Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Is it warm in here... or is it the Earth?

"Hansen says his research shows that man has just 10 years to reduce greenhouse gases before global warming reaches what he calls a tipping point and becomes unstoppable. He says the White House is blocking that message."

Clearly, this man is preaching to the choir in my case.

"I find a willingness to listen only to those portions of scientific results that fit predetermined inflexible positions. This, I believe, is a recipe for environmental disaster" (speaking about the current administration).

So why is the White House trying to censor this message to the people? I can only give my sorta-educated opinion and here it is.

It would be easy to draw the boring connection between global warming, SUVs and oil companies. Bush supports oil companies who benefit from people driving less efficient vehicles, Big Scary Oil makes more money and we all lose except the rich who, inevitably, get richer. This, however, just doesn't jive well with me.

I think, when you're in a relatively short-term position of power, you have to do a lot to make yourself credible. Four or eight years is a significant portion of someone's life but not necessarily long enough to establish that you are the best man for the job, your ideas are superior to everything before and after them and implement what you feel is necessary to realize these ideas. If you can, however, draw on your political party's success (or appearance of success or spin to look like success) in the past few decades, you're sitting in a much better position.

Climate change and global warming has been happening since dirty little human being have been burning things willy-nilly. Only recently has there been any sort of large-scale consciousness regarding what harm we might be doing. Conservatives, over the years, have told us everything from "there is no global warming" (Google "global warming is a hoax") to "it's really nothing to worry about." What would happen if they did an about-face on this particular standpoint and said "Look, we're sorry, we were wrong, we've made some bad choices we're not proud of, let's do something different tomorrow." Plain and simple, this is going to look bad.

Now, I wouldn't go so far as to think letting the Earth go to sh*t is some right-wing agenda to save face but I wonder if maybe the change in policy is happening as slowly as the climate change so as to make it seem undetectable. Maybe the information is censored to the public because there is little belief that the public will do anything different. So, given the information they have, the government takes a middle-road strategy by muting tough science but also slowly raising the EPA fuel efficiency requirements, granting money to alternative fuels and adopting greener practices within the administration itself.

"The Bush administration doesn't deny global warming or that man plays a role. The administration is spending billions of dollars on climate research. Hansen gives the White House credit for research but says what's urgent now is action"

As you can see, the government wants to know what is going on and does not admit that there is no problem. It seems like, for whatever reason, that quick and decisive action, when not in wartime, is unwanted and therefore avoided. No one likes a someone in a position of authority to quickly change their mind and then act on that new position. If a new stand is to be taken, it appears like "slow and steady wins the race."


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