UK Guardian

Post image for Is Gov. Perry ‘Anti-Science’? (Updated, Sep. 14, 2011)

During this week’s GOP presidential candidates debate in California, Texas Gov. Rick Perry made a statement about global warming that Mother Jones, the Huffington Post, the UK Guardian, and others condemn as “anti-science.” Asked by moderator John Harris of Politico “which scientists” are “most credible” in questioning “the idea that human activity is behind climate change,” Perry replied:

Well, I do agree that there is – the science is – is not settled on this. The idea that we would put Americans’ economy at – at- at jeopardy based on scientific theory that’s not settled yet, to me, is just – is nonsense. I mean, it – I mean – and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell. But the fact is, to put America’s economic future in jeopardy, asking us to cut back in areas that would have monstrous economic impact on this country is not good economics and I will suggest to you is not necessarily good science. Find out what the science truly is before you start putting the American economy in jeopardy.

The UK Guardian was quick to denigrate Perry’s answer:

It’s one thing to question the economic impact and legacy of current climate policy proposals – you would expect and wish for politicians to debate this – but for a politician to question the science in this way is striking. . . .Note how he studiously ignored the moderator’s well-crafted question: who exactly are these “Galileos” that you believe have so comprehensively cast doubt on the canon of climate science? Perry couldn’t – or wouldn’t – name them.

The Guardian makes a mountain out of a molehill. If Harris was so keen to know which climate scientists Perry finds most credible, he could have just restated the question. Perry was apparently more interested in making two basic points: (1) he does not view global warming as a warrant for imposing massive new regulatory burdens on the U.S. economy; (2) he is not impressed by appeals to an alleged “scientific consensus” because, after all, scientific issues not settled by counting heads.

The question Harris asked is bound to come up again and again in candidate forums, and it’s a bit of a loaded question at that. Alarmists would like us to believe that any human contribution to climate change constitutes a “planetary emergency” (Al Gore’s phrase) and, as such, justifies the imposition of cap-and-trade and other assaults on affordable energy. Hence, they would like nothing better than to trick opponents into arguing as if the case against cap-and-trade, or against EPA’s hijacking of climate policy, hinges on the implausible thesis that greenhouse gases do not have a greenhouse (warming) effect.

How then should presidential contenders respond to such questions? [click to continue…]

Post image for Scientists Offer New Reason to Curb GHG Emissions: Prevent Pre-Emptive Attack by Space Aliens (Updated 1:25 pm)

No, I’m not making this up, and it’s not a prank.

“A preemptive strike [by extra-terrestrials] would be particularly likely in the early phases of our expansion because a civilisation may become increasingly difficult to destroy as it continues to expand. Humanity may just now be entering the period in which its rapid civilisational expansion could be detected by an ETI [extra-terrestrial intelligence] because our expansion is changing the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere, via greenhouse gas emissions,” write researchers from Pennsylvania State University and NASA* in a study entitled “Would contact with extraterrestrials benefit or harm humanity? A scenario analysis.”

Science correspondent Ian Sample reviewed the study yesterday in the UK Guardian. A pearl from his article:

“Green” aliens might object to the environmental damage humans have caused on Earth and wipe us out to save the planet. “These scenarios give us reason to limit our growth and reduce our impact on global ecosystems. It would be particularly important for us to limit our emissions of greenhouse gases, since atmospheric composition can be observed from other planets,” the authors write.

Sample shows these speculations the proper respect by posting this picture at the top of his article:

Clearly, the IPPC climate impact assessments are too “conservative” and global warming poses a bigger threat than scientists previously predicted.

The only point I would add to Sample’s knee-slapper of a review is that the “green alien” scienario made its Hollywood debut in the 2008 remake of The Day the Earth Stood Still, starring Keanu Reeves.

In the original 1951 film, Klaatu and his robot Gort come to Earth to deliver an ultimatum: Mankind must end the nuclear arms race and abandon its warlike ways or Earth will be destroyed. In the remake, Klaatu and Gort come to rescue plant and animal species endangered by global warming and to exterminate mankind as punishment for our fuelish ways. Gort pulverizes our fossil-fueled industrial infrastructure and is on the verge of wiping out humanity when Klaatu, moved by the beauty and purity of heart of astrobiologist Dr. Helen Benson (Jennifer Connelly), dies instead for our sins of emission.

* NASA is apparently taking some heat — or at least some good natured ribbing — for this paper. [click to continue…]