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Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Snow jobs on climate change


Patrick J. Michaels, senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute and professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, has written a piece appearing in The Washington Times that takes what I think is a balanced view of environmental science. Here are the first two paragraphs:
Want to raise the blood pressure of an entire region? If you're within a few hundred miles of Washington D.C., just say "snow" into a TV camera. But if you're more interested in planetary hypertension, simply substitute "global warming."

It turns out the forecasting methods for both snow and global warming are quite similar. And what happened with the Feb. 28 Mid-Atlantic snowstorm tells us much about the climate of the next 100 years.
Michaels' seems to put into perspective the nearly age-old misconception that man is going to kill the Earth with his indiscriminate behavior.

Read the column here.


13 comments:

Mr. Middle America said...

Have you read Michael Crichton's lates book about this field of study?

JL Pagano said...

First of all, if you are going to cite Il Manifesto as a communist newspaper (which it is) one day, it's a bit rich to claim the Washington Times is being "balanced" the next.

I am well aware that all the info I have on global warming is derived completely from scientists who are not above dressing up their figures for bigger grants.

What makes me lean toward believing them, is something I know for certain : big industries are far more concerned with short term profit than they are with long term implications of their actions on the environment. I don't need an article in a left wing rag to convince me of this.

When forecasting an economic climate, you don't even have to look out a window, just open a dictionary at "greed".

James Howard Shott said...

Brad,

No, I have not read Cricton's book.

How about a summary?

James Howard Shott said...

JL,

Did you even read my post? Did you read the linked story? First of all, this is not a Times piece, it is a piece by an environmental sciences teacher and research fellow. It could have as easily been published in the NY Times, the London Times, the Washington Post, or any Left-leaning newspaper interested in the issue.

And all you can offer to support the questionable science supporting man-made global warming is your opinion that industry is greedy?

Businesses of all sizes and descriptions must make a profit, which I'm sure you know, otherwise they cease to exist. But do you really believe that industry is either unaware of the long-term implications of their business? Do you think they plot how to make "indecent profits" at the expense of their future as a business, and the future of themselves and their families?

Global warming is a reality, as is a contrasting period of global cooling. This cycle has been going on since the beginning of the universe. The evidence that man is having a significant effect on Earth's climate through his actions is merely a theory, unproven and lacking in convincing evidence. There are as many scientists opposing that theory as there are supporting it.

Come on, JL.

Mr. Middle America said...

The name of the book is State of Fear. Have you ever read any of Michael Chricton's books? This man lists his sources and provides a bibliography for his FICTION books. It's reality with a story line that backs ups his side of the argument.

At any rate, in Stae of Fear, he essentially says the "global warming" concept and their activits are a scam. Just like the businesses that supposed produce the ingredients that provoke global warming... the machine that fights "global warming" is a HUGE BUSINESS ENTERPRISE.

A political tool and a revenue-generating enterprise.

Of course, he has ecological terrorists performing acts that substantiate their arguement (using bombs to create a tsunami during an environment convention) ...

It's pretty interesting... but has the "nothing is wrong with the environment" slant.. who knows...

James Howard Shott said...

That does sound interesting. I like people who employ reality and fact in their fictional stories. Like Dan Brown in The DiVinci Code and Angels and Demons. It gives fiction the feel of being real.

Even if global warming is being caused by man's activities, it is a big business. So is AIDS a big business, which is why advocates of HIV=AIDS are so adamantly opposed to exploring other possible explanations. If you have some time on your hands, that is a fascinating subject to explore.

JL Pagano said...

I did read both your post AND the article; I actually made a reference to looking out the window as a means of illustrating that I had indeed followed the link.

It was a piece published in the Times, and was thus a Times piece. It COULD have been published anywhere, but my point was that the WT hardly has a reputation for being balanced.

My remarks are perfectly valid in response to your flippant reference to the "age-old misconception that man is going to kill the Earth with his indiscriminate behavior." This is hardly supported by your further assertion that "There are as many scientists opposing that theory as there are supporting it". So it's actually not a misconception, intsead there is a hung jury?

It seems we are each accusing the other of naivety here.

Do you honestly believe there have never been cases of big businesses seeking profit over everything else, never mind the environment???

Come on yourself, James!!!

James Howard Shott said...

If the piece were published in the Washington Times AND the Washington Post, would it be a Times piece, or a Post piece? Answer: Neither. It was a Patrick J. Michaels, senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute and professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, piece.

Again, you are confusing hard news coverage with opinion. The Washington Times is very much a neutral and balanced newspaper on its news pages. Opinion-wise, it is conservative.

And once again you are setting up straw men and knocking them down. The phrase "age-old misconception that man is going to kill the Earth with his indiscriminate behavior" is yours, not mine.

Surely, if you are going to use as evidence that the global warming advocates are correct your belief that industry is greedy, then you ought to as readily accept that because the scientific community is split on the issue, it is no more than an unproved theory.

Just like there are enterprising scientists advocating this theory or that one for the money they can draw to their “research,” there are a relative few businesses that put profit ahead of ethics. However, this statement of yours belies your extreme view of industry: “[B]ig industries are far more concerned with short term profit than they are with long term implications of their actions on the environment.” That’s an all-encompassing statement, my friend, lumping “all” industries in the category of greedy, profit-seeking miscreants. A gross over-statement, at best.

JL Pagano said...

Ok, I think we have pretty much exhausted this one, BUT I must speak out when I am mis-quoted.

The phrase "age-old misconception that man is going to kill the Earth with his indiscriminate behavior" was a DIRECT copy/paste from your original piece so it was NOT mine, and judging by the margin set, they are YOUR words, not those of the contributor from
the WT.

Finally, you talk about my setting up straw men, yet you seem to think the phrase "Big industries are far more concerned with short term profit than they are with long term implications of their actions on the environment" is the same as "lumping “all” industries in the category of greedy, profit-seeking miscreants". That is quite a leap to an implication that I plain and simple did not make.

At least we both agree that global warming exists!

Mr. Middle America said...

I am kinda scarfed to walk up in the middle of this pissing match!

James Howard Shott said...

JL,

My apology. I did indeed say that in the initial post.

If you didn't mean "all" big industries are far more concerned with short term profit than they are with long term implications of their actions on the environment, you might have used a qualifier such as "some big companies," or "many companies," or "it's not unusual for big companies," so that your meaning was clear. It came across as an intentional broad generalization.

JL Pagano said...

LOL @ kbb ... well maybe you should walk up the middle, you ARE Mr Middle America after all!!! (jk)

What you call a pissing match, I call a hearty debate, which got bogged down in semantics and thus is pretty much spent.

Mr. Middle America said...

In a larger context... the discussion that has occurred in this thread is pretty much a microcosm of the discussion that is happenning in the society-at-large.

Is there a solution here? Or There? Or anywhere?