Obama agrees with Bush on global warming

Bush forbade the intelligence community to provide satellite imaging to climate modelers; Obama reversed the decision. Makes sense if both of them think that the imaging will support global-warming claims.

If you’re the President, and you think that global warming is happening but don’t want the government to do anything about it, then you tell the intelligence community that it can’t provide data from satellite imaging to climate modelers.

If you’re the President, and you think that global warming is happening and want something done about it, then you tell the intelligence community that it must provide data from satellite imaging to climate modelers.

So it looks as if Obama and Bush agree: global warming is happening.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

7 thoughts on “Obama agrees with Bush on global warming”

  1. Come on Mark, many of the complaints about Obama are not that he actively supports stupid policies; they are that he is is unwilling to spend political capital to push through certain reforms. (Or, what amounts to much the same thing, he believes that working with the GOP makes sense, whereas most progressives believe this to be a waste of time.)

    In this case, for example, so he makes an EASY decision — allow certain CIA info to be used by climate scientists. This will probably help refine models and improve our predictive skills, but it doesn't change anything essential. Denialists who refuse to believe in data from NASA or NOAA or on-the-ground measurements in Greenland or photos of glaciers are not suddenly going to change their minds based on photos from spy satellites.

    What matters is actually DOING something about CO2; and I've seen little impressive on that front. More than Bush yes, but, really, is the bar that low?

    Will there be a CO2 bill? With EPA threats in the background, maybe. Will it actually be of any real use (as opposed to riddled with loopholes, and giving away permits to the usual suspects). I'm doubtful. The European experience (which I think was less politically corrupted than the US process will be) did fsckall good at the end of the day through, as you'd expect, loopholes and giveaways.

  2. Maynard, try reading again: unless I've quite misunderstood, this is one thing that that, unlike almost everything he did in general, and especially things relating to the environment, Bush did right.

  3. From the article: "This image has been degraded to hide the satellite’s true capabilities."

    To many people, a picture is a picture. To those with the right knowledge, however, simply looking at an image can reveal capabilities of the system that produced the image. Providing imagery to climate modelers is potentially quite a big opportunity for people who aren't friendly to us to learn about our capabilities. Keep in mind that one of the important uses for reconnaissance satellites is to fight proliferation of nuclear weapons, and we really don't want Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, or other countries to know exactly what our remote sensing platforms can do.

    It's nice if these assets can be used for peaceful scientific purposes, but not at the cost of North Korea learning how to hide their weapons programs from watchful eyes. I don't think the decision to share this imagery is as easy as one might imagine, but I'm glad it's being done.

  4. There are evidently readers who'd benefit from some way of flagging posts that make use of irony, facetious affirmations of the consequent, etc.

  5. How about another formulation: If you are the President, and you think that global warming may be occurring and that it's very important to get the answer right so the government spends money on a real threat if it exists and does not spend money on something which is not happening, you tell the intelligence agency to provide data to climate modellers.

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