December 6, 2009This Ann Althouse? The one that apparently believes that it is commendable that -- and has to affirmatively share -- with her many readers (often sent over by Instapundit), that she "believes" in science. That actually has to note this belief?
CLARK HOYT DROPS THE BALL AGAIN, gets spanked by Ann Althouse.
Posted at by Glenn Reynolds at 9:21 pm
The Anglia affair is newsworthy. And that's it. What is incontrovertible is that heat trapping greenhouse gases have risen remarkably, and remarkably rapidly, of late; and that we know precisely what human activities have led to this.
And these levels are not just higher than they have been for the last 650,000-800,00 years, they are significantly higher, and climbing still.
What is also incontrovertible is that we are seeing the slowly increasing warming, and increasing weather volatility, that we would tend to expect. (But can't really be sure about, while we can be sure that there will be increasing climate changes.)
That fact that a few scientists were afraid that some conflicting and otherwise largely irrelevant data to the underlying issue would have a disproportionate impact upon what is an already misinformed debate (thanks to sites like Instanpundit, and Althouse, of course), and so, wrongly, tried to hide some data, is a story. But that's all it is. A story. Not some huges scandal that deserves constant attention, or that changes the basic science.
So what did Clark Hoyt do that Ann, "No, really, 'I'm a believer"' in science, but not necessarily a believer in the Easter Bunny" Althouse, in the words of Instapundit Glenn Reynolds, "spanked" him on? Let's see:
Wow. Hoyt thinks that the NY Times handled the "Climategate" story appropriately. Presumably Hoyt believed that non stop, round the clock, let's decide to throw science out the window "controversy" was not really required by this scandal -- as apparently those on the very far right, who tend to over dominate thr framing of our debate in America today, do.
Yes. That is dropping the ball. If one is wishing desperately for any smidgeon, any kernel, by which to be able to cling to the not very objective idea that the basic, known facts -- that heat drives climate; atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases have skyrockected; they have skyrocketed due to very known and very specific, easily identifiable activities and practices; and we have seen a very slow but corroborating warming, and more volatile climate shift -- are somehow irrevelant (which is bad science), or untrue (which is not true).
[Update: Time magazine, hardly a "liberal" source, has an article aptly entitled: "The Stolen E-Mails: Has 'Climategate' Been Overblown?" It notes,correctly, that:
The truth is that the e-mails, while unseemly, do little to change the overwhelming scientific consensus on the reality of man-made climate change.]Climate gate, a bit more rationally examined. In particular, see here. Or here.
Yet a clearly outraged Althouse over the fact that the NY Times is not going to start (mis)interpreting the science or grilling on topics that really don't warrant grilling ("are you sure it's not the hot air coming out of the Instanpundit and Althouse sites, and not the fact that heat drives climate and that atmospheric heat trapping gases have radically risen that is causing climate change, maybe?") writes the following:
Drastic, mindboggingly expensive policy changes are proposed based on this science, making this potentially the biggest fraud in history.Come on Ann, drop your ideological hat for one second. We know that perhaps some law professors are not that logical, necessarily; but are you seriously this gullible?
Also, and quite seriously, what makes you such a theoretical economics expert (when most people can't even get one of the two right) that you know that the "cost" to address climate change is really going to be so great, or even remotely significant at all.
Maybe all that this "cost" will accomplish is to discourage more harmful processes and activities that we have been over drastically overrelying upon, and encourage less harmful process that we have been drastically under relying upon. Maybe all the "cost" itself, since GDP is a measure of all goods produced (and ultimately they are not re produced if they are not bought), simply goes toward our net growth. In other words, Ann, and Glenn, maybe the development and growth of much smarter, more sensible, cleaner, and renewable fuels and energy practices will actually help constitute our growth, rather than, as you presume, impede it.
And is this really an ideological issue? If not, then why so seemingly knee jerk against the idea -- in this case, fighting tooth and nail the basic, incontrovertible science that you, Ann, say you are a believer in.
What if you are right? Big deal, it costs some money. But it is incontrovertible that greenhouse gases trap heat, and that very identifiable activities are contributing massive amounts of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and that atmospheric levels are wildly out of whack with both historical norms, and --quite logically given its causes -- that this has occurred at geologically breakneck speed.
No one knows exactly what will occur. But it is almost impossible for this to not have some type of radical effect upon climate, over time. Likely, that effect will be warming, and increased volatility (which the actual data that we do have backs up, rather strongly). But we don't know with absolute certainty, from a scientific perspective. We do know that it is wildly reckless. And that it really has nothing to do with ideology, or partisanship, or economic perceptions and beliefs, or anything else. Nothing but basic science, which explains the world around us.
And the funniest thing, the concern, over this "cost," in the long run, is probably misplaced. Expenditures are what grow our economy; they don't strangle us. Are you fearful that a little money spent on protecting the ecology and biology of our world might delay the onset of the next great coffee maker by 3 months; or make electricity"cost" more for a little while? But then perhaps -- until we have the proper market incentives to promulgate more development, implementation, and usage of smarter fuels and processes -- we are vastly over utilizing these things right now: which would be wildly inefficient. And inefficieny is a cost. And, all those expenditures go to grow our economy, and are as valuable as anything else we choose to do.
And in this case, they are probably far more valuable -- as it will enable us to avoid what, from a non ideological, non partisan, cold, hard, scientific reality (which is the reality of our physical world, like it or not) is very likely to be increasing and rapid scale ecological and biological harm -- those expenditures will in the long run be going toward something for more productive and beneficial. That's not a cost.
And this perspective is a pretty far cry from "Drastic, mindboggingly expensive policy changes." Which perhaps is what is driving so many, illogically, and non dispassionately, to cling to the idea, scientifically ridiculous as it is -- that maybe this is all a "fraud," let alone the biggest fraud in history, that Althouse potentially calls it.
Which itself is what is really, "mindboggling." Except it's not. It's driven by increasingly fervid (and unhealthy) ideology in this country.
Put aside that preconceived belief, or desired belief, for a moment. Go take some measurements of the air, monitor some sites, examine the history through 100,000s of years of ice cores, study the science of air chemistry. And see what you see. And then just consider. Maybe switching over to fuels, for example, that are not extremely finite, that don't otherwise pollute heavily (as coal and oil do, extraordinarily in the case of coal), is in fact,a smart economic thing to do.
Mabye you'll see a whole new world. And maybe we can make some progress on this issue, that like it or not we are all in together.
And keep in mind that, if anything, this is an anti big government blog. But anti big government does not mean that we don't sensibly address collectively the few things that we are forced to share. And, besides national defense, what is number one on that list?
The quality of our natural environment.