Sunday, May 18, 2008

Russ the Barbarian

Over the last 15 years, I have taken the time to read lots of "science" related news stories, opinions, and blogs. Recently, I ran across this peculiar tidbit. In addition to increased (and decreased) El Ninos, increased floods (and droughts), and increased heat waves (and cold spells and blizzards), the phenomenon of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW; or is it climate change now?) will lead to the "barbarisation" of societies. Believe it or not, Mohan Munasinghe, vice president of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), made this claim in a recent speech given to Cambridge University.

Munasinghe believes that problems like poverty, damage to the environment, polarization of societies, and terrorism will increase due to climate change, and he claims that these things are already starting to happen. He doesn't explain how, but all of these things will somehow get worse because the temperature of the planet increases by a degree or two. (By the way, I am still looking for the explanation of global mean temperature.) We have cultures that live from the Arctic to the Equator (and everywhere in between), yet somehow all of these ailments come from a very gradual increase in temperature that occurs over the span of a century. In fact, these changes are imperceptible without satellites and a large number of ground stations distributed around the globe (and there are PROBLEMS with the ground station network).

In any case, I went to my Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary to get the definition of barbarian: "Of or relating to a land, culture, or people alien, usually believed to be inferior, to one's own." I guess when you come from a country like Sri Lanka (criticized by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the United States Department of State, and the European Union for human rights violations) as Munasinghe does, then technological advancements in the developed world that help to deliver food and life saving medicines to the world's poor can seem alien. However, I am still struggling with that inferior part. Maybe the inferiority comes into the equation because the Western world is typically NOT considered one of the worst perpetrators of "enforced disappearances" or plain ol' political killings.

This is the part that really gets me about these IPCC folks. The science upon which much of the argument for human causes of global warming (the infamous "hockey stick" figure in Al Gore's movie) has been utterly and completely discredited by McIntyre and McKitrick among others. Now, instead of just admitting that they were wrong, they continue to make these ridiculous claims of catastrophes that might happen if we don't do something right now. Someone needs to let these clowns know that it is time to put down the shovel because the hole that they are digging is already pretty deep.

I just wish that someone with some real political power (I am pretty sure that my "8" faithful subscribers/readers and I don't count on this score) would stand up and tell people that the AGW emperor has no clothes. Until then, I will definitely continue to keep my hands on my wallet whenever I am in the same general vicinity as these IPCC hacks.

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