Year 2, Month 10, Day 22: Today Is The Tomorrow You Worried About Yesterday

The Columbus, Indiana “Republic” runs an AP article on the censorship of climate science in Texas:

GALVESTON, Texas — A Rice University oceanographer says the state’s environmental agency is refusing to publish his research article on a Texas bay unless he agrees to delete key references to rising sea levels and human involvement in climate change.

Professor John Anderson has declined the proposed edits by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, calling the changes to a report on Galveston Bay “censorship” and an attempt to mislead the public.

Consequently, the state agency said it will remove Anderson’s article, which deals with long-term sea level rise and mentions manmade climate change, which commissioners have publicly questioned in the past.

Republicans are the hardest Sapir-Whorfians of us all. If there are no words for the problem, there is no problem. Presto! Sent October 18:

It is an axiom of many politicians that many difficult problems are easily solved by eliminating them from the historical record. Military records and embarrassing photographs can be destroyed or made to vanish; statements are rendered “inoperative”; actions can simply be firmly denied. A compliant media enables this behavior by fostering a simulacrum of journalism in which the presentation of two divergent opinions is considered “objective.”

But when policy is based on science, absolute veracity is essential. The recent censorship of climate scientists’ work in an oceanographic report on Galveston Bay is a case in point.

Climate-change denial may be electorally convenient for Texan lawmakers, but rejecting actual measurements and analysis when they don’t fit a preset ideology is both unethical and stupid. Rising ocean levels aren’t Republican or Democratic; the greenhouse effect is neither conservative nor liberal.

Those who politicize scientific research destroy the value of both politics and science.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 10, Day 19: Sciencey Stuff Is Easy!

The SF Chronicle reports on Rick Perry’s new energy plan.

West Mifflin, Pa. — Texas Gov. Rick Perry sought to recharge his flagging presidential campaign Friday by introducing an energy plan that calls for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and expanding oil production in the Gulf of Mexico.

Perry said his proposals would kick-start the sluggish economy and create 1.2 million new jobs through development and by rolling back clean air rules and other federal regulations.

Why on earth would anyone trust this guy? Sent October 15:

The revelation that his administration purged any mention of rising sea levels and global climate change from a recent scientific report should be a warning to voters everywhere: Texas governor Rick Perry has a very tenuous relationship with the truth. This act of government censorship was so egregious that all of the scientists involved in the extensive environmental study have requested their names be removed from the document.

Needless to say, it behooves all of us to regard the Texas governor’s newly introduced energy plan with a substantial grain of salt. Mr. Perry’s readiness to ignore problematic truths is surely matched by an equal readiness to replace them with convenient falsehoods. Given Republican primary voters’ preference for tough-talking liars, this may be a sound political strategy, but to those who know both science and history, it resembles Soviet-style revisionism far more than the finest traditions of American democracy.

Warren Senders

Year 2, Month 1, Day 13: I’m Gonna Build A Big Fence Around Texas

The Dallas Morning News has a piece on Texas’ ongoing struggle to block the Environmental Protection Agency from doing its job.

In attempting to block the regulatory initiatives of the Environmental Protection Agency, Texas is leading the way. Perhaps the rest of America will eventually follow — but to where? On the one hand, the state’s attempt to limit the EPA’s authority will make it easier for major polluters to continue their ongoing destruction of the planetary environment; increasing greenhouse emissions will soon bring Earth to levels of CO2 last seen hundreds of millions of years ago. On the other hand, the level of scientific ignorance used to justify anti-EPA lawsuits demonstrates that in at least some quarters, prehistoric ways of thinking already dominate. Unable or unwilling to grasp the relevance and reality of climatological data, the conservative groups attempting to stop the EPA’s work are leading Texas backward — all the way to the Carboniferous Period.

Warren Senders