Friday, October 19, 2007

jaw-dropping stupidity? or deception?

Officials of the de facto Bush Administration say things all the time that are patently untrue, forcing us all to decide whether they are utterly stupid, or immorally deceptive. Often, both is a good answer.

At a press conference today, Bush science adviser John Marburger "said that the target of preventing Earth from warming more than two degrees Celsius, or 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, 'is going to be a very difficult one to achieve and is not actually linked to regional events that affect people's lives.'"

My jaw nearly hit the floor. Now, Marburger mitigated that comment a little bit, saying "you could have emerging disasters long before you get to two degrees (Celsius). . . . There is no scientific criterion for establishing numbers like that."

Okay, that demonstrates that Marburger does understand that rising temperatures are going to change things significantly for humans and other life on the planet. And yes, I agree that preventing a warming more than 2 degrees Celsius will not be as easy as the business-as-usual, change nothing approach.

But he loses me when he says it "is not ... linked to regional events that affect people's lives." (Apparently, the environment chief in Kansas is concerned - he rejected a power plant based on its CO2 emissions. Good for him.)

Hmm. As always, it is impossible if you are intellectually honest (as most scientists are) to prove that one weather event is linked to climate change. But scientists do agree that warmer temperatures in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico will make hurricanes stronger, which is logical. And Hurricane Katrina for one certainly had an effect on people's lives.

I don't know for certain whether the current drought in Georgia and much of the southeastern US is definitely caused by climate change. But it fits the model that climatologists think could happen. Same with the drought in Australia, or the dryer climate in Sudan over the past 20 years that have helped create the terrible situation in Darfur, with nomadic herdsmen now invading settled farm land looking for water for their herds.

And what about rising sea levels? When islands like Nauru disappear below the Pacific Ocean, will that not have an effect on people's lives? I think it will.

So I frankly have no idea what Marburger is on about. But I will say this: scientists like him (and Marburger was actually a reputable scientist before joining the Bush White House) who work for Bush and compromise their integrity by defending Bush on so many things he and his Cheneyite and religious allies lie about (climate change is the big one, but also see stem cells, Terri Schiavo, and arsenic levels in water for other examples just off the top of my head) would best serve the nation by quitting and calling out Bush and his GOP cohort for their practice of lying about science when science proves inconvenient to them and their political brethren.



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