Friday, December 04, 2009

Global Warming Politics

Is anthropogenic global warming threatening the planet?

Al Gore and the IPCC would answer that yes, the Earth is warming because humans are emitting too much carbon into the atmosphere and unless we all immediately give a whole lot of money and power to the government and significantly reduce our standard of living, the Earth will self-destruct around us.

I have been a global warming skeptic from the first time I learned of this issue. One of the main reasons is the politics involved. For one thing, there is too much money involved. Yes, grants are given before results are provided, but researchers know that the "right" results will yield follow-on research funding.

To understand the political motivation, look at the proposed solution: give money and power to the government and reduce our standard of living. This begs the question: do progressives subscribe to AGW theory because they really think the planet is in danger; or do they just see another opportunity to redistribute our wealth and control our behavior?

The answer is clear after examining the legislation that passed the House of Representatives. The CBO estimates that the Waxman-Markey “Cap and Trade” bill would tax and spend about $870 billion over 10 years. The bill would also set up a carbon trading system that transfers even more wealth away from producers. Finally, it would give the government tremendous regulatory authority over private businesses. So far, this is a progressive’s dream.

So what are the benefits of this more-government approach? While it claims to create green jobs, the Heritage Foundation estimates a net loss of over 1 million jobs per year. The environmental impact, the stated reason for this legislation, is almost negligible. Even if you accept the questionable models that the AGW alarmists use, this legislation will only pull back warming by about 1/10 of a degree.

So, this bill gives money and power to the government, lowers our standard of living and doesn’t really fix the stated problem. Even if the science on global warming is true, this is definitely not the best solution. Is there any hope of getting politics out of science? Here is an excerpt from a speech President Obama gave on the topic of science.

This Order is an important step in advancing the cause of science in America. But let’s be clear: promoting science isn’t just about providing resources – it is also about protecting free and open inquiry. It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient – especially when it’s inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda – and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.

By doing this, we will ensure America’s continued global leadership in scientific discoveries and technological breakthroughs. That is essential not only for our economic prosperity, but for the progress of all humanity.
Given recent news, you may think these words perfectly capture our objections to the "settled science" of anthropogenic global warming. It expresses how many of us feel the IPCC, environmental groups and politicians have been using the issue to push a purely political agenda. We now have evidence of distortion, concealment and destrucion of data that does not support their desired conclusion and of suppressing dissenting research.

If nothing else, President Obama is an excellent orator. His speeches articulate many universal, often conservative, principles that give an impression of an intelligent, thoughtful man worthy of the office he holds. After reading this, I was intoxicated with a sense of hope. I started to question my disagreements with the President. Maybe I'm the one that has been corrupted by the very politics I loathe. He continued his seduction.

That is why today, I am also signing a Presidential Memorandum directing the head of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy to develop a strategy for restoring scientific integrity to government decision making. To ensure that in this new Administration, we base our public policies on the soundest science; that we appoint scientific advisors based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology; and that we are open and honest with the American people about the science behind our decisions.
Bravo, Mr. President. From this, we should be able to extrapolate the President's response to the new evidence that casts doubt on the "science" behind AGW theory, right? Based on his own memorandum, we should fully investigate this issue or we risk basing public policy on unsound science. But wait.

The above quote was taken from a March 2009 Scientific Integrity Presidential Memorandum that was coupled with the signing of the Stem Cell Executive Order to restore federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. Apparently the President considers objections to human embryo destruction an ideological argument that should not enter into scientific decisions. The seduction wore off and my senses returned.

So what is his response to the recent evidence that global warming science has been corrupted by politics? White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs continues to spout the same old talking point, that global warming is “not in dispute anymore.” So much for “restoring scientific integrity.” Until the politics can be separated from the science, count this layman as a skeptic.

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