March 19, 2007

READER STEPHEN COX EMAILS: “It seems from the tenor of your links that you may be moving closer to an Inhofe/Crichton ‘global warming is a hoax’ position. Is that a correct inference?”

Not really. I do think — as do many scientists, something that the New York Times just noted — that the hype and alarmism on this front has reached absurd levels:

In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.” . . .

Criticisms of Mr. Gore have come not only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists like Dr. Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind. A few see natural variation as more central to global warming than heat-trapping gases. Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.

I don’t know a lot about climatology. But I know a lot about media bulldozing operations, and I see one of those in action at the moment on this subject. (Kind of like this one).

However, my own position is that it doesn’t matter much in terms of policy. We should be trying to mimimize the burning of fossil fuels regardless of whether it’s a cause of global warming or not. The rather patent hucksterism — and outright bullying — of some global warming advocates, though, will probably hurt that cause more than help it over the longer term.

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