Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Anti-regulation activists come to Michigan dressed as science experts! (But did they stay at a Holiday Inn Express?)

Today, a panel of anti-government anti-regulation activists will convene on two Michigan college campuses, Oakland University and Central Michigan University: http://bit.ly/cSXA2O

They will spread this message: Thousands of climate scientists worldwide are either incompetent or have abandoned their ethical, moral and professional obligations as part of an insidious plot to fake the issue of climate change.

They could be right....and Arkansas-Pine Bluff could win the NCAA basketball tournament this year.

Here’s a more plausible explanation:

The panelists each work for organizations dedicated to eliminating government regulation. Two of the three are paid by big foundations and companies to fight government oversight. Climate change solutions almost certainly will require government oversight. Therefore, these organizations are desperately denying the science that threatens their mission: Minimizing regulation and protecting clients.

So maybe thousands of climate scientists are stupid or crooked.

Or maybe the panelists’ hatred of government regulation and/or loyalty to their funders is so great that they will do anything in order to block it.

The latter explanation is business as usual for the folks who continue to defend tobacco companies and oppose government regulations that prevent the Great Lakes from being siphoned into Asia-bound tankers for sale to the highest bidder.

It is telling that the so-called ‘expert panel’ today tackles the most pressing and complex scientific matter of our time, yet there are no scientists on the panel! Instead we get a newspaper cartoonist – Henry Payne of the Detroit News -- and two paid flacks for anti-government foundations: Paul Chesser of the Heartland Institute and Shikha Dalmia of the Reason Foundation.

The anti-science crusade has been successful, as it was against tobacco regulation a generation ago. Recent polls show a decline in the number of Americans who believe the science of climate change: http://bit.ly/cfnt8g

But even with the recent dustup over e-mails stolen from climate scientists, no major US scientific organization has changed its stance on climate. In fact, a list of 250 (and growing) U.S. scientists (mostly climatologists) have signed this open letter: http://bit.ly/b5JnK8

I’ve already filled out my NCAA bracket. People who analyze basketball for a living predict an early exit for Arkansas-Pine Bluff. I’ll root for them because I love to see the underdogs make fools of the experts. But that’s not where I’m putting my money. How about you?


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