Monday, August 30, 2004

Is The Earth Round? Pending....

The Bush administration released a new report on global warning:

ONCE AGAIN a Bush administration scientific report blames emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases for global warming, and once again the reaction of the Bush White House is to say the evidence does not warrant action. Kennebunkport is going to go the way of Atlantis by the time this administration gets serious about climate change. This week the US secretaries of energy and commerce and the president's science adviser signed a report to Congress stating that warming trends in recent decades cannot be explained by natural factors and are due to increases in carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases. But the report gave the administration license for additional foot-dragging by adding that the studies in the report did not "make any findings of fact that could serve as predicates for regulatory action."

Others see the new report as actually new in that the administration appears to have finally accepted the scientific evidence on global warming. What's old is that these findings are not seen as requiring any actions from the Bush administration. A nice double-think, if there ever was one:

A Bush administration report suggests that evidence of global warming has begun to affect animal and plant populations in visible ways, and that rising temperatures in North America are due in part to human activity.
The report to Congress, issued Wednesday, goes further than previous statements by President Bush. He has said more scientific research is needed before he imposes new restrictions on greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.
In 2001, after the release of a National Academy of Sciences report on global warming, Bush said the concentration of greenhouse gases has increased, in large part, because of human activity, but he emphasized that other factors could have influenced warming. Referring to the NAS report, he said, "We do not know how much effect natural fluctuations may have had on warming."
Several administration officials characterized the study as a routine annual summary of scientific research on global warming. John H. Marburger, the president's science adviser, said the report has "no implications for policy."
"There is no discordance between this report and the president's position on climate," Marburger said.

It's like saying that though the new diagnosis confirms that the patient has tuberculosis, the best treatment is still to withhold the antibiotics.