31 August 2011

Comment of the Day: The Wrong Side of History, Science and Policy

This delightful and revealing comment, apparently offered as a defense of Governor Pete Shumlin's remarks that I discussed yesterday, provides a nice capsule summary of my experiences in the climate debate.
Verbose and prolific (and cleverly snarky), most of the views expressed by this blog author are on the wrong side of history, climate science, and climate policy. I understood from multiple posts not so long ago that Dr. Pielke was going to transition to discourse on the subject of technology policy on this blog rather than climate policy. Like a moth to a flame, the content authored here remains mostly climate-based, a testament to the seduction of the defense of past positions. While the influence of environmental factors does not alone explain the causality of any individual event, most scientists agree that smoking causes cancer. You just can't pin it down to the individual cigarette. Similarly, this blog's on-going attempt to disprove linkages between GHG accumulation in the atmosphere and weather events misses the forest for the trees. The industries that require free dumping grounds in the earth's atmosphere for their profit margins must be grateful for Dr. Pielke's support, much as the tobacco companies tobacco companies loved their captured academic champions in the 1980's.
Nowadays, climate is not as much a scientific or policy issue, as it is a cultural phenomenon (read your Mike Hulme). For years I have advised my students that there is little point in doing a policy analysis of the abortion issue, as the topic was entirely political.  Perhaps one day I'll be saying the same about climate.