Repower America

23 07 2008

Aloha.
After a long absence, I am back blogging for a minute. Essentially, I have refrained from participating in the blogosphere, in favor of the postdoctoral research I am actually employed for, writing a book on week-ends, and visiting family in Europe. I have also looked at Climate Audit a few times, only to be shocked that the herd of barking dogs has gotten way out of hand to be worthy of my time. Until the next idiocy calls for a spanking…

I was tempted to blog a few weeks ago about an utterly gruesome article that was the front page of a newspaper I would be reluctant to wipe my bottoms with, The sunday paper. The front page touted “Is Gore wrong ?”, while the story was largely about a tiny rally of anti-AGW nuts still stuck in 50’s McCarthyist rhetorics. Essentially, trying to curb greenhouse emissions was a “socialist” move, and the wackos celebrated their inalienable right to use to incandescent light bulbs by flying a hot air balloon : swift, to say the least. The offensive part wasn’t so much the tone of the article, which actually also gives space to the pro-AGW side (albeit not to its most credible defender, IMHP) ; the offensive part indeed was the editorial spin of the front page headline, insidiously suggesting that all of the climate crisis is bogus because of an insignificant event that gathered a few misguided armchair skeptics.

I clearly have a long way to go on the road to climate communication, because just re-reading this article heated my blood a tad too high, and made me wish I had a few nitwit ballooners around, just to strangle them à la Bart Simpson. That is why I stayed silent then. Yet, the Sunday Paper mishap did not go unnoticed, and a moderate commentary of it can be found here. I would certainly have been way more incisive, but preferred to calm down in the face of some obvious facts :

  1. Anger never solves anything.
  2. Too few people read the Sunday Paper for this to be of importance.

So I waited until something more positive came along, which happened just a few days ago.

On July 17, the inevitable Al Gore delivered an inspiring address at D.A.R. Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C, hosted by the WE campaign. Gore challenged U.S. policymakers, entrepreneurs, and ordinary citizens to change their entire approach to energy use. He proposed that the U.S. produce all of its electricity using carbon-free energy sources by 2018.

To those afflicted by the Gore Derangement Syndrome : this will be extremely offensive material. To others, I think it gives an excellent example of a forward step out of the triple crisis we are currently in : economic, energetic, environmental.

Power quote :

“We are borrowing money from China to buy oil from the Persian gulf, to burn it in ways that destroy the planet. Every bit of that has to change”.

Since nothing seems to happen these days without McCain’s or Obama’s commentary, no one should be surprised that they reacted to it ; what’s more surprising is that they agreed about it. McCain apparently said, “If the vice president says it’s doable, I believe it’s doable.” [Source: Associated Press]. Obama’s praise was even higher.

As I have said before, I am not here to endorse a party, but I am pleased that both presidential candidates can hear the voice of reason. It makes me hopeful that this is not a lost cause, whichever the outcome of the November election.

It remains to be seen how many key players do get on board. I surely hope not too many of them are flying hot air balloons instead of getting busy, because that would be grounds for practicing slingshot in Marietta, GA.

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4 responses

10 02 2009
dw

In the same article you disparage Steve M and praise Al Gore. How do you reconcile that as a serious scientist?

10 02 2009
El Niño

DW,
most serious scientists (including cohorts of the world’s leading scientific societies) endorse the idea of anthropogenic global warming : http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2006/11/11/23656/027.
In addition, most climate scientists I know support the broad outlines of Al Gore’s representation of their work – though none of them is naïve enough to believe you can convey such complex issues to the public without making some some gross oversimplification. As I have written elsewhere on this blog, Gore was basically right, though I wished he had more closely consulted with scientists before making his famed keynote presentation.

Now, Mr McIntyre does a lot of good work exposing statistical problems in climate research, cleaning up databases, and writing angry emails to government agencies, but has yet to demonstrate the same capacity as Mr Gore for getting serious about learning the basic physics behind the global warming problem.
Thus, you might not have the same notion of seriousness as I do.
That being said, climate scientists have a lot more work to do to seriously address the statistical issues behind climate reconstruction, and personally I’m getting right back to it.
Cordially,
JEG

10 02 2009
dw

Steve McIntyre lacks Al Gore’s capacity to learn basic physics?

Wow, we have had different experiences with both of them.

I’ve had the good fortune to work with some of the top students from Ecole Polytecnique. They have always been brilliant and rather arrogant. You sir, share half of their traits.

I’ll put a donation in the Climate Audit tip jar in your honour.

11 02 2009
El Niño

I have the misfortune of knowing a little something about the physics of climate (though not enough to be satisfied). This puts me in the regrettable position of having to judge rather sternly Steve McIntyre’s scratchpad reflections on the relationship between radiative budget and surface temperature, for instance. Al Gore does not pretend to have rewritten the textbooks when he reports other people’s work (if somewhat incorrectly at times).
Being optimist by nature, I will assume that I share a good half with your Polytechniciens. In honor of your kindness, I will make a donation to the Alliance for Climate Protection.
May I ask what your background is, dear DW ?

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