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If your point is that government agencies manned by civil service employees are incompetent on many fronts, then you and I agree. I spent 13 years working for a number of federal government agencies, and have many "war stories" similar to yours. I left for the private sector in '79 before I became "one of them."
But back to climate change... A lot of really smart people from both the public and private sector who have looked at the issue have concluded that it's real, mostly human induced, and is or will soon have devastating consequences on society. These include people in leadership positions in major national and multinational corporations who are refocusing their company's strategies based on their studied conclusions about climate change. For example, take a look at the web site for the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD, www.wbcsd.org). The membership of this group includes 200 of the top multinational corporations, all of which have made public commitments to making their operations more sustainable, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Not only has the WBCSD made public statements about climate change, but they have worked with the World Resources Institute to come up with a GHG protocol for measuring GHG emissions.
If the climate change issue was perpetrated by government civil servants, then I too would have grave doubts about it's authenticity. But it's not. It's an issue that emerged from academia and has been vetted by many competent people in industry and academia (and government too)-the "real brain power" you speak of.
My concern is that the "kool-aid" being served is being mixed by people who are defending the status quo, wanting to squeeze every last drop of profit out of their legacy processes and systems at society's expense.
Well so much for having a rational conversation. Life must be pretty exciting when you're surrounded by conspiracies.
Additional Note: I'm reading book called "The Ghost Map" by Steven Johnson that chronicles the devastating outbreaks of Cholera in London in the 1850s, and the efforts to find the cause and eliminate the disease. The author notes that back then there were many "Cholera-is-a waterborne-disease" deniers, preferring, even in the face of sound evidence to the contrary, to believe in the Middle Ages miasma theory of disease, that the cause of Cholera was bad air. I suppose this could break both ways, but the main point is that society needs institutions that are able to study, assess and deliver solid advice based on sound science.
Regarding your comments, aichempty, I'm struggling to understand your points. Technological universities normally aren't asked to advise on national policies. But their scientists and engineers participate actively in the debate on climate change as well as other subjects, and virtually all of them are members of one or more of the organizations I referenced in the letter. Those are the organizations that leaders rely upon for sound advice based on good science. BTW, these organizations include the National Academies, NASA, NOAA, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and many others whose reputations rise and fall on their ability to support rational decision-making.
Political parties will never agree unless faced with a major catastrophe. Interestingly, as a result of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, New Orleans and Louisiana politics are being overhauled by a public that has had to experience first hand the results of decades of politicians ignoring the facts and making bad decisions.
All of these organizations get government funding in one way or another. However, I cannot buy your argument that any organization that gets government funding in the arena of global climate change must be biased, just as I cannot buy William Gray's argument that scientists that don't adhere to the climate change theories won't get funding. Heck, scientists who can effectively challenge the current thinking can likely get all the money they want from Exxon, the coal companies, the cement industry, i.e., any group that has a stake in maintaining the status quo.
On to other comments...
Fred, I agree with you that nuclear power has to be on the table. We really don't have any choice. However, we have to proceed in an entirely different way than what we did before. The French model seems attractive, although I have to admit I don't know much about it.
Sol, I think geoengineering solutions need to be considered, but like seeuski, I'm concerned about the unintended consequences. I'm been collecting information on geoengineering (as well as all subjects pertaining to sustainability, climate change, etc.) and will contact you about your references.
Scott, your point is well taken. We need to start doing stuff. The best plan of action I've seen to date is incorporated in Tom Friedman's book, "Hot, Flat and Crowded."
Snoman, I hope you're right. BTW, I just returned from an engineering conference in Sweden, with engineers from Asia, Africa, Europe, Middle East, Latin America. Lots of expressions of utter disbelief that the Republicans could have fielded such a ticket. Also, the European press is having a field day with this story. It seems to be bring back visions of Month Python.
There's an interesting web site set up by The Economist magazine (http://www.economist.com/vote2008/?source=hpevents). Their scenario is, "What if the world could vote in the U.S. election?" and they have set up this web site to collect the votes. Astonishingly, the current "World Electoral College" tally is 8039 votes for Obama/Biden and ZERO votes for McCain/Palin.
At last, unable to continue hiding from the press, Sarah Palin's undecipherable opinions and ignorant policy ramblings are beginning to appear more frequently, giving the public a taste of what's to come. Referring back to my original letter to the editor, I'm tempted to say, "I rest my case!" However, in reading the many Palin-supporting comments above, my reaction is, "You've got to be kidding!" What are your criteria for judging her to be vice presidential candidate material? Given today's complex issues and challenges facing the U.S. and the world, do you actually think she is qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency? Frankly, I don't know which scares me most: the fact that Palin is so ill equipped for the candidacy role she's assumed, or the fact that a large proportion of the electorate appear to be so absolutely clueless about what it takes to lead our nation.
To upstream: Normally, I don't spend any time with folks like sbvor, who apparently have too much time on their hands. However, I felt compelled to say something when he/she took a undeserved swat at one of our green team member's earlier letter to the editor. Furthermore, its been my experience that these sorts of rants, if left unchallenged, tend to be taken as fact.
For more than 10 years, I've researched, written and spoken all over the world on the issues of sustainability, including climate change. On the issue of climate change, the people whose opinions I've learned to respect have concluded that the reports produced by the IPCC present a sound case that the world climate is changing as never before, and human activity is a strong contributor. These reports have been extensively reviewed by well-respected scientists throughout the world. As such they have become the most intensively peer-reviewed documents in history, precisely because of the seriousness of the issues at hand and the expected controversy.
Furthermore, the "consensus" reached by the IPCC represents conservative conclusions, conclusions that all can strongly support, not necessarily the ones that postulate other and more dire consequences.
You seem intent on proving the negative. It's all a hoax, a great conspriacy. Nothing's going to happen. What if you're wrong? The concern over climate change is is not based on some rock-solid theorem, but on the combination of significant probability that global climate change is real and the dreadful consequences that could result.
So far, all of your "proof" of the global warming "hysteria" is formed from cherry-picking stuff provided by the skeptics. Reputable scientists, engineers and others have labeled documentaries such as "Climate of Fear" and "The Great Global Warming Swindle" as a lot of nonsense.
It must be exhilarating to live in a conspiracy-laden world.
Good comments, everyone. Thanks! In our green team discussions, city spending on another position wasn't characterized as the "third rail" issue it's turning out to be. However, after reading the comments and attending the City Council meetings, I can understand people's frustrations. At the next Green Team meeting (scheduled for June 6th, at 1:00 pm in Centennial Hall) I'm sure this will be a major topic of conversation.
Last login: Wednesday, October 7, 2015
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