Monday, August 22, 2011

Chris Mooney | The Republican War on [Junk] Science Returns
If anything, however, I believe matters have gotten worse. Why? Largely because we’ve swapped the relatively genteel "war on science" of the George W. Bush administration (which was prosecuted in top-down fashion from the White House and administration, largely in service of what various staff believed that the president wanted, or what should or shouldn't be on the public agenda or in the media) for a more populist and bottom-up strain associated with the rise of the Tea Party. This is partly a function of the fact that the GOP is in the opposition right now, rather than running the country; and partly a function of the right moving further to, uh, the right; and partly also, I think, a function of the increasing influence of the blogosphere.
Climate Science Shouldn't Be Religion for Left or Right - Megan McArdle - Politics - The Atlantic
I don't think that science denialism is the exclusive province of the GOP, but it's extremely disappointing whenever either side does it. As longtime readers known, I have been extremely critical of the attitude that some climate scientists seem to have developed towards dissent, and what you might call the PR aspect of their work. Nonetheless, I am quite convinced that the planet is warming, and fairly convinced that human beings play a role in this. (When you've got Reason's Ron Bailey, Cato's Patrick Michaels, and Jonathan Adler, you've convinced me). I reserve the right to be skeptical about particular claims about effects (particularly when those claims come via people who implausibly insist that every major effect will be negative) . . . and, of course, of ludicrous worries that global warming will cause aliens to destroy us. But generally, I think global warming is happening, and even that we should probably do something about that, though I'm flexible on "something."
The Volokh Conspiracy » An Inconvenient Truth: Christie Is Right on Climate
The Cato Institute’s Patrick Michaels, for instance, has written several books acknowledging human contributions to global warming. In Climate of Extremes: The Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know (co-authored with Robert Balling, another “skeptic”) for example, he explained that there is an observable warming trend and that human activity shares some of the blame. Michaels and Balling are labeled “skeptics” because they don’t believe the warming is likely to be as severe or as disruptive as most other climate scientists, but they readily accept the reality of anthropogenic global warming. (See, e.g., p. 27.) Their rejection of a climate apocalypse — and not a denial of human contributions to climate change — is actually the view of most climate “skeptics,” and nothing Christie said is incompatible with that view.

As I’ve written before, it would be convenient if human activity did not contribute to global warming or otherwise create problems that are difficult to reconcile with libertarian preferences. But that’s not the world we live in, and politicians should not be criticized for recognizing that fact.

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