Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Shhhh! Maybe if we don't talk about it, it will go away

Journal: Agency Blocked Hurricane Report
A government agency blocked release of a report that suggests global warming is contributing to the frequency and strength of hurricanes, the journal Nature reported Tuesday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration disputed the Nature article, saying there was not a report but a two-page fact sheet about the topic. The information was to be included in a press kit to be distributed in May as the annual hurricane season approached but wasn't ready.

May? As in eight months from now? But is anyone really surprised?
"The document wasn't done in time for the rollout," NOAA spokesman Jordan St. John said in responding to the Nature article. "The White House never saw it, so they didn't block it."

Anyone think it wouldn't have been blocked if it got as far as the White House? In any case, it got blocked at a lower level. Since when is it necessary to get W. H. approval for scientific findings? Oh, wait. Never mind. If that's not a law already, the W. H. will be sending legislation to Congress real soon.
NOAA Administrator Conrad Lautenbacher is currently out of the country, but Nature quoted him as saying the report was merely an internal document and could not be released because the agency could not take an official position on the issue.

However, the journal said in its online report that the study was merely a discussion of the current state of hurricane science and did not contain any policy or position statements.

In fact, there's been a lot of news about global warming and hurricanes just this month. Here are various news reports from about two weeks ago:

  1. September 11, 2006 - Humans 'causing stronger storms'
  2. September 11, 2006 - Humans affect sea warming in hurricane zones
  3. September 11, 2006 - A Human Spin on Hurricanes
  4. September 12, 2006 - Human Activities Found To Affect Ocean Temperatures In Hurricane Formation Regions
  5. September 12, 2006 - Human activities are boosting ocean temperatures in areas where hurricanes form
  6. September 12, 2006 - Report links global warming, storms

Memo to W. H.: The cat's already out of the bag.

And actually, it's been a rather busy month in terms of news about global warming. For instance, here are some articles on the melting of arctic sea ice, and its effect on polar bears (among other things):

  1. September 13, 2006 - Arctic sea ice shrinks, a sign of greenhouse effect
  2. September 14, 2006 - Winter Arctic sea ice in drastic decline
  3. September 14, 2006 - Arctic sea ice diminished rapidly in 2004 and 2005
  4. September 14, 2006 - Warming Climate May Put Chill On Arctic Polar Bear Population
  5. September 14, 2006 - 'Drastic' shrinkage in Arctic ice
  6. September 14, 2006 - Arctic ice: it's melting - Scientists say wintertime loss of polar ice is growing along with a continuing summertime pattern and is strong evidence of global warming
  7. September 15, 2006 - Polar bears drown, islands appear in Arctic thaw
  8. September 15, 2006 - Arctic Ice Meltdown Continues With Significantly Reduced Winter Ice Cover

Yeah, OK, so it's getting hotter. But that doesn't mean it's caused by humans. Maybe the Sun is just putting out more heat? Nope:

  1. September 13, 2006 - No Sunshine for Global Warming Skeptics
  2. September 13, 2006 - Don't Blame the Sun
  3. September 14, 2006 - Changes In Solar Brightness Too Weak To Explain Global Warming
  4. September 14, 2006 - Study clears Sun of climate change

And what about all the methane -- an even more potent greenhouse gas than CO2 -- that's being released from thawing permafrost in Siberia:

  1. September 6, 2006 - Siberia's pools burp out nasty surprise
  2. September 6, 2006 - Melting lakes in Siberia emit greenhouse gas
  3. September 6, 2006 - Study Says Methane a New Climate Threat
  4. September 7, 2006 - Greenhouse Gas Bubbling From Melting Permafrost Feeds Climate Warming
  5. September 7, 2006 - Methane bubbles climate trouble
  6. September 7, 2006 - Melting permafrost spews out more methane
  7. September 8, 2006 - Siberian lakes burp "time-bomb" greenhouse gas
  8. September 13, 2006 - Greenhouse gas bubbling from Siberian permafrost

Should we be worried about this even if the W. H. isn't?

World has 10-year window to act on climate: expert
A leading U.S. climate researcher said on Wednesday the world has a 10-year window of opportunity to take decisive action on global warming and avert a weather catastrophe.

NASA scientist James Hansen, widely considered the doyen of American climate researchers, said governments must adopt an alternative scenario to keep carbon dioxide emission growth in check and limit the increase in global temperatures to 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

"I think we have a very brief window of opportunity to deal with climate change ... no longer than a decade, at the most," Hansen said at the Climate Change Research Conference in California's state capital.

If the world continues with a "business as usual" scenario, Hansen said temperatures will rise by 2 to 3 degrees Celsius (3.6 to 7.2 degrees F) and "we will be producing a different planet."

Does the name "James Hansen" ring any bells? It should:
Hansen, who heads NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has made waves before by saying that President George W. Bush's administration tried to silence him and heavily edited his and other scientists' findings on a warmer world.

Yep. Same old same old. W. H. trying to shut up the scientists. We wrote about it back in February (about 2/3 down the page).

Perhaps the W. H. knows something we don't. Like, maybe, a little bit of global warming is no big deal, compared to the nuclear war they're planning to start with Iran -- real soon now.

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