It will be interesting to see if the current economic problems make people a little less likely to accept all of the global warming studies and to put up the money that will be needed to materially reduce greenhouse gases. In the meantime, global warming naysayers are publishing some interesting articles, like this one. I think it will be difficult, politically, to justify huge expenditures on environmental initiatives, particularly those based on predictions of catastrophic results happening well into the future, when governments are running enormous deficits already. In some ways, environmentalism is only politically popular when its costs are borne entirely be others, like a particular industry or a far-away country. When an environmental decision has significant consequences for the average American — as apparently is the case with a recent set of federal regulations that will dramatically restrict the use of river water in California, with profound repercussions for farming and potential growth — politicians are highly critical. This report on the water use regulations, for example, quotes Governor Schwarzenegger, who is generally viewed as environmentally friendly, as saying that the regulations put the interests of fish above the interests of human beings. Now, where have we heard that kind of argument before?
I think we are going to start to see some serious pushback on the “consensus” on global warming. One predicted point of attack: the computer models that are the foundation of virtually every global warming. The models are based on significant assumptions about the climatic reaction to certain gases, temperature trends, and so forth. Pardon the pun in the context of a post on environmental issues, but we should all remember that one of the basic truisms about any computer program is “garbage in, garbage out.”