Thursday, May 31, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 5-31-07

On the same day that we get the “global warming and cutting forests for biofuels may wipe out the great apes” story, word that AK (Alaska, not Arkansas) alone is looking at $10b. in infrastructure loss from the warming, and the story that even Germany’s biggest power producer plans to cut its carbon emissions to half its 1990 amounts to slow the warming, we get this moron running NASA:

Michael Griffin NASA Administrator has told America's National Public Radio that while he has no doubt a trend of global warming exists "I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with."

Here's the relevant part of the entire interview:

INSKEEP: And I just wanted to make sure that I'm clear. Do you have any doubt that this is a problem that mankind has to wrestle with?
GRIFFIN: I have no doubt that global -- that a trend of global warming exists. I am not sure that it is fair to say that it is a problem we must wrestle with. To assume that it is a problem is to assume that the state of earth's climate today is the optimal climate, the best climate that we could have or ever have had and that we need to take steps to make sure that it doesn't change.
First of all, I don't think it's within the power of human beings to assure that the climate does not change, as millions of years of history have shown, and second of all, I guess I would ask which human beings - where and when - are to be accorded the privilege of deciding that this particular climate that we have right here today, right now is the best climate for all other human beings. I think that's a rather arrogant position for people to take.
INSKEEP: Is that thinking that informs you as you put together the budget? That something is happening, that it's worth studying, but you're not sure that you want to be battling it as an army might battle an enemy.
GRIFFIN: Nowhere in NASA's authorization, which of course governs what we do, is there anything at all telling us that we should take actions to affect climate change in either one way or another. We study global climate change, that is in our authorization, we think we do it rather well. I'm proud of that, but NASA is not an agency chartered to quote "battle climate change."

Like they always say, never argue with fools. They’ve been at that level longer and are much better at living in it. But how do we get to this nonsensical state wherein major gov’t scientists can be such idiots in public and not have to pay? Well, maybe it’s the press. Michael Tobis goes off over at Grist on the media for its failure to cover the recent statement on warming by the nat’l science academies of the G8 nations:

Let me be as polite as I can stand about this. Where in the @$#! is the press? A unanimous statement by what amounts to all the world's scientists is not some transient breeze in the to and fro of politics. These are the facts, according to almost all the extremely smart people whom we ask to figure out what the facts are. Everywhere.

I have friends in the press, and I hate to be confrontational, but this is beyond inexcusable. Can we please draw people's attention to this, at least a hundredth the attention directed at cheap Hollywood scandals?

I'd appreciate some bell clanging in the blogs about this. I am unhappily astonished by the deathly silence that has greeted this remarkable statement. Let's fix it. Thanks in advance.

But note that even Michael is part of the problem. You hate to be confrontational? It’s only our existence on the planet, but you hate to be confrontational? This country is where it is right now because we all hate to be confrontational more than confronting the evil that is playing out. So much bad is covered over by politeness and niceness (thank you so much again, Mister Rogers), and so much good has been done historically by confrontation, but we “hate to be confrontational.” Only when we wake up the dangers of “nice” will we have a chance. And if the Tobises of the world have to apologize for it even now, even in the middle of a worthy rant, you wonder if we have it in us to do so. Well, actually, no, there’s no reason to wonder.

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