Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tom Friedman: "You're wrong"

Some months back, I wrote that the 'overwhelming evidence' in support of global warming, and particularly human causes of it, seems to be eroding. And that this signaled the need for those with a theological commitment to climate Armageddon to up the rhetoric level by an octave or two.

In this item, I said the following:
In the last few weeks, I've heard that global temperatures have cooled in the last 10 years and that they have been flat since 2000. Then I read in a Paul (Pass the Koolaid) Krugman column, printed in the Times Record, that the predictions for global temperature change are twice as horrible as previously thought.

Krugman writes:

“The fact is that the planet is changing faster than even pessimists expected: ice caps are shrinking, arid zones spreading, at a terrifying rate. And according to a number of recent studies, catastrophe — a rise in temperature so large as to be almost unthinkable — can no longer be considered a mere possibility.”

“Thus researchers at M.I.T., who were previously predicting a temperature rise of a little more than 4 degrees by the end of this century, are now predicting a rise of more than 9 degrees.”

Krugman further opines that “the vote on the Waxman-Markley cap and tax bill is an abomination: I couldn’t help thinking that I was watching a form of treason — treason against the planet.”

That’s Krugman; always calm and collected. There’s nothing wrong with him that a quick blast from a fire extinguisher aimed at his noggin couldn’t fix.

So how can such diametrically opposed views exist in an era of supposed "scientific consensus?"

In a moment or two it dawned on me. The recent evidence of flat or even declining temperatures involve actual observations, while Krugman's case depends on predictions that build on dire historical reports For those who are true believers in global warming, the most recent data undermines their arguments, and so predictions of catastrophe need to escalate accordingly to compensate for wilting prior evidence.

In the last week, Tom Friedman, respected columnist and book seller for the New York Times, penned a similarly devastating column. Now that the global warming projections are slipping away with the tide, Friedman has decided his way to make his point is to add the "population bomb" into the mix. To whit:

The first is that the world is getting crowded. According to the 2006 U.N. population report, “The world population will likely increase by 2.5 billion ... passing from the current 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion in 2050. This increase is equivalent to the total size of the world population in 1950, and it will be absorbed mostly by the less developed regions, whose population is projected to rise from 5.4 billion in 2007 to 7.9 billion in 2050.”

In other words, if you aren't swallowing the global warming bait in one piece, there is more to it....devastating population growth that the world cannot support.

Does anyone remember this projection of population doom flooding the news channels decades ago? Does anyone remember warnings about "global cooling" making the rounds in the 70's?

Has anyone seen recent reports of emails from the most revered climate authorities working their magic to tamp down dissenting views and assure that their preferred projections of gloom carry the day in national and global policy circles?

Does anyone else think that Friedman and Krugman have no other choice but to up the ante on the disasters they predict, because they can't counter the information coming to light? I know what it's like to have one's hair on fire; can it be on fire twice as much?

At one point, I actually believed Friedman was a rational voice, even if I didn't agree with everything he wrote. With this latest item, he seems ever more an ideologue with a huge public stage who has adopted Krugman style hyperbole when reality gets in the way of his convictions.

As proof, here's his parting shot at those who dare disagree with him:

So, as I said, you don’t believe in global warming? You’re wrong, but I’ll let you enjoy it until your beach house gets washed away. But if you also don’t believe the world is getting more crowded with more aspiring Americans — and that ignoring that will play to the strength of our worst enemies, while responding to it with clean energy will play to the strength of our best technologies — then you’re willfully blind, and you’re hurting America’s future to boot.

I'm touched to the point of tears, and I have a sudden inexplicable urge to go Subaru shopping.

Perhaps not a willful urge, but maybe a few more of his columns will take me to that level.

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