In honor of the Kyoto Protocol…
As the Kyoto Protocol goes into effect on Wednesday, here’s a roundup of environmental links that have caught my eye over the past week: 1) On Monday Antonio Regalado had a front-pager in the Wall Street Journal (the link should work for non-subscribers) about the famous/infamous “hockey stick” graph that showed a dramatic climb in ...
As the Kyoto Protocol goes into effect on Wednesday, here's a roundup of environmental links that have caught my eye over the past week: 1) On Monday Antonio Regalado had a front-pager in the Wall Street Journal (the link should work for non-subscribers) about the famous/infamous "hockey stick" graph that showed a dramatic climb in temperatures since the start of the Industrial Revolution:
As the Kyoto Protocol goes into effect on Wednesday, here’s a roundup of environmental links that have caught my eye over the past week: 1) On Monday Antonio Regalado had a front-pager in the Wall Street Journal (the link should work for non-subscribers) about the famous/infamous “hockey stick” graph that showed a dramatic climb in temperatures since the start of the Industrial Revolution:
But is the hockey stick true? According to a semiretired Toronto minerals consultant, it’s not. After spending two years and about $5,000 of his own money trying to double-check the influential graphic, Stephen McIntyre says he has found significant oversights and errors. He claims its lead author, climatologist Michael Mann of the University of Virginia, and colleagues used flawed methods that yield meaningless results. Dr. Mann vigorously disagrees. On a Web site launched with the help of an environmental group (www.realclimate.org), he has sought to debunk the debunking, and counter what he calls a campaign by fossil-fuel interests to discredit his work. “It’s a battle of truth versus disinformation,” he says. But some other scientists are now paying attention to Mr. McIntyre. Although a scientific outsider, the 57-year-old has forced Dr. Mann to publish a minor correction. Now a critique by Mr. McIntyre and an ally is being published in a respected scientific journal. Some mainstream scientists who harbored doubts about the hockey stick say its comeuppance is overdue. The clash has grown into an all-out battle involving dueling Web logs (www.climateaudit.org), a powerful senator and a score of other scientists. Mr. McIntyre’s new paper is circulating inside energy companies and government agencies. Canada’s environment ministry has ordered a review.
Astonishingly, neither weblog mentioned in the piece has posted any correction of substance about the article — so bravo to Regalado for apparently writing an accurate article on a technical and controversial subject. 2) Over at a new international law blog called Opinio Juris, Julian Ku notes that while the Bush administration is no fan of Kyoto, it is leading the way in reducing methane. He links to this Gregg Easterbrook essay in The New Republic which contains the following:
You’ll hear a reprise of outrage that George W. Bush withdrew the United States from Kyoto negotiations. Here’s something you probably won’t hear about: the multilateral greenhouse-gas reduction agreement George W. Bush approved a year ago. The world’s first international anti-global-warming agreement to take force is not the Kyoto treaty. It is a Bush Administration initiative, and you have not heard a peep regarding the initiative because the American press corps is pretending it does not exist…. [R]eporters who write reams about carbon dioxide rarely mention methane, and some environmentalists become actively upset when the potential for methane reduction is raised. Why? Because the United States is the world’s number-one emitter of carbon dioxide. (At least for the moment; if current trends hold, China will pass us.) Keeping the focus on carbon dioxide is the blame-America-first strategy. The European Union, on the other hand, is a leading emitter of methane, given the natural-gas energy economies of many Western European nations. Talk about methane reduction makes Europe uneasy. In the regnant global warming narrative, the United States is always bad and the European Union is always good. Raising the methane issue complicates that narrative.
[Easterbrook? Easterbrook? Is he a reliable source on enviro-stuff?–ed. There have been some problems in the past, yes. However, I’m taking Kevin Drum’s lack of criticism (he’s usually all over Easterbrook’s environmental posts like Paris Hilton on the cover of a magazine) to be a good sign.] Ku graciously points out that I blogged about the “Methane to Markets” initiative back in July of last year. 3) John Quiggin has been all over the question of whether Bjorn Lomborg stacked the deck of the Copenhaen Consensus to ensure that global warming would be ranked at the bottom of the world’s problems. Alex Tabarrok disputes this, pointing out that Lomborg picked an ardent advocate of the Kyoto Protocol. However, as I read this, Tabarrok’s point is consistent with Quiggin’s: Lomborg picked someone knowing they would make a radical argument, this ensuring his panelists would reject it. For relevant environmental posrs about global warming from the archives of danieldrezner.com, click here and here.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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