Monday, November 21, 2011

Climate Change Isn't Happening If You Can't Learn About It

How else can you explain the extraordinary efforts of the Harper regime and its US Congressional counterparts to suppress climate change information getting to the public.

As chronicled in The Guardian recently, Steve Harper has been using spending cuts to undermine groups such as Climate Action Network Canada, a NGO that once served to coordinate some 80 other organizations even as Harper broke his own commitments to continue $1.4-billion in government subsidies to the fossil fuel industry.

Now, south of the line, Congress has vetoed the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's efforts to create a National Climate Service akin to the agency's National Weather Service.   The telling part is that the NOAA wasn't asking for any new funding.

" a political climate where talk of the earthly kind of climate can be radioactive, the answer in last week’s budget deal was “no.” Congress barred NOAA from launching what the agency bills as a “one-stop shop” for climate information.

"Demand for such data is skyrocketing, NOAA administrator Jane Lubchenco told Congress earlier this year. Farmers are wondering when to plant. Urban planners want to know whether groundwater will stop flowing under subdivisions. Insurance companies need climate data to help them set rates."

"...with data spread across agency offices and Web sites, people are “often confused where to go for climate information,” said Mary Glackin, the NOAA deputy undersecretary heading up the proposal. The new service would streamline delivery, she said, and make it easier for people to find information, such as seasonal growing outlooks and drought, wildfire and flood forecasts.

The proposal has drawn wide-ranging support. NOAA’s administrator from 2001 to 2008 under Bush, Conrad C. Lautenbacher, urged Congress to approve it this year. So did scientific, weather and industry groups, including the Reinsurance Association of America, which represents huge firms that backstop home, car and life insurance companies.

Franklin W. Nutter, president of the RAA, said insurance companies are increasingly relying on the predictions of a changing future that NOAA provides. “It’s become clear that historic patterns of natural catastrophes — hurricanes, tornadoes, floods — are not good predictors of future risks,” he said. In other words, the future’s looking rougher."

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