November 15, 2006

Global Warming Heats Up; Sen. Boxer To Chair EPW Committee

First, blame Hollywood:
Hollywood is creating a film of a different kind over Greater Los Angeles: smog, soot and greenhouse gases, according to a UCLA report due out today.

The report found that the film and television industry emits a whopping 140,000 tons a year of ozone and diesel particulate pollutant emissions from trucks, generators, special effects earthquakes and fires, demolition of sets with dynamite and other sources.
Speaking of California smog, here comes Sen. Boxer:
Automakers and manufacturers, beware: There's a new environmental policy boss in town, she scowls a lot, and two of her favorite phrases are "global warming" and "extensive hearings."

The Democrats' coming takeover of Congress is expected to feel pressure for policy change on a number of fronts, from Iraq to taxes, but the starkest change may come at the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, when Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., will surrender the gavel to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif. Her appointment was announced Tuesday, but won't take effect until January.

Inhofe rejects a wide scientific consensus that human use of fossil fuels is largely responsible for catastrophic climate change, calling it "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people." He's accused environmental activists of exploiting people's fears to raise money. And he's blocked legislation aimed at curbing global warming.

Boxer, in contrast, is a fiercely liberal environmental activist. She has railed against Inhofe, crusaded for cleaner drinking water and led wilderness protection efforts in her home state and for Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Replacing rational skepticism with liberal bloviations. These are just some of the consequences of the GOP loss. The enviros are, of course, grinning from ear to ear with moonbat glee. Skeptics--vilified in the liberal press and by agenda-driven scholars uncomfortable with dissent--are regularly characterized as incompetent rubes ignorant of scientific "fact" or agents of "big business" and therefore unwelcome at any "global warming" conference:
"The skeptics who get vocal are vilified," said Marc Morano, director of communications for the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. The committee chairman, Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, has enraged environmentalists by calling global warming alarmist and a hoax.

Morano was invited to be part of a panel discussion on how best to convey the issue of climate change in the media. His fellow panelists, including Jules Boykoff of Pacific University in Oregon, argued that skeptics actually get too much attention in the press.

Efforts by journalists to create "balanced" stories on global warming allow "a handful of skeptics . . . to be treated as equals to thousands of scientists," said Boykoff, an assistant professor in the department of politics and government.

Liisa Antilla, a geographer and scholar of global warming, said it was wrong for journalists to "frame climate science as uncertain."

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN network of more than 2,000 climate and other scientists, says rising temperatures will expand oceans via heat and runoff of melting land ice; shift climate zones, disrupting agriculture, and lead to more frequent and intense climate events, such as the drought now in its fourth year in East Africa.

Major climate scientists point out that skeptics on global warming rarely publish in peer-reviewed journals, the cornerstone of modern science. As evidence of climate change has mounted in recent years, the skeptics' voices have lessened.

"The shrillness of these skeptics and their numbers have been on the decline," Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, told The Associated Press before the panel discussion.

But Morano referred to the two-week UN conference as an "echo chamber" where "the media and climate alarmists demonize climate skeptics."

Pal Prestrud, director of the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research, shot back that "we're on different planets or maybe even different galaxies."
Skeptics get too much attention? Right.

Most MSM stories treat "global warming" or "climate change" as well-established, scientific fact, above factual reproach. Skeptics are lucky when they are noted in a balanced fashion. Often, they form part of a toss-away sentence that notes their position as very clearly in the minority or simply wrong. Even scientists who agree that warming is taking place but are hesitant to place all the blame on human activity find themselves outside the self-proclaimed "mainstream" and subject to ridicule.

Just ask anthropologists about the scientific "facts" accepted a century ago which clearly divided humanity into distinct and hierarchical "races"--and how the field feels about the status of those theories these days. The argument is not that scientists are wrong about "global warming", but that they could be. Dissent is healthy for scientific inquiry and accepting at face value statements which declare the "global warming" case closed should be treated with a healthy dose of skepticism. Absolutist thought once condemned men like Galileo because they challenged accepted doctrine; a free and open debate should surely be the modus operandi of any modern and open society, especially with so much (potentially) on the line.


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