Climate Donkey

July 14, 2008

Global Warming: 3 degrees of separation

Sometimes it is even hard for scientists to explain a natural phenomena. The rapid development and wobbly motion of Hurricane Bertha in the North Atlantic was not well explained by hurricane center forecasters. However, they did not blame global warming but accepted that nature can be unpredictable. That is exactly why scientists enter the field of meteorology: to be able to study on a daily basis unpredictable and changing natural phenomena from tornadoes and cold fronts to thunderstorms and hurricanes.

Weather is cool. The Weather Channel, recently bought by NBC for billions of $, is a valuable property both on television and on the internet because the US economy is hugely dependent upon the weather and climate. Weather is also news.

Weather is also political. And the evolution of weather and climate as able to influence policy has coincided with a reinvigoration of the environmental movement centered largely around global warming and anti-fossil fuels agendas. The intersection of politics and science does not occur in the windowless laboratories of university offices, but in the media including newspapers, television, movies, and of course the internet. We are being assaulted with a literal tidal wave of information and suggestions for coping with climate change. But, do journalists and politicians have the appropriate expertise to digest and understand the countless studies and press releases supplied almost hourly? I argue no.

One case study from Congressman Ed Markey of Mass (D): CNS News Service
Global warming led to Darfur, Somalia (Black Hawk Down).

However, to get to this conclusion, we have to go through some hula hoops and play a game of “Kevin Bacon’s six degrees of separation”.

A drought occurred in Somalia in 1993 which resulted in a famine. International aid was sent to Somalia and required the United States military to send in forces to separate the groups fighting over the limited food aid. The Black Hawk Down disaster occurred because of the situation we were put into. — Markey’s conclusion from a speech to high schoolers.

It is clear that droughts occur all the time all over the globe, however, it is no secret that limited resources in an area lead to competition for said resources.

Other students who came from the World Wildlife Fund’s Alliance Southeast Climate Witness Program blamed Hurricane Katrina on global warming, which is nonsense.

Markey continued to create facts and connections which are unfounded: There now is no question that this harm is being caused by human activity. It’s warming up the planet and melting the glaciers. There is an underwater heat wave going on. The waters get warmer and warmer and that intensifies the storms and creates even greater havoc when those storms reach land.

Markey is not a dumb guy by any stretch of the imagination; he is adeptly cherry-picking scientific studies or ideas he has heard about and crafting them into a yummy cherry pie for the consumption by a highly suggestable and likely voluntarily captive audience. I am willing to bet that Markey knows he is exaggerating or to put the term bullshitting to use, talking out of his behind. Eventually these exasperating comments will fall deaf on the ears of the constituents who are more interested in feeding their families rather than be taxed into oblivion by regressive carbon taxes and domestic oil production policies.

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