Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New York Times to Al Gore: "Cool the Hype."

A rather surprising piece from The Times' William J. Broad yesterday.

"From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype."

An excerpt:

Although Mr. Gore is not a scientist, he does rely heavily on the authority of science in “An Inconvenient Truth,” which is why scientists are sensitive to its details and claims.

Criticisms of Mr. Gore have come not only from conservative groups and prominent skeptics of catastrophic warming, but also from rank-and-file scientists like Dr. [Don J.] Easterbook, who told his peers that he had no political ax to grind. A few see natural variation as more central to global warming than heat-trapping gases. Many appear to occupy a middle ground in the climate debate, seeing human activity as a serious threat but challenging what they call the extremism of both skeptics and zealots.

Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at theUniversity of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Mr. Gore for “getting the message out,” Dr. Vranes questioned whether his presentations were “overselling our certainty about knowing the future.”

Typically, the concern is not over the existence of climate change, or the idea that the human production of heat-trapping gases is partly or largely to blame for the globe’s recent warming. The question is whether Mr. Gore has gone beyond the scientific evidence.

“He’s a very polarizing figure in the science community,” said Roger A. Pielke Jr., an environmental scientist who is a colleague of Dr. Vranes at the University of Colorado center. “Very quickly, these discussions turn from the issue to the person, and become a referendum on Mr. Gore.”

A fairly brave article from the Times, and one that is very likely to enrage most of their readership. This is kind of nice for me, because I'm very close to occupying the same ground as Easterbrook and Vranes.

Scotto and I have been throwing grenades at each other over this issue for a couple weeks on each other's blogs. For all our differences in philosophy (as passionate as I am about resisting the tyranny of the scientific establishment, Scott argues just as strongly that urgent action to save the world is needed), I think we completely agree on many issues of action:

Conserve.

Recycle everything you can.

Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle.

Walk or bike when you can.

Work for alternative fuel and power sources.

Challenge power bases that tell you what to believe.

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3 Comments:

  • At 3/14/2007 3:58 PM , Blogger Scott Wichmann said...

    Absolutely. I posted the NY Times article in it's entirety on my blog. The important thing to remember when talking about global warming 'alarmism' is, that there is absolutely no reason to 'panic' or 'freak out' about the environmental consequences of Global Warming if we KNOW what it is that we have to do, namely make small changes in the way we live, and realize that all of our decisions have a ripple effect on the planet and the environment.

    I understand Andrew's position on the issue much better now, and we're both on the same page with regard to all that we need to do.

    The most important being the last point-- Challenging power bases and thinking for yourself...

    PEACE,

    Scotto

     
  • At 3/15/2007 1:59 AM , Blogger Paperboy said...

    Challenge power bases that tell you what to believe.

    Like Spock once said.
    "I would accept that as an axiom."

    Joe

     
  • At 3/15/2007 8:55 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    I'm generally very good at useing a lot of big words to obfuscate my point...

    I was very suprised to see this article, frankly. Seems like more of a Wall Street Journal or Washington Times topic. It's also fortuitous timing for me, since I've been on such a "listen to the alternative scientists" jag this week.

    The Times article pointed out one thing that I really hadn't thought of at all: the danger of An Inconvenient Truth making the issue a referendum on Al Gore. Gore's appearance on the forefront of this issue may be more likely to change on-the-fence minds against the issue, if they didn't like Gore to start with.

     

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