Posted by | August 22, 2010 21:09 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

Scientists predict gradually rising temperatures; global mean temperatures rise gradually.  No one is convinced.  Scientists predict more chaotic weather . . .

The floods battered New England, then Nashville, then Arkansas, then Oklahoma — and were followed by a deluge in Pakistan that has upended the lives of 20 million people.

The summer’s heat waves baked the eastern United States, parts of Africa and eastern Asia, and above all Russia, which lost millions of acres of wheat and thousands of lives in a drought worse than any other in the historical record.

Seemingly disconnected, these far-flung disasters are reviving the question of whether global warming is causing more weather extremes.

The collective answer of the scientific community can be boiled down to a single word: probably.

Now, I don’t really expect this “weather chaos” (and isn’t “weather chaos” a great name for an indie rock band?) to convince anyone of global warming but I would raise the question of what would exactly convince the skeptics?  An end to winter? A liquid South Pole? Anchorage being granted a Major League Baseball Franchise?  Our planet is taking a beating and we need to seriously debate what should be done.  I grant that the answer is not exactly clear but we can’t even have the debate until enough people believe there is a problem.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.