Our friend, Carbon Dioxide

As you may have heard, there is a new movie out, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which is essentially a documentary of Al Gore's powerpoint presentation on global warming.  Despite this seemingly soporific description, the movie has been surprisingly well-reviewed and received a lot of positive publicity for the issue itself and for Al Gore. 

In response, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a think tank (and I use the term loosely), largely funded by the petroleum industry has released a series of ads decrying Global Warming as little more than scare tactics and with the memorable tagline, “they call it pollution, we call it life.”  To me,  these ads seem so ridiculous to almost border on satire.  They are largely a series of misleading half-truths that do not address the genuine scientific consensus on global warming.  Sure carbon dioxide is necessary to life on this planet, but too much of any good thing often becomes a bad thing.  We all need salt to survive, too, but try switching over to saltwater as a regular beverage and just see what happens.  Learning that ExxonMobil is primary funder of this Institute further reconfirms my commitment to purchase my gas from them as a last resort.  Maybe BP is all for show, but they at least pretend (and hopefully mean it) to care about our environmental future, rather than actively working to undermine it. 

This past week's Washington Post Magazine ran a very interesting story on the handful of global warming skeptics among actual scientists (though most of them are not climate scientists).  What was most interesting and amusing about the piece was that most of these skeptics consider the other skeptics to be crackpots who don't know what they are talking about.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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