Conservatives extol denial, air conditioning, oil stocks
As George W. Bush retreats to hellish Waco, Texas amid yet another national heat wave for yet another recess from the real world, Americans who have seen Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth, are growing concerned at the nation's extreme weather conditions.
From Bob Herbert's column in today's NY Times (behind subscription wall):
It's certainly true that heat waves in July and August are not unusual. But we need to keep in mind that the first six months of this year were the warmest ever recorded in the United States. And that this summer, according to the National Climatic Data Center, more than 50 cities in the continental U.S. have set records for high temperature.But thanks in great measure to Bush, who has stubbornly refused to acknowledge the strong scientific consensus that exists on this issue that threatens to significantly alter life as we know it on planet Earth, attitudes toward global warming have become largely a matter of political faith.
We should keep in mind, as Al Gore has pointed out, that of the 21 hottest years ever measured, 20 have occurred within the last 25 years. And the hottest year of this recent hottest wave was last year.
[According to] Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle: "In northern California, it was hotter for longer than ever on record, hitting 110 degrees four consecutive days in the nine-county Bay Area."
To the Bush boosters at NRO's The Corner, for example, concern at the notion of global climate change is by turns absurd and comical. The Corner's Iain Murray wrote yesterday:
The truth is that humans have lived for millennia in really inhospitable climates - think Inuit and Bushmen. Yet modern technology allows us to combine those climates with an industrialized lifestyle. There's no need for siestas or igloos, for the most part. Occasionally, the weather reminds us just how inhospitable it can be, but we have the technology to defeat that, for the most part. Air conditioning makes 100 degree heat bearable (it was 117 degrees in the sun feet from where I am writing this a few minutes ago) and, if it is getting warmer for whatever reasons, more and more of the country and indeed world will adopt the technology. Central heating systems did the same for the icier parts in the past. It is the easy availability of affordable energy that has done that. It's a blow to those of us who rather like the idea of a siesta or a fortifying dram as night falls, but it is vastly increasing our ability to create wealth.Two weeks ago, during New York City's last 100-degree heat wave, Peggy Noonan floated the notion that global climate change is relatively benign and might actually save her money on her heating bill:
Indeed, you could view the spread of temperature control technologies as the globalization of the working conditions associated with a temperate, maritime climate. It might even be an essential component of successfully adopting that climate's most successful economic framework.
Posted at 3:39 PM
... how sad and frustrating it is that the world's greatest scientists cannot gather, discuss the question of global warming...and come to a believable conclusion on these questions: Is global warming real or not? If it is real, is it necessarily dangerous? What exactly are the dangers? Is global warming as dangerous as, say, global cooling would be? Are we better off with an Earth that is getting hotter or, what with the modern realities of heating homes and offices, and the world energy crisis, and the need to conserve, does global heating have, in fact, some potential side benefits, and can those benefits be broadened and deepened? Also, if global warning is real, what must--must--the inhabitants of the Earth do to meet its challenges? And then what should they do to meet them?
These are the very questions -- the sane ones, anyway -- Gore's movie addresses. But Peggums hasn't seen it, won't see it. Republicans uniformly regard Gore's film as they did Fahrenheit 9/11: as unpatriotic, an affront to the cult of Bush.Back over at The Corner, within an hour of the earlier piece, Murray receives from "a scientist friend" a 1948 article on "The Present Climatic Fluctuation." It concludes that climatic fluctuation is "actually resulting in an improvement in the climate of our world." So there! Contra Gore, since at least the 1920s, things have been steadily improving here on Earth. Murray closes playfully [as melting glaciers crash playfully into the sea in the background], "How times change!"
A word on Iain Murray. The Corner regular is employed by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a right-wing think tank with an Orwellian "Control Abuse of Power" project that contests "unaccountable government power" through public relations, opposition to regulation, and litigation -- all on behalf of industry. Among the project's "Power" targets are the 1998 tobacco settlement, which sought to hold tobacco companies to account for some of the death and disease they've spread throughout the nation, and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which was created by the 2002 Sarbanes-Oxley Act to protect US investors from Enron-style accounting practices. Murray's just the person to trust for the straight poop on global climate change.
Late this afternoon, Murray and his patrons had their world rocked by the Rev. Pat Robertson:
Strange Bedfellows [Iain Murray]Outflanked on the left by a guy who talks to God. That's gotta hurt. No report was available on whether Robertson has seen Gore's movie.
Pat Robertson joins Al Gore:I hope they'll be very happy together.
The Rev. Pat Robertson said he hasn't been a believer in global warming in the past, but this summer's record-breaking heat is "making a convert out of me."
On his "700 Club" broadcast, Robertson said, "It is getting hotter, and the icecaps are melting and there is a buildup of carbon dioxide in the air."
Switching sides on an issue that divides evangelical Christians, Robertson said, "We really need to address the burning of fossil fuels."
The religious broadcaster told viewers, "If we are contributing to the destruction of this planet, we need to dosomething about it."
Posted at 2:00 pm
Update: Iain Murray reports today that it's currently not hot in Alaska and the wintry parts of the Southern Hemisphere. Nor, presumably, in his refrigerator.