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I've been getting a fair number of letters in print recently.  One of them was in the Boston Herald, my local fishwrap, and as I diaried a few days back, it attracted a massive outpouring of stupiditudiness among the Herald's dedicated commenters.

And, oddly enough, landed me on the Rec list.

Well, that was goooood.  Wish I could smoke a cigarette afterwards.

So...follow me past the croissant if you'd like to read two more that have gotten past the corporatist censors.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote about one of their state's politicians, a Republican named Chip Cravaack, who appears to be an utter and complete moron:

WASHINGTON - U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack is leading a Republican effort in the House to block funding for a climate change initiative that provides money to education programs around the nation, including at Carleton College in Northfield and the Como Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul.

Cravaack's proposal, offered as an amendment to an annual spending bill, made the first-term Minnesota member of Congress the focus of an intense legislative duel Wednesday over climate change, with Democrats and environmentalists rallying against the GOP measure.

Cravaack's amendment to the Commerce-Justice-Science spending bill would eliminate $10 million in annual funding made nationwide through the National Science Foundation's Climate Change education program.

Cravaack said the money "duplicates the already inherent ability of the [NSF] to fund worthy proposals through its rigorous, peer-reviewed process."

He cited Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports showing a range of overlapping programs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics education that are funded by 13 government agencies.

"A redundant global warming program can hardly be justified," he said.


Sent May 9:

A crucial element of any important mission, like last year's successful strike against Osama Bin Laden, is redundancy.  When that first helicopter went down, the Special Operations personnel on the scene weren't left high and dry by what could have been a politically and strategically devastating failure.  Why?  Because there were backup systems — redundancies — in place.

When people collaborating on a project have overlapping job descriptions, that's an additional layer of protection against mistakes or omissions; more important projects require more robust backup systems.

Which is why Chip Cravaack's proposed elimination of "redundant" climate change programs is a breathtakingly bad idea.  Addressing the effects of Earth's rapidly metastasizing climate crisis is too important a project to leave up to any single government program.  Rather, it will require an all-out effort involving both public and private sector organizations at all levels of society: more redundancy, not less.

Warren Senders



Ready for number two?  

I went long on this; they had a 300-word limit.  I also duplicitously used a family member's Toronto address in order to give myself some protective local coloration.

The Calgary Herald has a columnist named Brian Crowley, who is attempting to thread the centrist needle on climate.

The time has come to think differently about climate change.

For too long, the debate has been monopolized by two parties. One is almost religious, fervently believing in man-made climate change, and that only large changes in human behaviour can stave off disaster.

Their opponents argue that the science is uncertain, unsettled and inconclusive, and therefore, that no action is warranted until we possess that missing certainty.

I don’t agree with either camp. In most areas, there is only ever certainty of uncertainty. In other words, both those who believe certainty has been achieved and those who say it has not share the same assumption: that certainty is what we are after and we can get it.

The reality is that long-range future energy, climate, economic and other carbon-related environmental conditions are and will remain significantly uncertain, highly variable and largely unpredictable. Scientists and mathematicians know that the systems involved in the various dimensions of climate change policy are in fact extremely complex and often chaotic, fraught with considerable, irreducible uncertainty.

But contrary to the so-called skeptics, this uncertainty does not license inaction. Most human decisions are made in conditions of imperfect uncertain information. We have to act even though we don’t know everything.

More than the usual denialist bullshit, stuff like this really makes me mad.  I sent the following letter on May 17:
In his attempt at a "centrist" position on climate change issues, Brian Crowley sets up and knocks down several convenient strawmen.  

One: caricaturing those concerned about Earth's climatic transformation as "almost religious, fervently believing in man-made climate change" misrepresents both environmentalism and religion by overlooking the simple fact that those advocating for action on climate change would be delighted to learn they'd been mistaken (unlike the faithful, who resist contradictions, facts, and logic with preternatural stubbornness).  Those who understand enough science to recognize that our civilization is in deep trouble aren't persuaded by out-of-context statistics, ad hominem arguments, or pseudo-scientific irrelevancies, which is why there aren't a lot of "former climate-change believers" around except on internet comment threads.  

Two: Mr. Crowley's dismissal of "policies that promise to prevent climate change."  No such policies have been seriously proposed by any politician anywhere, for the simple reason that those who understand the science know that the changes are already irreversible.  Realistic global warming legislation advocates either preparation strategies (e.g., investing in strengthened infrastructure) or mitigation (e.g., ways to reduce greenhouse emissions).  

Three: he dismisses the notion that human attitudes and behavior can change, calling it an assumption "that has little or no basis in social science or historical precedent."  Mr. Crowley's notion that the conveniences of contemporary civilization are somehow permanently fixed in our species' way of living is risible.  Two hundred years ago, most people never traveled more than a few miles from their birthplaces; one hundred years ago, almost nobody on Earth owned a car; fifty years ago, almost nobody owned a computer; fifty years from now, we'll be out of oil, and living on a grossly hotter planet — and we will have to adapt if humanity is to survive.

Warren Senders



Well?  What are you doing, sitting around reading stuff on the intertubes?  Go write a letter!

And please drop in at Running Gamak, where you can find a Letter to the Editor on Climate Change for every day since January 1, 2010.
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