18 Apr 2009

More Obama Administration Backing Away From Climate Luddism

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I have seen a few signs that perhaps the Obama Administration is trying to distance itself from the more radical proponents of economic restrictions to fight global warming. Granted, I don’t have my hands on a secret memo from Rahm Emanuel, but nonetheless I was surprised by the following recent events:

* The NYT ran a very favorable story on Freeman Dyson, who has been very critical of the “consensus” on these issues.

* Obama’s science adviser says biogeoengineering is on the table. I think many climate scientists view that as throwing in the towel, because the unwashed masses will never support high carbon taxes if they think there is a magic bullet from pumping aerosols into space.

* NASA just reported a new study (HT2LRC) that contains the following amazing paragraphs. And note, I’m not shocked that a NASA scientist would publish such results, I’m instead shocked that this is the way they choose to summarize it in the official announcement:

Sulfates, which come primarily from the burning of coal and oil, scatter incoming solar radiation and have a net cooling effect on climate. Over the past three decades, the United States and European countries have passed a series of laws that have reduced sulfate emissions by 50 percent. While improving air quality and aiding public health, the result has been less atmospheric cooling from sulfates.

At the same time, black carbon emissions have steadily risen, largely because of increasing emissions from Asia. Black carbon — small, soot-like particles produced by industrial processes and the combustion of diesel and biofuels — absorb incoming solar radiation and have a strong warming influence on the atmosphere.

So what’s my overall theory? I think Obama et al. pretended to be really super duper concerned about carbon emissions in order to win the election, and now that they’re in power they realize it’s no fun to be in charge of 300 million people who can’t drive to work or turn on their lights.

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