Friday, July 21, 2006

C'mon, you can say it, cli-mate ch-an-ge

The Congress plans to investigate whether Bush appointees edited of government reports on the scientific evidence for climate change. It's about time. From the NY Times:

"A House committee will examine accusations that political appointees in the Bush administration edited government reports on global warming to raise the level of uncertainty about research that points to a human cause. The Republican and Democratic leaders on the Government Reform Committee sent a letter to the White House Council on Environmental Quality requesting documents by Aug. 11 on the activities of Philip A. Cooney, a former lobbyist for the petroleum industry with no science background who edited climate reports while chief of staff of the environmental council. Mr. Cooney resigned last year shortly after the revisions were described in The New York Times."

ABC news also has a story about the climate change goings on in Washington. For the most part, it is terribly written and edited, an embarrassment for a major news organization ("Scientists told the House committee that humans are causing most of the earth's warming and the planet is 8 degrees to 10 degrees hotter than it was thousands of years ago."... uh, yeah, that was the last ice age... safe bet the scientists were arguing humans ended it). But the story does raise one important point about the future emissions from the many new coal-burning power plants that in the works. There are two important lags in slowing climate change. One, that the emissions today affect the atmosphere for some time. Second, that you can't change the energy infrastructure overnight. I'm surprised people aren't screaming more about the need to integrate carbon capture and storage technology into these new plants.

Also in politics, the Canadian government has put together a new environmental strategy that will be announced in the fall. The report in the Globe claims the new strategy will address smog-forming pollutants, greenhouse gases and adaptation to climate change. I'm skeptical that the Harper government will put together a plan with any teeth (i think the Globe editors are as well, given the sarcastic "thorny green issues" in the headline). After all, this is the government that recently removed all references to "climate change" from the official government climate change site (the new text is downright comical, like something out of the Onion; you can read more about this on desmogblog). But, hey, nothing I'd like more than to be wrong about this.

The one good thing Canadians can take out of this mess: in that in the effort to appear more environmental (and have a chance at a majority in the next election), the Harper government will at least take real action on smog-forming pollutants and perhaps some other environmental concerns. Climate change, well, I'd think to put together a policy, you must be willing to use the words.

1 comment:

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