This is a huge credit to those interest groups that have attacked the science behind climate change. Fashioning themselves “scientific skeptics,” these well-funded advocates have struck a righteous pose as debunkers - as guardians against the environmental Chicken Littles who have noticed that the sky, if not falling, is moving around in an unsettling way.
It appears, alas, that the Bush Administration’s single effort to address the Climate Change crisis is not just inadequate, but counterproductive. The vague gesture in question is the Bush proposal to extend daylight savings time three weeks later into the winter season, purportedly to shift the days’ available light toward evening, thereby preserving energy by reducing the need for electric light after school and work.
But in his new book, Spring Forward: The Annual Madness of Daylight Savings Time, Tufts University Professor Michael Downing reports that Daylight Savings Time has never actually saved energy. On the contrary, people use more energy in the morning – getting up and preparing for work/school in the dark – and more in the evening, because they are much more likely to drive around to evening functions. Accordingly, the people most in favour of Daylight Savings Time tend to be sports organizations (especially golf courses), department stores (sales go up measurably during DST) and Big Energy.
Imagine: Which of those groups might have influence in the White House?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology researcher Kerry Emanuel provides a perfect example of why climate change deniers can still argue that there is scientific doubt about global warming. As reported in the Cape Cod Times Oct. 30, 2005, Emanuel tiptoes around the link between climate change and the unprecedented 23 “named” storms in this year's hurrican season, he does point – politely – in that direction. It's typical of the integrity – the absolute insistence on total scientific certainty – among those who agree that climate change is a concern. It also stands in contrast to the loose use of fact that is epidemic in the other camp.