Monday, December 27, 2004

Tsunami Disaster Demands Fast Action

As President Bush announces the U.S. will rapidly respond with disaster relief for the victims of the earthquake and subsequent tsunami in Asia; the environmentalist left is quick to respond linking the scope of the disaster to global warming. While they lack the ambition or creativity to directly blame the earthquake on human activities, they are sounding the alarm bell with predictions of doom for the future.

A creeping rise in sea levels tied to global warming, pollution and damage to coral reefs may make coastlines even more vulnerable to disasters like tsunamis or storms in future, experts said Monday.

Few coastal ecosystems are robust enough to withstand freak waves like the ones that slammed into Asian nations from Sri Lanka to Thailand Sunday, killing more than 22,000 people, after a subsea earthquake off Indonesia.

But global warming, poorly planned coastal development and other threats over which humans have some control are weakening natural defenses ranging from mangrove swamps to coral reefs that help keep the oceans at bay.

Scientists say a build-up of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere from human burning of fossil fuels threatens to trigger more powerful storms and raise sea levels, exposing coasts to more erosion.

As the death toll rises in Asia from this disaster(at the time of this writing it is at 23,000), look for more reporting on how global warming has made the situation even worse. It all comes back to you, your SUV, the Kyoto Accord and Bush.

For an interesting perspective on all this, an excerpt from a speech at the National Press Club made by MIT professor in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Richard Lindzen.

Do you believe in global warming? That is a religious question. So is the second part: Are you a skeptic or a believer?

Essentially if whatever you are told is alleged to be supported by 'all scientists,' you don't have to understand [the issue] anymore. You simply go back to treating it as a matter of religious belief. Once a person becomes a believer of global warming, you never have to defend this belief except to claim that you are supported by all scientists -- except for a handful of corrupted heretics.

"With respect to science, the assumption behind the [alarmist] consensus is science is the source of authority and that authority increases with the number of scientists [who agree.] But science is not primarily a source of authority. It is a particularly effective approach of inquiry and analysis. Skepticism is essential to science -- consensus is foreign.

Alarmist predictions of more hurricanes, the catastrophic rise in sea levels, the melting of the global poles and even the plunge into another ice age are not scientifically supported. It leads to a situation where advocates want us to be afraid, when there is no basis for alarm. In response to the fear, they want us to do what they want.