Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Environmental Bits and Pieces - December 16, 2009

First, the lowly menhaden and those fish oil pills you've been taking. BTW, it seems to me that I've read that fish oil isn't so good at reducing triglycerides after all. I was using up the last of mine and not planning to get more even before I read this.

I think that the situation in science is not as bad as these two paint it, but I agree that the choices on global warming are ultimately political. I would urge, however, that those choices be based on good science. And I think that the predominance of good science is on one side of the argument - that we humans are producing too much carbon dioxide and warming the globe. The idea of "scientific purity" in this article is itself an abstraction that is being used to mislead. It's true that there is a range of behavior among scientists, and that some of it isn't pretty. But the worst (I presume it's the worst that is being quoted over and over) of what's in those e-mails sounds like the kind of overstatement that frustration can lead to. I've said as much at times and have meant none of it as a guide to action.

Here's a rundown of how a climate treaty might fare in the Senate. Treaties need 67 votes in the Senate to be ratified. Given that we have 40 members of the Party of No and 1 member of the Party of Lieberman, the prospect for ratifying a treaty supporting sunshine as a positive force in the world seems slim. So this kind of calculation is going to be important for the START treaty and later nonproliferation treaties as well.

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