Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Indifference and common sense

As I read this New York Times article, I was reminded – as occasionally happens – of why, at the end of the day, I am proud to be Italian (emphasis mine):
To chief executives, the threat of global warming seems very real in Asia, but not in the United States or Russia.
A survey of chief executives around the world, released at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this week, found widespread optimism about profits and nearly universal complaints about excessive regulation of business.
Over all, 40 percent of the chief executives surveyed said they were either somewhat concerned or extremely concerned about global warming. But in the United States, the figure was less than half as high, only 18 percent. By contrast, the figure was 49 percent for chief executives in China, 60 percent for South Korean chiefs and 70 percent for Japanese bosses.
Within Western Europe, the figures were all over the place. Italian bosses voiced less concern than Americans, but more than half of the German chief executives said they were worried.
Ironically, if the conventional narrative is to be believed, it is Germany which is set to gain from "climate change" and Italy which is set to lose out. No doubt this discrepancy has something to do with German eccentricity.
Meanwhile, there has been an amusing, Drudge-fuelled spat recently, which brought out some sensible arguments. It all started with an idiotic blog post by Weather Channel climate expert Heidi Cullen, who wrote:
If a meteorologist can't speak to the fundamental science of climate change, then maybe the AMS shouldn't give them a Seal of Approval. Clearly, the AMS doesn't agree that global warming can be blamed on cyclical weather patterns. It's like allowing a meteorologist to go on-air and say that hurricanes rotate clockwise and tsunamis are caused by the weather. It's not a political statement... it's just an incorrect statement.
James Spann, a metereologist for ABC 33/40, wrote a sensibly hard-hitting response:
Well, well. Some "climate expert" on "The Weather Channel" wants to take away AMS certification from those of us who believe the recent "global warming" is a natural process. So much for "tolerance", huh?
I have been in operational meteorology since 1978, and I know dozens and dozens of broadcast meteorologists all over the country. Our big job: look at a large volume of raw data and come up with a public weather forecast for the next seven days. I do not know of a single TV meteorologist who buys into the man-made global warming hype. I know there must be a few out there, but I can't find them. Here are the basic facts you need to know:
  • Billions of dollars of grant money is flowing into the pockets of those on the man-made global warming bandwagon. No man-made global warming, the money dries up. This is big money, make no mistake about it. Always follow the money trail and it tells a story. Even the lady at "The Weather Channel" probably gets paid good money for a prime time show on climate change. No man-made global warming, no show, and no salary. Nothing wrong with making money at all, but when money becomes the motivation for a scientific conclusion, then we have a problem. For many, global warming is a big cash grab.
  • The climate of this planet has been changing since God put the planet here. It will always change, and the warming in the last 10 years is not much difference than the warming we saw in the 1930s and other decades. And, lets not forget we are at the end of the ice age in which ice covered most of North America and Northern Europe.
If you don’t like to listen to me, find another meteorologist with no tie to grant money for research on the subject. I would not listen to anyone that is a politician, a journalist, or someone in science who is generating revenue from this issue.
In fact, I encourage you to listen to WeatherBrains episode number 12, featuring Alabama State Climatologist John Christy, and WeatherBrains episode number 17, featuring Dr. William Gray of Colorado State University, one of the most brilliant minds in our science.
WeatherBrains, by the way, is our weekly 30 minute netcast.
I have nothing against "The Weather Channel", but they have crossed the line into a political and cultural region where I simply won’t go.
You tell 'em, James! Obviously, as this was linked by Matt Drudge, it got enourmous amounts of attention (it even bogged down the servers of the US Senate website!). See here and here for some further links and information.
People who really do care about the environment - as opposed to political grandstanding - should follow the recommendations of a new report by the Globalisation Institute, entitled Positive Environmentalism: A Convenient Truth (pdf). The Institute's blog summarises:
The debate about climate change solutions has been hijacked by "negative environmentalism", the view that thinks that improving the environment has to be done through big government plans to restrict foreign holidays, limit trade, force local shopping, or curb GDP. It regards the rise of India and China with dread. Economic growth is seen as finite: the West, in this view, has become rich at the expense of the planet, and there are not enough resources to sustain increasing economic prosperity in the emerging economies.
Instead, the report says, policymakers need to adopt "positive environmentalism". This view recognises the importance of dealing with environmental problems but rejects the doom and gloom approach so commonly encountered. It sees the great environmental achievements over the past century and rejects the notion that there are long term limits to economic prosperity. It sees the importance of technology, innovation and economic growth in tackling climate change.
According to the report, there is a convenient truth about growth and the environment: "becoming wealthier and more prosperous in the coming century is not the enemy of environmental progress: it is its very heart and soul."
It says that: "Instead of a fear of economic growth, policymakers should see it as a force for good. Within decades, technological progress, funded by growth, will break the relationship between GDP and carbon emissions. An approach to climate change that emphasises technological progress hand in hand with growth offers the best way to tackle the issue of the developing economies. Our approach to India and China must be more savvy than trying to beat them into an international agreement that is not in their interests."
Do read the whole thing.

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