December 7, 2009 [LINK / comment]
Climate summit in Copenhagen
In Copenhagen, Denmark, delegates from 192 countries are gathering to save the planet from the menace of global warming. Across the North Sea at the University of East Anglia, meanwhile, the research unit that is widely cited as justifying urgent action has been gravely discredited. It will take several weeks before we get to the bottom of "Climategate," so we shouldn't jump to the conclusion that it was all bogus. As things stand now, however, the body of evidence is seriously tainted, and any prudent minded person would insist on further scrutiny of the data. As the Wall Street Journal Online notes, White House Science Adviser John Holdren may be involved in the apparent scientific coverup. (I noted his controversial political role in September.)
Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen has described the UN climate summit in Copenhagen as an "opportunity the world cannot afford to miss". (See BBC.) Whoa, there! Let's not forget the lesson of Iraq in 2003, the bailout bill last year, and the stimulus package this year: hastily making big decisions under the false premise that there is an overriding emergency can lead to disaster.
For the record, I am a skeptic of global warming claims (see June 29, for example), especially the idea that it can be blamed exclusively on the human race. I have seen photographic evidence that glaciers in several parts of the world are melting at an alarming rate, however, so am by no means complacent about the potential threat, either.
In a related story from last month, Al Gore got carried away with "heated rhetoric" once again, claiming that Earth's inner core is "several million degrees." That is true of the sun, but is an extreme overstatement of how hot our own planet's core is. See newsbusters.org.
Politics and morality
Carl Tate made a pitch in favor of good government on Facebook today, rejecting the idea that politics is necessarily dirty. So, I took a moment for a brief lecture:
That's a noble sentiment, Carl, one that I heartily endorse. However, one must remember Reinhold Niebuhr's point that the ethical "children of light" must take into account the Machiavellian insights which the "children of darkness" use to their advantage. Without some grounding in reality, our hopes for a better, cleaner (political) world will end up as vain utopian dreaming.
Also, the problem is not "establishment elites," it's a decay in moral standards all across society, including the "grassroots."
This is Deeds country
Soon after entering Bath County during an Augusta Bird Club field trip last month, our group came upon this creative expression of support for hometown hero Creigh Deeds. It reminds me of what the Angel Clarence told George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) in the movie It's A Wonderful Life: "No man is a failure who has friends."