Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Relying on science fiction

Well! President Bush won't listen to reputable scientists but he will listen to fantasy writers. Take a look at this:

Political writer Fred Barnes' new book, Rebel-in-Chief, includes a remarkable vignette. Barnes notes that early last year, Karl Rove arranged a private audience between the president and novelist Michael Crichton, whose novel, State of Fear , had portrayed global warming as an unproven theory publicized by whacko environmentalists."

Bush is a dissenter on the theory of global warming," Barnes notes. He and Crichton "talked for an hour and were in near-total agreement." Unfortunately, Barnes' anecdote carries the ring of truth.

The president actually does appear to buy into the "scientific" arguments put forth by a writer of fiction. (The White House press corps has not yet queried whether the president also believes there are dinosaurs running about a popular theme park.)

Shades of Nancy Reagan and the astrologers! This incident would be laughable if the consequences weren't so dire.

The Crichton caper explains a lot about why the president and his administration have adamantly refused to take any steps to limit the heat-trapping emissions linked to global warming. This isn't just a matter of the president opposing Kyoto. He and his administration have resisted literally any limit on global warming pollution and are even going to war against states such as California that are trying to limit those emissions.

The excerpt above is from an article by Frank O'Donnell entitled, "Jurassic president". In case you're wondering about the title, Crichton is indeed the one who wrote Jurassic Park.

Now, any chance you saw 60 Minutes last Sunday? Another excerpt refers to that program:

Just last week we learned, for example, that Greenland's glaciers are melting faster than anyone expected --something that not only portends dramatically rising sea levels, but could set a chain reaction in motion. On Sunday, "60 Minutes" described the process now underway: "As snow and ice melt, they reveal dark land and water that absorbs solar heat. That melts more snow and ice, and around it goes." It could, as ABC News put it last week, become "a slow-motion time bomb," as even more greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere by thawed-out tundra. The grim--and increasingly obvious--results range from the potentially-endangered polar bear (which can't survive if all the Arctic ice melts) to more catastrophic storms like Katrina, the storm fury fed by warmer waters.

I am utterly pessemistic about this issue. Our scientists are like Cassandra of Greek mythology: cursed with the ability to see the future only not to be believed.

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