I’d highly recommend this public presentation by and interview with White House science advisor John Marburger. Roger Pielke Jr.’s got some excerpts. Marburger’s a bit of an enigma to me — the interview is alternately thoughtful, thought-provoking, and maddening. Here’s one excerpt:
After the President announced that he would not support the Kyoto Protocol early in 2001, there was a lot of criticism and the President turned to the National Academies and asked them to make a study, which they did in record time, informing him about the validity of the science in the documents that supported the Kyoto Protocol. And before his first trip to Europe in 2001, in July, I guess, or June, the President made a speech to which I commend to all of you. You should go on the White House website and look at the President’s speech of June 11, 2001 where he states what the policy is very, very clearly. And he states in his speech, number one, the climate is changing, the surface temperature of the earth is warming, there is a greenhouse effect, Co2 is a greenhouse gas, it has increased substantially since the beginning of the industrial revolution, and it is caused by human activity. He goes on to say that the connection between this massive increase in Co2 and specific aspects of climate change that may impact humans is difficult to infer from the existing things. It requires modeling, the Earth’s system. But, he goes on to say that is no reason not to take action. He says the U.S. is prepared to take responsibility for its emissions, and he announces the formation of two programs: one climate change science program, which re- focuses the climate change science activities that had existed there before that, into a sort of a goal- oriented program, and a second one, which is very little acknowledged but which is more important, to invest in a climate change technology program to develop technologies that will replace our existing energy technologies and reduce or eliminate the emission of Co2 into the atmosphere. All of those things are in the speech, and subsequently he has made proposals that have turned into approximately $2.9 billion dollars per year of investment in new technologies to reduce or eliminate the emissions of Co2 into the atmosphere. And yet people can talk about nothing but the Kyoto Protocol, and I think that’s very frustrating to him. It’s frustrating to me, because if the provisions of the Kyoto Protocol were totally implemented, even if the U.S. participated, it would make negligible difference to the climate by the end of this century that we’re currently living in. In order to make a difference to the climate, you have to introduce a very different way of generating and using energy than we do now. There simply isn’t any way to do it. You have got to change things very dramatically. We have a very big job ahead of us. Every country is going to have to use new technology, either to remove the Co2 from emissions from hydrocarbon burning power plants or to use some other way, some alternate method, of energy generation. So, this is what we have got to do and I think that we should get on with it and not get hung up over the Kyoto Protocol.
Give it all a read. I might try to say more about it later today.