Sunday, July 01, 2007

Constant repitition of the Global Warming/Climate Change "story"

Former vice president Al Gore simply doesn't get it. He doesn't get science and its power to persuade people about the "real" world. To wit, he resorts to political, social, and even "moral" arguments for what at its heart and soul should be simply a question of science and hard data about so-called Global Warming and Climate Change. But, hey, this is very understandable since he is at his heart and soul a politician and not either a scientist or even a competent policymaker. So, of course, he resorts to political and social and "moral" rhetorical arm-twisting instead. And, most importantly, this is why the former vice president is a particularly poor spokesperson for addressing whatever scientific underlying issues may be at stake with regard to so-called Global Warming and Climate Change.

Rather than enlighten us with any new and relevant scientific results and data, the former vice president continues to blindly repeat his same old story, this time on the Op-Ed page of The New York Times in a piece entitled "Moving Beyond Kyoto."

Lacking a solid scientific case, he resorts to imploring us that:

This is not a political issue. This is a moral issue, one that affects the survival of human civilization. It is not a question of left versus right; it is a question of right versus wrong. Put simply, it is wrong to destroy the habitability of our planet and ruin the prospects of every generation that follows ours.

Who knows, maybe the former vice president actually does have a solid scientific case hidden away that he hasn't yet presented, but the simple fact is that he destroys his own credibility by trying to cheat and turn the debate into a so-called "moral" issue. He denies that this is "a political issue," but by putting that disclaimer right up front, he's telling us that he fully recognizes that the current state of the debate is in fact deeply political and social in nature. It is extremely unfortunate that he is trying to shift the debate even further from raw, hard-core science and even deeper into the realm of mindless, irrational human passions.

He closes by telling us that:

The climate crisis offers us the chance to experience what few generations in history have had the privilege of experiencing: a generational mission; a compelling moral purpose; a shared cause; and the thrill of being forced by circumstances to put aside the pettiness and conflict of politics and to embrace a genuine moral and spiritual challenge.

There is plenty of uncertainty over Global Warming and Climate Change, but there is something that I am 100% certain of: whatever we may need to do concerning Global Warming and Climate Change is most certainly not a "moral and spiritual challenge."

The "challenge" is quite simple: it is a scientific, technical, and economic challenge. If we could get the facts straight, then we could act in a rational manner and proceed towards a "solution", but under the former vice president's "leadership" there appears to be virtually no interest in committing ourselves to do the necessary scientific research (which may take many decades and several generations) before we embark on a "moral" crusade.

I am not so hopeful that reason will prevail in the short run as political considerations continue to reign supreme. Actually, I think practical considerations (e.g., the reality of the extent to which our society depends on existing transportation and energy systems) will prevail over even political considerations, but that balance will shift over the next ten years.

I do concur with one statement by the former vice president:

Certainly, there will be new jobs and new profits as corporations move aggressively to capture the enormous economic opportunities offered by a clean energy future.

Ka-ching, ka-ching! With that single "pragmatic" statement, the former vice president completely destroys the "moral" authority he was seeking. Oh well.

I would prefer that hard-core efficiency would be the driving economic factor, but if the former vice president wishes to accelerate the process by shifting money from the poor and lower-income groups into the coffers of big business, the effect won't be completely malignant even though moderately unfair in its treatment of those who lack political clout.

-- Jack Krupansky

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