Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Global Warming Smoking Gun

Yhe Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change will release a report next week that is said to feature an "explosion of new data" on observations of current global warming.

U.S. climate scientist Jerry Mahlman, who reviewed all 1,600 pages of the first segment of a giant four-part report called the results "compelling."

Global warming is "happening now, it's very obvious," said Mahlman, a former director of NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab who lives in Boulder, Colo. "When you look at the temperature of the Earth, it's pretty much a no-brainer."

The February report will have "much stronger evidence now of human actions on the change in climate that's taken place," Rajendra K. Pachauri told the AP in November. Pachauri, an Indian climatologist, is the head of the international climate change panel.

In spite of this, the Democratic congress faces an uphill battle to pass any global warming legislation. Carbon-reliant industries including coal, oil, agriculture and manufacturing will resist any strong legislation, a position that will pose serious dilemmas for Democrats in districts where those industries and their unions hold sway. Some representatives of low-income minority districts are also concerned that a climate bill would slap heavy energy costs on their constituents.

Even if Pelosi manages to finagle a bill through the House, there is the problem of the Senate, where global-warming skeptic James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.) has lost his chairmanship to climate-conscious Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) but has threatened a filibuster. And President Bush seems unlikely to sign anything too far-reaching.

That is why some environmentalists want Pelosi to delay until she can send a bill to a more sympathetic president in 2009, and why some Democrats want her to delay so they can use the issue against Republicans in 2008.

Bu, with the tipping point looming ever closer, there may not be that much time to spare.


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