No, this is not a warning about global warming per se, but about the high levels of global warming blather we are certain to be hearing as the presidential campaign – you should excuse the expression – heats up. As I’m sure you can imagine, each one of the major candidates is going to be asked his/her opinion on the subject ad infinitum and it will all mean nothing because none of them knows much about the science of the matter other than what they are told by advisers who themselves usually know little. And even if some of those advisers know more, are the candidates themselves qualified to understand and analyze the information? I haven’t seen too many science PhDs in the field.
That science itself is far from unified in their view of the situation came to the fore again today when NASA’s top official, of all people, made a statement to the effect that the global warming problem was over-rated. Was he right? Beats me. (I’m not qualified to analyze it either.) But he certainly generated a response from another NASA official who evidently had made a prominent appearance in Al Gore’s film. Three guesses where he stood.
Maybe we should make people take a pop science quiz before they are allowed to offer a public opinion on global warming – something like “define the second law of thermodynamics” and if they can’t do it, they shouldn’t bore us with their opinion on the subject. That would take care of most movie stars, politicians, Hannity & Colmes and ninety-five percent of the pundits on television. Sooner or later, however, we will have to suck it up and allow the pols some say because some kind of political action will have to be taken on the matter. But it’s much simpler and far less controversial to me to look at energy consumption as a conservation and quality of life issue. That’s somewhat more, even a lot more, comprehensible than the level of anthropogenic global warming, which has to be, as we have seen, taken largely on faith. Pollution is something we have all observed. Also, easy to understand is not wanting to enrich our enemies. We’ve all seen what they’ve done with our oil money. That doesn’t take, as they say, a rocket scientist.