Sunday, November 01, 2009

Scientists, politics, and global warming, Pt. 3

The third part in a multi-part review of Robyn Blumner's "Why scientists are seldom Republicans."

When we left off in part 2, we were still in search of the answer to the question posed in the title of Blumner's St. Petersburg Times editorial column.

We saw the implication that Republicans (and the small number of Republican scientists) are simply stupid in part 1.

Part 2 saw Blumner fail to build on that foundation.

On with the search:
Every hope we have to invent our way out of this economic malaise and create enough Information Age jobs to maintain a stable and prosperous middle class sits on the shoulders of people who understand and practice the scientific method. Every hope we have of advancing human understanding of the physical universe and bettering our lives in it, is tied to professionals now represented by only one of our nation's two major political parties — while the other party attempts to obstruct them.
Somebody apparently did away with the 10 percent of scientists who either identify as Republicans or lean Republican. Blumner has also done away with the Obama administration's suppression of a global warming report from the EPA, as mentioned in part 2. Her fantasies about history do not rightly count as evidence, so we will move on.
Global warming is a prime example.
At long last, my title is explained!
Earth is under siege by CO2 emissions to a point that the Pentagon is warning that our national security is at risk if climate change is not arrested. All Americans and politicians should be united for collective action. Yet George Bush spent essentially his entire presidency ignoring and suppressing scientific concerns.
1) The Pentagon is warning of nothing. Rather, a not-for-profit company called CNA Corporation produced a report on the security implications of some of the predicted results of climate change.
Over many months and meetings, we met with some of the world’s leading climate scientists, business leaders, and others studying climate change. We viewed their work through the lens of our military experience as warfighters, planners, and leaders. Our discussions have been lively, informative, and very sobering.

Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are greater now than at any time in the past 650,000 years, and average global temperature has continued a steady rise. This rise presents the prospect of significant climate change, and while uncertainty exists and debate continues regarding the science and future extent of projected climate changes, the trends are clear.
CNA corporation, in other words, interviewed scientists and others and did strategic planning based on what they term the consensus opinion. Blumner's column fails to convey an accurate picture.

2) All Americans should be united for collective action, eh? Including action likely to be ineffectual while costing thousands or even millions of Americans their jobs?

3) I'm not going to defend the Bush administration's record on the science of global warming, though I think they may be largely defensible. Bush's acceptance of global warming and initiatives toward emissions cooperation with India and China by themselves reveal that Blumner exaggerated.

That makes for quite a paragraph. I can hardly wait for the next one:
Even today, with the effects of global warming evident, Republicans in Congress are trying to bury the cap-and-trade energy bill, the nation's first attempt (albeit not strong enough) to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Their alternative is to offer nothing.
The effects of global warming are evident? Is she talking about the record high temperatures in Florida or the record cold temperatures in Wyoming and elsewhere? Wouldn't it be just great if both record cold and record highs counted as evidence of global warming?

Their alternative was to offer nothing?
Shortly before the U.S. House of Representatives is poised to vote on a Democratic energy bill for cap & trade, Republicans have introduced a plan on Wednesday that would be an alternative and seeks for the United States to welcome nuclear energy. The GOP 's AEA is setting the goal of almost doubling the United State's nuclear energy infrastructure by constructing one hundred new nuclear plants over the next two decades, which would call for up-to-date construction regulations, tax based incentives and low trade barriers designed for utilities corporations. The AEA is the American Energy Act This bill will also focus on several additional off shore at-home explorations of oil, raises barriers to governments purchases of alternatives such as shale oil and tar rich sands and building a fund for the support of developing of newer energy sources.
(bold emphasis added)
Is Blumner a liar or simply ill-informed?

In any case, we seem no closer to having a reasonable explanation for the dearth of Republican scientists. Maybe we'll find it in part 4.

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