Global Warming: How’d We Miss This?

By November 14, 2006Global Warming

We were so busy getting under the limbo stick down in Orlando at the ISPA meeting last week that we missed this unbelievably excellent piece by the universally-respected Bob Samuelson on one of our favorite topics in the WaPo.

As noted climatologist Robert Redford gathers with a bunch of Mayors out in Sundance this week (Hey, what happened to Butch?), Samuelson’s article, entitled, “Greenhouse Guessing,” takes on the famed Stern manifesto and debunks at will. “The report,” he says in the very first paragraph, “is a masterpiece of misleading public relations.” Yeah, we knew that.

He then goes on to note that 34 of 41 developed countries monitored by the UN — virtually all Kyoto signatories — have failed to reduce greenhouse emissions from 2000 to 2004. No big shocker there as most EU countries will far exceed their allowable Kyoto limits. And Why? Opines Samuelson:

“First: With today’s technologies, we don’t know how to cut greenhouse gases in politically and economically acceptable ways…

Second: In rich democracies, policies that might curb greenhouse gases require politicians and the public to act in exceptionally “enlightened” (read: “unrealistic”) ways…

Third: Even if rich countries cut emissions, it won’t make much difference unless poor countries do likewise — and so far, they’ve refused because that might jeopardize their economic growth and poverty-reduction efforts.”

For good measure, Samuelson adds this:

“The other great distortion in Stern’s report involves global warming’s effects. No one knows what these might be, because we don’t know how much warming might occur, when, where or how easily people might adapt. Stern’s horrific specter distills many of the most terrifying guesses, including some imagined for the 22nd century, and implies that they’re imminent.”

Says Samuelson in conclusion simply, “We need more candor.” We couldn’t agree more, and would only add to candor, “Science.”

Click here to read the whole article.

Join the discussion 3 Comments

  • Andrew Worth says:

    Bruce: “I think that it would be reasonable to assume that we may have a one degree centigrade rise over the next century.”

    On what do you base this opinion? Politics or science?

    My understanding is that you are almost certainly right though, few of the major effects of global warming will be felt for several decade, though there is a possibility of major changes in rainfall patterns. That 3C rise in temperature is a global average, the models point to the rise in temperaure being greater, in land, in the northern hemisphere, and at high latitudes.

  • C. Bruce Richardson Jr. says:

    Aaron, I think that it would be reasonable to assume that we may have a one degree centigrade rise over the next century. That is assuming that we don’t enter the cooling phase of what is probably a natural cycle. But just for fun let’s assume a three degree centigrade rise. That would work out to be a three one hundredths of a degree temperature rise per year. In a “few years” how much warmer do you think that it will be? In a decade it might be three tenths of a degree warmer. Would that make things “real bad” in your estimation?

  • Aaron Lewis says:

    Samuelson seems to have stopped doing his homework. The science of global warming is out there. The solutions are out there. He does not like them, but they are out there. He did not do his homework so that he understands the full extent of the problem. That is a lack of candor on Samuelson’s part.

    Nobody belives the scientists today. But in a few years when things get real bad, everybody is going to come whining,”Oh, Please Mr. Scientist, save us, save us!