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Friday, September 23, 2005

The Politics of Hurricanes and Global Warming

There has been much discussion in the past few weeks in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the fast approaching Hurricane Rita about the effects of global warming on a more severe hurricane season. As expected this discussion has become quite political with much blame being placed upon the Bush administration.

Here are a few example of this analysis:
Let me make two quick caveats regarding my take on this. First, I know very little of the science regarding global warming and as such don't know whether it is valid or not. I am going to assume that it is. Second, while I do lean conservative, I am no fan of Bush and have plenty of criticism of this adminstration on a multitude of issues. That being said, this claim that the Bush administration is responsible for these hurricanes because of their apathy towards global warming is complete and utter nonsense.

Let me explain why (this is so simple I can't believe I have to spell it out). My understanding of global warming and climate change is that these things take time. Now I don't think that means 100s of years, but I think it means more than four or five years. So is there anything that Bush has done or has failed to do that could have had an impact upon global climate change since he was elected? No, of course not.

The real problem with crazy claims like this is that they undermine credibility. Unlike some conservatives I know, I believe that many environmentalists make some valid claims that are worth listening to. However, it is very difficult to see beyond the outrageous rhetoric to see the valid criticisms. This mistake is made all across the political spectrum.

I believe that conservatives have made the same mistake as it relates to Iraq. I am very conflicted as to whether we should have gone into Iraq. But it seems plainly obvious that things have not gone well there and are not improving. Unfortunately, many conservatives refuse to see or admit this in fear that it will undermine all of their arguments. Not true. I believe more honesty on the issue of Iraq would actually engender more respect for the conservative position.

(that was rather cathartic; I have had quite the writers block for about two weeks)

Update: Rev. Mike makes some similar points here about those who claim expertise in areas like global warming.

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