Sunday, April 09, 2006

Climatology, Science, and Government

Patrolling the Federal Pages of the WashingtonPost.com, I came across an article about how U.S. Government policymakers are affecting the information that its scientists release to the public. In this article, it highlights the sensitivity of climate change as it relates to bureaucracy of government and the restrictions government scientists are beginning to face when it comes to publishing their findings. I just wanted to note that if the government is funding scientific research, and policymakers don't agree with the findings, tough. It's science. Although, both the policymakers, administrators, and scientists could do a better job of placing their findings in context. As with climate change, I like Harm de Blij's method of placing global warming in context. He basically gives us a history lesson. . . From the beginning: 4 billion years ago. (No, I don't think he was there to experience it all.) He explains the cycle of climate the earth has faced over millennia, and highlights the cold spells are SO much longer than the warm periods. He does this with a good laugh too, citing moments in recent history of cold snaps, such as when in the 1400's climate change affected human geography and probably prevented the world from speaking Chinese, and more recently what some call The Little Ice Age. Otherwise, this headbutting over terms deemed "sensitive" or "controversial" to restrict them to prevent an agency from headaches is just plain stupid. You have an obligation.

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