The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Montana to Repeal Global Warming

There's such a thing as a harmless declaration. In a state like Texas which values its ceremonies, for instance, Rep. Shapiro has issued a declaration
WHEREAS The Senate of the State of Texas is pleased to recognize D. Michael Tanenbaum for his many contributions to the field of dentistry; and

... WHEREAS Dr. Tenenbaum ... has practiced dentistry in the West Island since 1975; he is a founding member of the West Island Health Center [sic] in Dollard des Ormeaux and has served on the council of Presidents of the Federation of Dental Societies of Greater Montreal; ...

now therefore let it be PROCLAIMED; That the Senate of the State of Texas hereby commend D. Michael Tenenbaum on his many contributions to his community and his profession and extend to him a sincere welcome to our state; and be it further PROCLAIMED, That a copy of this Proclamation be prepared for him as an expression of esteem from the Texas Senate.
Which I suppose constitutes implicit recognition of the West Island by the Republic of Texas, which may serve us West Islanders well should we ever feel a need to secede from Quebec and form a new Jewish state by the banks of the almighty St. Lawrence. But other than that long shot eventuality, pretty harmless.

Sometimes, though, proclamations get further than you expect. One Joe Read, state representative in Montana, quickly gained notoriety for offering the following bill to his legislature:
A BILL FOR AN ACT ENTITLED: “AN ACT STATING MONTANA’S POSITION ON GLOBAL WARMING; AND PROVIDING AN IMMEDIATE EFFECTIVE DATE.”

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MONTANA:

NEW SECTION. Section 1. Public policy concerning global warming. (1) The legislature finds that to ensure economic development in Montana and the appropriate management of Montana’s natural resources it is necessary to adopt a public policy regarding global warming.

(2) The legislature finds:

(a) global warming is beneficial to the welfare and business climate of Montana;

(b) reasonable amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere have no verifiable impacts on the environment; and

(c) global warming is a natural occurrence and human activity has not accelerated it.

(3) (a) For the purposes of this section, “global warming” relates to an increase in the average temperature of the earth’s surface.

(b) It does not include a one-time, catastrophic release of carbon dioxide.

NEW SECTION. Section 2. Codification instruction. [Section 1] is intended to be codified as an integral part of Title 75, chapter 2, and the provisions of Title 75, chapter 2, apply to [section 1].

NEW SECTION. Section 3. Effective date. [This act] is effective on passage and approval.
To be sure, this is just a proclamation which has no actual substantive importance, not even a nice West Island Dentist to frame it and put in the grand entrance of his brick fortress in Dollard, just below the crystal chandelier and beside the (authentic, he has the papers to prove it!) Georges Braque print. (You know, where it used to be that Chinese thing with the birds? Now he has there a plaque from the Senate of Texas, with a regular Texas Sheriff star and everything.)

Nevertheless, Rep Shapiro gets by with a little gentle mockery from me, while Read is being much more widely critiqued. To be sure, Read is propagating some, well, not entirely true things about climate science that might be damaging to climate scientists as a class. I am not sure whether he is liable for libel under the circumstance.

Certainly it is pretty irresponsible. But I think the confused opinion he is expressing (including some hard-to-parse exception ("(b) It does not include a one-time, catastrophic release of carbon dioxide.") is his own, honestly held position. I am also certain that he is confused about science. He said in an interview with Brad Johnson:
The science is driven by grant money. It’s all on the side for writing studies that global warming is happening. There’s nothing on the side that says I wish to write a paper that global warming is not an issue. Money has been flowing into the grant purse.
...

If you follow the money, the science has been pushed toward where the money is coming from. The money is coming from the federal government. I believe global science is an ideal, not a true science.
Brad is to be congratulated for eliciting this quote because it reveals a great deal about what we are up against. People really don't understand the difference between think tanks and science! They think the job of a scientist is to write position papers. After all, every PhD they've ever met spends all their time writing position papers!

Joe Read (and I really hope that's pronounced "Joe Red"), I am convinced, means well. He is simply acting on the basis of trust in the media and the personal contacts that have informed his opinions. In the end, all of us need to do that to some extent. He is, in fact, being some sort of courageous with this noise; after all if he is wrong (which he is) doesn't that make him not just irresponsible but negligent?

He is innocent of being a liar, but he is not taking his job seriously enough. If he faces no consequences for this excess, the whole party system is broken, which of course, it is, and the whole society isn't taking its obligations seriously enough, which, of course, it ain't. So Joe Read will suffer no more than all the other Joe Sixpacks and Joe Reds. He will probably not suffer any real consequences from his proclamation. His outrageous proclamation, I would say.

After all, isn't repealing physical phenomena a federal matter?

It's not as if there were no precedent, though, as Peter Gleick points out. So the least we can do for Joe is to put this into historical context.

14 comments:

byron smith said...

Great writing. I particularly liked the final twist:
After all, isn't repealing physical phenomena a federal matter?

Oale said...

Well that does it! Proposing Montana to be expelled from UN secular counsil, since they have unerthly laws straight down the line!

dhogaza said...

So I guess we need to amend the old saying about Montana ...

"Montana, where men are men, and sheep worry ... and science does not apply".

Oale said...

Proposing sanctions against Montana:
1) Henceforth, only measurement devices allowed to be exported to Montana should use Aramaic numbers or literal definition of these, these should be produced under divine inspiration not to distress the regular Montanans.

2) As "God does not throw a dice", all references to natural numbers present in dice (1,2,3,4,5,6) shall be overstriked in books due Montana, and henceforth these shall be replaced with the names of Jacobs' sons, of which there were simenonlevi, but as the actual number of these is larger than the 'satanic diceal' numbers, some interpretative freedom will be maintained by local Montanan group leaders.

Francoise said...

So if you warmists are right that the world continues to have warmer temperatures, somehow Montana is worse Off? Last time I checked, longer growing seasons and not so cold winters would be a benefit to a state located near the Canadian border.

Of course, if you are wrong and what we have seen so far is just mostly natural variation in temperature, then this is all a tempest in a teapot, and you will find other ways to seek federal grant dollars to pay your salaries.

cagw_skeptic99 said...

So if you warmists are right that the world continues to have warmer temperatures, somehow Montana is worse Off? Last time I checked, longer growing seasons and not so cold winters would be a benefit to a state located near the Canadian border.

Of course, if you are wrong and what we have seen so far is just mostly natural variation in temperature, then this is all a tempest in a teapot, and you will find other ways to seek federal grant dollars to pay your salaries.

Pangolin said...

Hmm, they're going to have to come up with a new definition of "Glacier" because "used to be snow here all summer" National Park doesn't makes sense. Maybe if "glacier" is synonymous with "moraine" in Montana schools.

Michael Tobis said...

Now THERE is a coincidence.

Paul Baer said...

Looks like a bug in the software, eh?

--pb

Pangolin said...

You and Joe Romm are on the same page.....

http://climateprogress.org/2011/02/20/denier-bots-live-why-are-online-comments-sections-over-run-by-the-anti-science-pro-pollution-crowd/

Free sockpuppets for everybody; right sock only.

PDA said...

Only in it for the gold.

watchingthedeniers said...

Let's hope they repeal cancer and various other diseases next week.

Given the Republicans have health care in their sites, simply waving away disease should ensure a balanced budget. With those illnesses repealed, they will cease to exist.

Seriously, no has heard of King Canute?

dhogaza said...

"Given the Republicans have health care in their [sites] sights, simply waving away disease should ensure a balanced budget. With those illnesses repealed, they will cease to exist.

Seriously, no has heard of King Canute?"

My understanding is that Canute was trying to prove the historical equivalents of Republicans wrong with his demonstration that he couldn't order the tide to retreat.

Hank Roberts said...

Well, well, well.

An echo. Perhaps an ECHO (TM)?

MT, are you able to verify the IP address on those two identical copypastes? It would be most interesting.

Perhaps there's a way to apply the plagiarism-detection software to start picking this stuff up when they're a bit smarter than this one:
--------

Francoise said...
So if you warmists are right that the world ...
February 20, 2011 1:45 AM

cagw_skeptic99 said...
So if you warmists are right that the world ...
February 20, 2011 1:46 AM

Ah, and while the odd sock has no Profile, the even sock links to "JS-KIT" http://js-kit.com/
which links to "BUILD HIGHLY SOCIAL REAL-TIME APPS NOW" -- described:

"Echo is a hosted database bundled with a collection of extensible javascript clients designed for developers to quickly build real-time web applications.

Echo is capable of capturing all sorts of "social" content generated by users on your site and across the web (e.g. Tweets, Comments, Articles, and any similar data).

With Echo you can develop applications such as highly customized real-time commenting systems, "Topic Radars" (live display of photos, Tweets, articles for a given event or topic), real-time Forums, Live Blogging, live photo galleries, and other custom applications.
... capabilities of Echo include: high velocity data submission and query, flexible powerful query language, annotation, moderation, ... real-time data flow, and custom data processors."

http://aboutecho.com/
______________________
Perhaps this is one of the tools they're using to create posts by these fake "people", eh?

I'll suggest a slogan for them:

--> Socks to be you. <--