape will be a mess and the atmosphere will be over 1000 ppm CO2 with all the expected consequences, but at least we'll still have our SUVs.

Ned, I consider that unlikely. I know it's not an issue touched upon very much, apart people like Jared Diamond, but I'd expect the collapse of the global system, well before those figures are reached. .

The fact that the experts continually underestimate the speed of change occurring in the natural environment doesn't fill me with confidence. It seems that examining gradual change in Earth's history is serving as a poor analogue for today's events. Humans are damaging and disrupting so many natural systems, I don't doubt there are surprises lying in wait.

2010-11-06 13:14:43Democracy
James Wight

jameswight@southernphone.com...
220.238.207.27
"Gosh, this is a dark train of thought, inspired by the aftermath of the US election. Somebody talk me out of it. Please."

Sorry, Neal, but I've been trying to talk myself out of the same train of thought. The best I can offer is a pithy quote from Winston Churchill:

"Democracy is the worst form of Government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time."
2010-11-10 09:18:59Or maybe the Repubs aren't going to witchhunt climategate...
John Cook

john@skepticalscience...
124.186.160.198

Another rumour, Climategate will not be the focus for Republican enquiries:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/eis_gop_really_holding_hearing.html

Hard to say which way it will go...

2010-11-10 15:01:05dumb idea
dana1981
Dana Nuccitelli
dana1981@yahoo...
71.137.148.215

"Barton wants to hold hearings to try to get the Environmental Protection Agency to study the impact action on global warming will have on jobs."

That's a bad idea.  Studies have shown that climate legislation has little net impact on jobs - if anything it creates more jobs because green energy is more job-intensive than coal energy.  But hey, if Republicans want to hold hearings to make that point public knowledge, that would be terrific.  Of course I'm sure they'll get some "experts" from the Heritage Foundation to argue to the contrary.