The correct answer, of course, is both A and B. And - more of concern - I have no frickin' idea. Science doesn't care about political positions.
Remember that many of those constituents who dispute the ridiculous preponderance of evidence of global climate change do so because doing something about it requires pollution controls and standards for which they don't want to pay. In other words, as is often necessary, follow the money.
Because short-term bottom-line profit is more important than, y'know, breathing. Or clean water. Or food animals and crops without mercury and lead and other poisons in their tissues. Or possibly calming our ever-more-chaotic weather systems.
< /dirty freakin' hippie >
Yes. From at least 2003 on (I would say 2000, but then not everyone reads the original papers) any hard-line anti-climate change person in politics is being paid for that position. They would lose money, or votes, or both (money or power) if they changed their position, so they won't. During the late '70s and much of the '80s, there was some legitimate doubt, especially as Americans are generally ignorant of the metric system, and thus the constant use of "x degrees" to Americans meant degrees Farenheit, when the scientists meant Celsius. (I do blame both scientists and the media for not making it very clear, in their presentations to the American public and Congress, what the projected changes were in the system used here.)
As the numbers of deniers dwindle, though, it should be easier to see where their money's coming from...whose profits would be impacted by the changes that slowing (since we can no longer prevent) global warming would demand.
Though I agree on the idiocy of really-short-term thinking, there's the neurology to consider. If you are faced with an immediate threat, your attention focuses on that threat, not the threat next week. Thus there's an easy way for those whose interest is in raping the planet to get support--scare people with a short-term threat. It doesn't have to be realistic or logical, just immediately scary, presented as "the real threat" or "the next threat." In comparison with ecological disasters that have a lead time of years, the threat (so-called) of "Those People" moving in and [whatever is the current threat--dealing drugs, having riots, influencing your kids] is more immediate and thus more effective. Likewise losing your job, losing your house, etc. So the argument "Clean air/water costs jobs" will panic those who feel their jobs at risk (and most do now. Which is another political tactic: make people feel insecure and they're easier to manipulate.) It's much scarier than "In 50 years rising sea level will imperil x-million acres of our coasts" and that is scarier than "In 50 years rising sea level will imperil x-million acres of someone else's coasts." To combat the effect of neurology (the closest threat is the one that matters) people need practice in thinking long-term and beyond themselves. Which takes education (not necessarily formal, but the example of others thinking that way.)
While Newt is that greedy for power, I don't think he's stupid, though I think this may be one of the instances where he spoke before he thought. Claiming to be any sort of paleontologist seems more likely to cost him more votes from Christian fundamentalists than this statement would gain.
the thing that gets me are the set of people who present themselves as rational but vehemently deny "AGW" (athropgenic global warming/climate change, they tend to like acronyms)who have no financial intrest at stake.
I am sure you met and probably know some, they're endemic to fandom/geek culture, almost always libertarian of some flavor. Climate change denial has become a element of thier dogma.
In related news have you seen the news about the influx of snowy owls on the continental US?http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/localnews/2017100661_snowies27m.html
I currently live in SW Idaho on a high desert prairie plateau between two branches of the Rocky Mountains. I'm about an hour-some drive from the Historic Idaho Hotel
- a place that claims you can celebrate New Year's Eve there - if you can get your snowmobile in there that time of year.
Snow in winter is a way of life and Wal-Mart starts putting out the sidewalk salt for sale around the end of September.
It was 52F yesterday and we haven't had a flake of snow stick yet. Global Climate Change - the Newt needs to come here and check it out.Edited at 2012-01-02 04:40 am (UTC)
Maybe he's aware that when Scott and Amundsen were racing for the South Pole they both got firewood by cutting trees that were growing on the Antarctic coast.
It's too cold for trees there now, of course.
It's not just reading levels. (In fact, some of the hardest books to read I ever ran across were written for kids with reading difficulties to learn from.) One of the errors I see in education (and yes, I've been in it--as a math and science tutor, designing a class in first-response for a rural high school) is conflating "reading skills" with "learning skills." I'm sure you know this, but wanted to make it explicit for any discussion here.
When I was in high school, we had a simple book for plane geometry. It was all about the geometry. The logic of geometry was laid out clearly--what the axioms were, what was needed for a proof, and then bit by bit, the entire structure built up. Decades later, a friend's daughter was having some problems with geometry, and since I had tutored geometry, her mother asked me to help. This girl's modern "improved" geometry book was so cluttered (it was at least twice as "fat" as mine had been) with pictures, with little stories, with suggested projects, with wordy explanations (not all that well-written) stuffed in between the really rather simple basics, that the logic of the topic itself was buried. The girl has (and has as a marine biologist now) a very logical mind--her father's an engineer; she's been around engineers and software developers all her life--and all she needed was permission to go back to the basics of geometry, ignoring for the time being all the distracting non-geometry in the chapters. She caught on quickly to a method for finding the underlying structure, and after that was fine.
I would not argue that every student would find my old textbook easier to learn from than her newer one. It also takes what I had--a clear-headed teacher who is thoroughly master of the topic. But watching this intelligent girl--who had no previous fear or math or dislike of science--struggle with a textbook that had added baroque frills to a simple structure--made me aware of the dangers of using language (at least in the hands of those who aren't really good at it) to "make it more relevant" or "make it simpler."
Back to Gingrinch. He's not "making things easier to understand"--he's deliberately presenting misinformation, the easy (but wrong) answer people want. Telling them they understand something...that isn't true. It's as if he'd said "Pi = 3.1415....is too complex, so just tell people the diameter of a circle is three times the diameter. Close enough. And don't worry your pretty little head about the multiplication table...a guess is as good as a mile." Yes, it's scary. And evil.