My perspective on the IPCC e-mail flap and Obama’s upcoming trip to Copenhagen

Here’s a link to a BBC page that puts the recent flap over IPCC e-mails in perspective.

It’s certainly not a clear-cut case, but politics will make it seem so — in both directions.

It makes me think of Mark Fuhrman in the O. J. Simpson case.

If Fuhrman had allowed the evidence to speak for itself, OJ would have been convicted of double homicide. But he tried to make the case stronger and that tainted all the prosecution’s evidence in the eyes of that jury.

My concern is not about how strong the evidence is for human responsibility and the geophysical and geopolitical problems that the record levels of CO2 will cause by mid- or late-century. My concern is that this flap will make it more difficult to address those problems.

On a related matter, I note that President Obama is taking an approach to global warming that I have been advocating for a long time. I know that the problem can’t be solved without China’s and India’s involvement. However, I have been arguing that the best way to achieve their cooperation is for us to lead instead of pointing fingers at them, especially when we have plenty of reasons to point a finger at our own past inaction.

The President plans to attend the Copenhagen conference and state the goals that he hopes to see when Congress passes a climate change bill. The Chinese have now followed suit and are indicating that they will announcing similarly ambitious goals at that conference. I’m willing to bet a nickel or two that India will soon join in.

Then the debating will center around how realistic those goals are and whether each country is doing its fair share. The tone of the debate will exert external pressure on all of those countries to do the right thing, even though each will face internal pressure in the opposite direction.

It won’t be pretty, but the result may be to avoid the worst-case scenarios that are lurking if we do nothing.

Fred Bortz

P.S.: You can read a decade’s worth of my weather and climate book reviews plus a few reviews by others at the Science Shelf book review archive.

1 thought on “My perspective on the IPCC e-mail flap and Obama’s upcoming trip to Copenhagen

  1. I believe in President Obama. He is taking an approach to global warming that I have been advocating for a long time.

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