Sunday, June 25, 2006

Cowards corner: where science and politics converge

On a bloggers conference call this afternoon, Faiz of Think Progress asked Al Gore for a response to the claims by global warming skeptics denying the clear link between global warming and man-made greenhouse gas clearly established by the US National Academy of Sciences report on global warming: :::[Think Progress]

"human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming."

National Research Council
National Academy of Sciences
One skeptic in question was the Electrcity Daily. The sparkies rag claimed the NAS report cast "serious doubts on the conventional scientific wisdom of man-made climate warming" and that "Those who argue that solar activity drives global climate, not CO2, will take heart." The Electricy Daily readership must be invested in coal, right up to their eyeballs. A swipe was also taken at Al Gore. His documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth" must be biting.

He provided an insight into what happens when science becomes politicised:

He said that global warming skeptics "will seize on anything to say up is down and black is white." Gore explained that science, by nature, thrives on uncertainty and tries to eliminate it; politics, on the other hand, is vulnerable to being paralyzed by uncertainty. When science and politics converge, Gore argued, the chance for "cowardice is high."

Cut though? Yes. Charged? Definately. Contoversial? Surely. But is he giving us a perspicacious grasp, or was he proffering a mere media grab? Is it cowardice for a politician to uphold a lie on behalf of special interest constituents at the expense of the greater community? Gore may have had the other skeptic Faiz referrs to, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), in his sights on that one. Inhofe claimed that, "Today's NAS report reaffirms what I have been saying all along, that Mann's 'hockey stick' is broken."

That is not the way the BBC reports it though: :::[BBC]

The new report, carried out by a panel of the US-based National Research Council (NRC), largely vindicates the researchers' [Michael Mann, Raymond Bradley, and Malcolm Hughes] work, first published in 1998.

I think Gore is right. It is clear cowardice not to tell to the truth, more so for narrow political gain. You shouldn't have to think too deeply about that one, but what is galling is that the rest of us, and those who come after us, will pick up the tab for listening to this sort of gutlessness. The longer we listen, the bigger the tab will be.

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