Dedicated to the balanced discussion of global warming
Newsweek – August 20 issue
You probably saw the very ominous issue of Newsweek that stirred up quite a bit of controversy regarding global warming deniers and claimed there was a denial machine. Some have said that I am part of the denial machine because I call for more studies and more scientific research to prove what is happening. I don’t think that I am part of that machine, but I understand why others put me in that camp.
In the latest issue, there is an op-ed piece by Robert Samuelson that accuses Newsweek of going too far. Frankly, I agree with him. While there is certainly a lot of evidence that the earth may be slightly increasing in warmth – the evidence is hardly conclusive and the evidence of massive problems in the future is very tenuous.
Mr. Samuelson makes some excellent points. I highlight a few here but you probably should read the rest of his excellent article by following the link below the quotes. You may also want to read some of the comments of others in the blogosphere:
Newsweek Rebukes Newsweek
Robert Samuelson: Global Warming Simplicities
Cheers to Robert Samuelson
Newsweek: We Mislead You
We in the news business often enlist in moral crusades. Global warming is among the latest. Unfortunately, self-righteous indignation can undermine good journalism. Last week’s NEWSWEEK cover story on global warming is a sobering reminder. It’s an object lesson of how viewing the world as “good guys vs. bad guys” can lead to a vast oversimplification of a messy story.
The global-warming debate’s great un-mentionable is this: we lack the technology to get from here to there. Just because Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to cut emissions 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050 doesn’t mean it can happen. At best, we might curb emissions growth.
The IEA then simulated an aggressive, global program to cut emissions based on the best available technologies: more solar, wind and biomass; more-efficient cars, appliances and buildings; more nuclear. Under this admitted fantasy, global emissions in 2050 would still slightly exceed 2003 levels.
Even the fantasy would be a stretch. In the United States, it would take massive regulations, higher energy taxes or both. Democracies don’t easily adopt painful measures in the present to avert possible future problems.
Against these real-world pressures, NEWSWEEK’s “denial machine” is a peripheral and highly contrived story. NEWSWEEK implied, for example, that ExxonMobil used a think tank to pay academics to criticize global-warming science. Actually, this accusation was long ago discredited, and NEWSWEEK shouldn’t have lent it respectability.
But the overriding reality seems almost un-American: we simply don’t have a solution for this problem. As we debate it, journalists should resist the temptation to portray global warming as a morality tale?as NEWSWEEK did?in which anyone who questions its gravity or proposed solutions may be ridiculed as a fool, a crank or an industry stooge. Dissent is, or should be, the lifeblood of a free society.
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