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Monday, April 04, 2011

Paul Krugman: The Truth, Still Inconvenient

Climate change denialism -- and the potentially catastrophic roadblock to action that comes with it -- hasn't gone away:

The Truth, Still Inconvenient, by Paul Krugman, Commentary, NY Times: So the joke begins like this: An economist, a lawyer and a professor of marketing walk into a room. What’s the punch line? They were three of the five “expert witnesses” Republicans called for last week’s Congressional hearing on climate science... — ...where do they find these people?
My favorite, still, was Ron Paul’s first hearing on monetary policy, in which the lead witness was someone best known for writing a book denouncing Abraham Lincoln as a “horrific tyrant” — and for advocating a new secessionist movement as the appropriate response to the “new American fascialistic state.”
The ringers (i.e., nonscientists) at last week’s hearing weren’t of quite the same caliber, but their prepared testimony still had some memorable moments. My favorite was the lawyer’s declaration that the E.P.A. can’t declare that greenhouse gas emissions are a health threat, because these emissions have been rising for a century, but public health has improved over the same period. I am not making this up.
Oh, and the marketing professor, in providing a list of past cases of “analogies to the alarm over dangerous manmade global warming” ... included problems such as acid rain and the ozone hole that have been contained precisely thanks to environmental regulation. ...
For years now, large numbers of prominent scientists have been warning, with increasing urgency, that if we continue with business as usual, the results will be very bad, perhaps catastrophic. They could be wrong. But if you’re going to assert that they are in fact wrong, you have a moral responsibility to approach the topic with high seriousness and an open mind. After all, if the scientists are right, you’ll be doing a great deal of damage.
But what we had, instead of high seriousness, was a farce: a supposedly crucial hearing stacked with people who had no business being there... [I]t’s terrifying to realize that this kind of cynical careerism — for that’s what it is — has probably ensured that we won’t do anything about climate change until catastrophe is already upon us. ...

    Posted by on Monday, April 4, 2011 at 12:42 AM in Economics, Environment, Politics | Permalink  Comments (147)


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