Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Michael Crichton echoes right-wing talking points on global warming: (or is it the other way around?)

After a couple of delays, Michael Crichton's one hour interview with Charlie Rose was aired on Monday. After discussing his latest book (Next) the subject turned to global warming, something Crichton isn't too worried about.

Crichton's position is that by the end of the 21st century we should see a rise of only 0.8° celsius. And he's dismissive of any predictions about where climate is headed. He sees global warming concerns more of a hysteria than science.

What was interesting was that during the interview Crichton uttered a number of expressions that were the stock-in-trade of Big Time Global Warming Skeptics.
  • On the UN IPCC report (at the 24:15 on the website video):
    I haven't read it. I don't read the summary for policy making. I read what the scientist say, not what the politicians say. [...] A lot of people who talk about this, don't actually know much about it.

    (30:10) These people are bureaucrats ...
    ROSE (incredulous): Seientists had nothing to do with that report?
    I don't think so.
    Crichton's charge that the IPCC report was a bureaucrat's product is a repeat of Bush's remarks in 2002 of the EPA report on global warming:
    "I read the report put out by the bureaucracy," Mr. Bush said dismissively when asked about the EPA report, adding that he still opposes the Kyoto treaty.
  • On the increased burning of fossil fuels in the 20th century (26:00):
    We've been de-carbonizing since the days of Abraham Lincoln and Queen Elizabeth.
  • On the climate data (28:30):
    Let me put it to you this way. If global warming was a company, you couldn't buy it. Because they won't let you do due diligence. They won't let you look at the figures.
    ROSE: They being?
    The scientists ...
  • On the "emotionalism" driving the GW concerns (32:00):
    When you have people adopting essentially philosophical positions, emotional positions, which the environment tremendously invites - how I feel as I walk through the woods, and how I feel as I see clear cutting ...
  • On predicting anything about climate (37:50):
    I believe the future is unknowable.
  • On having people disagree with him (47:15):
    It's actually something Einstein was asked. [...] At a certain point the Nazis had made this book (because it was "Jewish science") and 200 scientists had said Einstein was wrong about relativity. And Einstein was asked, "What do you think? 200 people think you were wrong", and Einstein said "all it takes is one person to prove me wrong".
  • On the scientific consensus (48:00):
    Consensus science is not science. All this consensus stuff is about politics.
    This line "consensus science is not science" is something Limbaugh has said repeatedly (link - but now behind a login wall)

While Crichton can sound reasonable for the most part, what jumped out during the interview were the remarks about of the work of "bureaucrats" and "consensus science". To anybody familiar with right-wing radio, those are frequently used concepts when dismissing global warming concerns. And to hear Crichton using them during the Rose interview seemed small minded.


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