The big climate change news isn’t that there is now a consensus that humans are mostly likely driving it. That’s not news at all, at least to anyone who isn’t paying attention or isn’t just mouthing Bush administration talking points. The big news is that the denier group just got significantly smaller because the Bush administration has now acknowledged the obvious:
Burning fossil fuels in power plants and automobiles is most likely responsible for global warming, according to a Bush administration report that confirms climate risks already accepted by most of the world’s scientists.
Carbon dioxide, the byproduct of burning coal and oil, has contributed most to warming in the last century, the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the White House National Science and Technology Council reported today. The assessment from President George W. Bush’s top science advisers is the strongest endorsement yet of a global scientific consensus on the causes of climate change, said Jay Gulledge, senior scientist at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, a nonprofit research group. (Bloomberg)
This admission didn’t speak up willingly. The Bush administration was sued by the Center for Biological Diversity to make a scientific assessment of the effects of climate change, required of them every four years by a 1990 law. Respect for law has never been very high on the Bush scale of priorities and this was no exception. Their attitude? Make us. So the court made them.
The most surprising thing about the report is that it didn’t just repeat all the old hoary arguments of the the tiresome climate change denialists. Instead it essentially ratified the conclusions of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC report assigned a better than 90% probability to the proposition that humans were a significant cause of global temperature increase. The Bush administration report also acknowledged that North America could suffer even more than the rest of the world.
Apparently the few remaining scientists in the Bush administration are asserting themselves now that their boss is reviled, politically weak and marginalized. Seven years wasted that the US could have been part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Like the President’s former press secretary, administration scientists are finally telling the truth. Of course the truth was known by everyone else in both cases all along. The only news is in who’s saying it. W ask the President’s science people what we would like to ask his former Press Secretary and the media he so easily duped. Why were you silent for long?