|global warming and US policy to stifle opinion
||[Feb. 10th, 2006|02:51 pm]
This is mostly about global warming and the US policy of stifling information about global warming. Then at the end there's an instance of the US stifling an activist against globalized agriculture and genetically modified foods, included only because it follows the vein of apparent US policy to supress information and opinions it doesn't like. I know, it's kinda mixing two issues, but the "stifling global warming info" part wouldn't be a big deal if there weren't strong evidence that the rest of the world thinks it's a bigger deal than we do. And plus global warming research just seems like the sort of issue people may want to keep informed about.|
I don't know if you guys have heard about the NASA scientist who has been pressured not to voice his opinion about global warming, in particular his opinion about what US policy should be with regard to greenhouse gas emissions. But, here's a bit on that. He is Dr. Hansen, "NASA's chief climate scientist" (I think I read before that he's had that position for over 30 years... maybe he's just been a NASA scientist for over 30 years though, not the chief climate scientist). He claims he was told repeatedly to tone down his warnings about the effects of global warming by NASA Public Relations people, including: "One threat was relayed to me that there would be 'dire consequences — not specified,'". And so the main point here is
"Over the past year, a growing number of American scientists who study global warming have been complaining about the federal government's efforts to silence or alter their reports or to discourage them." http://www.abcnews.go.com/WNT/story?id=1555183
On the other hand, Britain is extremely worried about global warming (which makes sense, since their geographic location makes them more vulnerable to the effects of global warming (Britain would get much colder due to the submersion of the Gulf stream)). The British government just published a report called "Avoiding Dangerous Climate Change", and in the preface Tony Blair says
"It is clear from the work presented that the risks of climate change may well be greater than we thought. [...] It is now plain that the emission of greenhouse gases, associated with industrialization and economic growth from a world population that has increased six-fold in 200 years, is causing global warming at a rate that is unsustainable." According to the article,
"The report expressed fears that the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets may melt with disastrous results. It warned of huge and irreversible disruption if temperatures rise by more than 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 3 degrees Celsius. That is within the range of climate change projections for this century. [...] U.K. Environment Secretary Margaret Beckett said it is more urgent than ever to quickly halt the rise in global temperatures. She said reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 60 percent by mid-century may not be enough." The first link below has more in-depth info on the British report and the issue of global warming, the second mentions some additional cases where the Bush administration seems to have attempted to stifle information about global warming (for instance in EPA reports).
If you are wondering *why* the US government would stifle that information:
"The European Union, Japan and most other industrialized nations are part of the Kyoto Protocol that imposes hard targets to reduce global warming emissions. But President George W. Bush said the United States would not join the international agreement because it could hurt America's economy."
Here's an article about some research that is not related (as far as I know) to the government report in Britain, but that provides evidence about the reality of how much warming has taken place: Last 100 years warmest since 9th century, say British researchers And if you hadn't already heard, 2005 was the warmest year in the last 150 years -- that says bad things about where this is headed, regardless of whether it's our fault.
Here's an online version of an editorial printed in The Guardian, which is a newspaper in the UK. It seems very interesting to me (haven't read it yet), though that's to be expected given the content. It's titled It's capitalism or a habitable planet - you can't have both, and the 2nd paragraph is
"Capitalism is not sustainable by its very nature. It is predicated on infinitely expanding markets, faster consumption and bigger production in a finite planet. And yet this ideological model remains the central organising principle of our lives, and as long as it continues to be so it will automatically undo (with its invisible hand) every single green initiative anybody cares to come up with." http://www.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1699956,00.html
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration may be keeping quiet facts that link the warming trend to the growing intensity of hurricanes. Apparently, there is a 20-30 year cycle explains why there are *more* hurricanes right now (we're just at that part or the cycle), but the recent warmth may be a big factor behind the *intensity* of recent hurricanes (this past year we had the most intense hurricane ever recorded, for example).
A French activist was kept from entering the United states; he was supposed to speak at a conference at Cornell. He is an activist against genetically modified food and globalized agriculture, so of course there are many US and international corporations that dislike this guy. He's been in jail in France as a result of some illegal protest actions he's taken (particularly famous is one against a McDonald's), but that in and of itself shouldn't keep him out of the US as far as I know. Some articles say that he didn't have a US visa (there's a program that normally allows French and other citizens to enter for short periods without a visa) and that he wasn't eligible for the visa-waiver for reasons Customs won't say. But I've read a quote from him and from Cornell people saying he *did* have a valid US visa. He of course claims he was kept out to stifle his opinions. So far, Customs has refused all comment on this issue. There could be a legitimate reason behind his deportation... but if so, why are they waiting so long to give it? I don't know what to think.