Wednesday, May 16, 2007

When Green is in...

As someone who has tried to educate myself on the environment and on environmental issues since I was in school back in the 1950's, I find it amazing that members of Congress like Senenator James Inhofe (R. OK) and Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R. CA-46) continue to allow the words come out of their mouths that they do. Let me cite the latest quotation from Rohrabacher.
You know that there are hundreds of scientists who object to this. For example, Dr. Timothy Ball, a very respected man, "Believe it or not global warming is not due to human contribution of carbon dioxide. This is the greatest deception in science." The earth is getting a little warmer. Since 1850 there's been a 1 1/2 degree temperature rise. They don't mention that 1850 happened to be at the tail end of a 500 year decline in temperatures. Not something we should be concerned about. When Greenland was green, it was in fact a very wonderful time for the Earth, crops flourished, population expanded. In and of itself, temperature rise is not a problem. Just like the warming on Mars and other planets. Probably due to sunspots. That said, we need to do things aimed at energy and cleaning the air. We are now vulnerable to foreign potentates and terrorists who want to do us harm. Not because the air is any warmer than it was 300 years ago. Is there not a parallel direction here, for those of us interested in human health that draws us together, and that the global warming thing, we may not have to be in agreement here?
Such a statement could have been predicted with even more accuracy that we can predict tomorrow's weather.

What Rohrabacher does not tell us is that Dr. Timothy Ball is dependent on funding from Exxon-Mobil. I find that the full extent of this dependency has been documented pretty well by another blogger.
Closer to home, one of the 19 Canadian signatories to the skeptics letter is Tim Ball, a retired professor of climatology from the University of Winnipeg, now living in Victoria. As a global-warming sceptic, he is in high demand by the front groups sponsored by the fossil fuel industry.

Ball's particular niche is the argument that since 1940, the world's climate has actually been cooling. The conclusion of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, reached by over 2,000 climate scientists, that the world is heating up is wrong, he says, because it used "distorted records."

Undistorted records in hand, Ball is promoted by the National Center for Public Policy Research ($225,000 from Exxon Mobil), and Tech Central Station (which also receives support from General Motors). He's a hot topic on the Coalblog web site, sponsored by the coal companies. In the past year, he's given policy briefings to the Fraser Institute and the Frontier Centre for Public Policy in Winnipeg.

You could have found him and Baliunas at a conference in Ottawa in November 2002, just days before parliament ratified the Kyoto Protocol. That conference, urging the government not to proceed with ratification, was paid for by Imperial Oil (Exxon Mobil's Canadian subsidiary) and Talisman Energy and put together by public relations firm APCO Worldwide.
OK, if Dr. Ball is dependent on Exxon-Mobil, then maybe we should ask what we know about the company who makes huge profits out of our gas guzzling ways. To begin with, we have known for years that Exxon-Mobil has funded pseudo-science to protect their interests. Chris Mooney, a journalist reporting on Science, detailed this for Mother Jones.
Forty public policy groups have this in common: They seek to undermine the scientific consensus that humans are causing the earth to overheat. And they all get money from ExxonMobil.
Not one to drop the issue, Mooney has now authored a new book, Storm World, in which he documents the current understanding of the relationship between climate change and the rate, intensity and time of year appearance of tropical storms. Even today, he comments at Science Blogs about the out of season appearances of tropical storms Andrea (Atlantic) and Akash (N. Indian Ocean). The point is that Mooney is not just an average reporter doing an average job.

It would seem that Crazy Dana continues to mouth the old platitudes from the Exxon-Mobil playbook while everyone else has moved beyond that. If Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns Fox News, understands climate change and is willing to spend money on being "green" you might wonder what Rohrabacher's constituency will now be hearing from their favorite news source. Even Exxon-Mobil is changing it's stance. Will Crazy Dana now be out of step with the rest of his constituency or will he continue to try and play with our minds?

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