In the middle of the Vietnam War, Walter Cronkite used his position at CBS news to take a stand and to explain more than the government was pleased with. LBJ was quoted as having said, ""If I've lost Walter Cronkite, I've lost Middle America". Well, Brokaw does not have Cronkite's stature, but he is Middle America, small town S. Dakota and maybe his spending two hours on Discovery channel last night will give the issue some legitimacy.
It was, at least, of enough concern that OK Senator James Imhofe had The Environment and Public Works attack Brokaw even before the program aired. They slammed him for bias and his biggest sin was to quote from scientists who had voted for John Kerry.
From another viewpoint, here is a review from an Susan L. Smith, Professor of Enviornmental Law at Willamette University School of Law. Smith screened the Brokaw program and saw Al Gore's movie, An Inconveniente Truth on the same day.
This AM, I sent the following to the editor of the Stockton Record, the major paper in the district of Richard Pombo. If they publish it, that will be the first time.
After watching Tom Brocaw on the Discovery Channel last night, I became convince that Richard Pombo is conducting a great experiment in public policy. At a time when the consenseus of scientific opinion is that global warming is really happening and that the major cause is the carbon dioxide produced by man, Pombo continues to insist that there is not enough scientific data on which to base public policy. With that one statement, he is telling us that he will base his policies on something other than the best set of facts that we have. Pombo's great experiment is to see how long we can last if we ignore the facts of global warming. Let me outline three examples.
Pombo has built his career on the support of private property rights, especially when they might be limited by the regulations of the Endangered Species Act. If you are forced to accept the facts that global warming is real, then you have to ask what does that mean for the survivability of species on this planet. NASA's Dr. James Hansen, perhaps the leading developer of computer models of the climate, has estimated that as many as 50% of the species on this planet may not survive, being unable to adapt to the rate at which earth's climate is changing. Maybe that is what Pombo wants and this is part of his grand experiment.
The two leading sources of increased carbon dioxide in the air are vehicluar exhaust and electric power generation. Pombo's policies involve increased exploitation of oil and natural gas as well as the increased use of coal fired power generation plants. Both of these are pouring tons of carbon into the air on an increasing basis. Rather than putting a maximum effort into finding solutions to our energy needs that do not require the burning of fossil fuels, Pombo is saying that we must burnmore , develop more sources, more quickly and make this a question of national security. Is it not a question of national security to deal with the major threat to the way we live?
The most dramatic effect of global warming is the melting of the waters locked up in ice, in Antarctica, the Arctic ice cap and in Greenland. These three areas contain enough fresh water to raise the level of the ocean by many feet. We have seen what happens when a city built below sea level is faced with the power of a major hurricane. Do we have to wait until Stockton is the next New Orleans? There is a push on right now to rebuild the levees in the Delta. How high are the new levees being built? Are they 3 feet higher? Will three feet be enough when as the oceans rise? Why then, would Richard Pombo be so concerned about our Federal Government releasing new flood plain maps for the Delta. The FEMA maps are based on historical data and the concept of a 200 year flood diaster. They do not yet consider the effects of global warming, and still Pombo does not want to let us see them.
The normal cycles of climate change happen relatively slowly. This man made climate change is happening at an increasing pace. As Pombo's grand experiment in ignoring facts plays out, remember, it is our lives that he is playing with. Our children will have to live in the world that he is making. This is all a question of how we use our resources. Pombo chairs the House Committee on Resources and he is playing a game with our future.