March 28, 2001 4:17 PM   Subscribe

WHILE YOU'RE AT IT, COULD YOU REPEAL THE GENEVA CONVENTION? Bush's EPA Administrator Christie Todd Whitman said yesterday that the Kyoto treaty on climate change was dead. She said, "No, we have no interest in implementing that treaty." Under the treaty, the U.S. would have to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. Earlier this month, Whitman signed a formal declaration with environmental ministers from other industrialized nations pledging to move forward on the treaty.
posted by semmi (14 comments total)
Yes, Grist is an excellent site for environmental news and commentary, but perhaps the original article would be more informative.
posted by grimmelm at 5:36 PM on March 28, 2001

MIT scientist calls Kyoto Agreement 'Absurd'

Read the full interview at techcentralstation. (goto the bottom of the page and select the archived interview of "Richard S. Lindzen")
posted by jrbender at 6:21 PM on March 28, 2001

I beleive only the senate has the power to approve a treaty.
posted by Mick at 6:23 PM on March 28, 2001

True, but the President has the power to sabotage them. Not that the Senate would approve Kyoto.
posted by daveadams at 8:41 PM on March 28, 2001

jrbender: Lindzen seems to be the poster child for the "why worry everything is cool- literally" crowd. This 1995 Harper's article- although dated- represents a good summary of the science backing the factuality of human-induced global warming. Among other things the article points out that:
'Lindzen, for his part, charges oil and coal interests $2,500 a day for his consulting services; his 1991 trip to testify before a Senate committee was paid for by Western Fuels, and a speech he wrote, entitled "Global Warming: the Origin and Nature of Alleged Scientific Consensus," was underwritten by OPEC."'
This Prospect magazine article seems to me a fair account of the realities behind climate change, while this Edge article describes (accurately IMHO) a major problem of science journalism in general.
posted by talos at 3:01 AM on March 29, 2001

Christ! Entirely predictable yet still somehow un-fucking-believeable...

Are there any right-wingers and/or anti-environmentalists out there who want to have a go at defending this?

And, if there are, are they also willing to argue that the Bush administration isn't just acting as the political wing of the oil industry?

jrbender: citing an interview from a market fundamentalist outlet with a small but growing archive of anti-environmental/pro-Bush propaganda penned by such figures as Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, a Bush appointee, might not be the best way to go about it.

As someone else has already pointed out on this site, the Bush administration's attempts to obfuscate the consensus on climate change are about as convincing as Thabo Mbeki's 'decoupling' - in the Washington parlance - of HIV and AIDS.
posted by Mocata at 3:07 AM on March 29, 2001

A consensus on climate change, mocata? Yeah, that's a good one. Quite the contrary, as you well ought to know, there's great debate on all issues related to the supposed global warming, and you'd be pretty hard-pressed to find a consensus on anything in this area.

Take Professor Philip Stott of the University of London, for example, who recently told the BBC that research has damaged the credibility of the IPCC and its climate predictions, and that "serious scientific studies have undermined the whole basis of [global warming] predictions, with the temperature over the oceans seen as exaggerated by up to 40% and the very relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature questioned."

Not to mention the heat vent factor. And those Danish scientists (names, anyone) who've demonstrated that it is in fact solar activity which influences the Earth's climate the most.

All in all, thus, I'd say it looks like Bush made a sound decision here. At least compared to what he did in the cloning case...
posted by frednorman at 3:47 AM on March 29, 2001

Stott, in the article, was describing the minority view among climate scientists. A consensus among experts does not imply unanimity. There is hardly a field of science where there isn't some minority view. In most cases minority views turn out to be incorrect. When it turns out that they are not its big news. Its not frequently that this happens. This article describes the scientific majority view. BTW it states that "The scientists agree that up to half the warming over the past century was probably due to increased heat from the sun. This could account for the 0.3 °C warming up to 1950." Note the past tense...
Now, of course, it might turn out that there is no significant human effect on the climate. Right now, based on what we know, there probably is. The question then becomes what to do about it. It's not certain- it's a risk. But one has to take this risk into account and take precautionary measures. The same way that if you live in a tornado infested area you make sure you have a hurricane shelter, even though it costs you and even though the chances of a tornado hitting your house are small. Or if you have a family history of heart disease you avoid eating too many fatty foods. Thus it makes sense to take precautions about global warming now because if indeed it happens the costs are going to be many times higher than any costs the precautionary measures might add up to.
posted by talos at 4:32 AM on March 29, 2001

Fred, citing articles in a publication which proudly announces that its 'philosophic framework is Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism' might not be the best way to persuade people that anti-environmentalists aren't all right-wing headcases.

The fact that Singer writes op-eds for the Wall Street Journal doesn't inspire much confidence in the non-ideological nature of his views, either.

It's also quite revealing that he tries to undermine the credibility of the IPCC like this:

'The fact that should make one suspicious is that they include people all the way from Albania to Zimbabwe. And, you know, it is hard to believe that those names nobody's ever heard of are in fact climate scientists.'

Some of these so-called scientists are a bit, you know, foreign...
posted by Mocata at 6:15 AM on March 29, 2001

Everyone should go out and buy a SULEV car... the emissions are actually lower when they come out the tailpipe then when they go in the engine. :)
posted by SpecialK at 8:28 AM on March 29, 2001

The fact that Singer writes op-eds for the Wall Street Journal doesn't inspire much confidence in the non-ideological nature of his views, either.

Logical fallacy.
posted by aaron at 10:17 AM on March 29, 2001

talos: Just because Lindzen has been paid by oil companies doesn't mean he's been bought by oil companies. All it means is that oil companies like what he's saying.
posted by jrbender at 12:57 PM on March 29, 2001

Even some oil companies now concede that the consensus of science is on the side of climate change.
posted by norm at 1:48 PM on March 29, 2001

Aaron! Thank god you've arrived...

Are you saying that everything is ideological, you old Marxist you?
posted by Mocata at 1:33 AM on March 30, 2001

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