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The Year of Climate Change?

Please, dear God, let this more than just empty political posturing.

Peter Baker writes in The Washington Post that “Bush’s views [on climate change] have evolved. He has found the science increasingly persuasive and believes more needs to be done, especially after a set of secret briefings last winter. . . .

“The coming year offers a final test of whether Bush is willing to move beyond the policies of the past seven years and embrace more aggressive measures, including a mandatory limit on carbon emissions with pollution credits that can be bought and sold — a system known as cap-and-trade. . . .

“Bush’s attention comes at a time when he and top advisers feel better about his presidency, confident they have turned a corner after two years of political setbacks and can now focus on reformulating his legacy. Heading into his final year, Bush has turned to big, bracing challenges abroad, most notably finding Middle East peace and forging a consensus on climate change. If global warming turns out to be a defining issue of this generation, advisers said, Bush does not want to be remembered as a roadblock.”

Billie Joe, Mike, and Tre of Green Day talk about how they got interested in protecting the environment.

After spending 2007 reading critically and blogging on this issue, it baffles me that some folks still express skepticism and cling to their conspiracy theories or what they can find on Google or hear on the radio: the Oregon petition, Crichton or the handful of fossil-fuel industry hack scientists. Climate change will affect the next generation the most. Significantly, it appears that they are ready to take both private and public action. Why deny that?

Here are two smart resources for dealing with the issue. If you are unconvinced, please take the time to read these direct, document guides from the Royal Society in which they deal with the following misleading arguments.

  • Misleading argument 1 : The Earth’s climate is always changing and this is nothing to do with humans.
  • Misleading argument 2 : Carbon dioxide only makes up a small part of the atmosphere and so cannot be responsible for global warming.
  • Misleading argument 3 : Rises in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are the result of increased temperatures, not the other way round.
  • Misleading argument 4 : Observations of temperatures taken by weather balloons and satellites do not support the theory of global warming.
  • Misleading argument 5 : Computer models which predict the future climate are unreliable and based on a series of assumptions.
  • Misleading argument 6 : It’s all to do with the Sun – for example, there is a strong link between increased temperatures on Earth with the number of sunspots on the Sun.
  • Misleading argument 7 : The climate is actually affected by cosmic rays.
  • Misleading argument 8 : The scale of the negative effects of climate change is often overstated and there is no need for urgent action.

And then there is always this, the mother of explanations and reasoned-argument from Grist magazine.

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