Dyson, Owen, and Romm on Climate

A trio of pieces to keep you (and me) saturated with tendentious climate change discussion:

The Civil Heretic – from this weekend’s New York Times Magazine, a lengthy profile of Freeman Dyson, and in particular, his contrarian views on anthropogenic climate change. I’m still reading it, but am enjoying it a lot. More after I’ve finished it, probably.

Economy vs. Environment – a New Yorker piece by David Owen that argues that responses to global warming are necessarily constrained by economic considerations. Likewise, still reading.

Paging Elizabeth Kolbert – by my man crush Joseph Romm, in which he fisks the aforementioned David Owen article. As I said, I’m not done reading Owen’s argument, but I’m willing to stipulate that Romm may be going over the top a bit in taking the fight to Owen. I dunno; I’ll see how I feel after digesting all three articles, and will post an update.

One Response to “Dyson, Owen, and Romm on Climate”

  1. shcb Says:

    I liked all three articles, I especially liked the article on Dyson since we are in the same camp on global warming I suppose, I’m sure he is pleased he agrees with me :-) I had a friend that worked on the Manhattan project that reminds me of Dyson, he passed away a few years ago, what characters those guys are.

    I thought Romm was a little unfair in a couple spots but also made some very good points on some of the excesses in Owen’s piece. Romm wanted Owen to expand on a few items but if Owen had done so to the liking of Romm that is the only small part of the article Owen would have been able to cover, opionion pieces are limited in size. But on the other hand I thought Romm made a good point when he called out Owen for saying that if you increase fuel economy it will be offset with distance driven. Common sense tell you that is probably not true since most of us spend the bulk of our millage to and from work, shopping, taking the kids hither and thro, that sort of thing, we will drive those miles no matter what. I think Romm’s 20% sounds reasonable. Now this isn’t the only good point Romm made, just an example. But Owen made some good points that weren’t exaggerated as well.

    One area I thought was interesting because you see it so often was when Romm took Owen to task for saying that we only get ½ percent of our power from solar and wind with the rebuttal that wind and solar are the fastest growing areas of employment. Ok, so both points are probably true, what do they have to do with each other? A power grid can handle 10 percent of its power from solar and wind and we are only are one half percent, so perhaps that should be an area of growth. If Owen meant that since we only produce such a small percentage we shouldn’t produce more then that may or may not be a valid statement, there are other factors to consider. But it would seem expanding solar and wind would be a good thing if it makes sense for a given geographic area.

    All in all you could tear apart either Romm or Owen’s pieces point by point if you wanted to but I don’t think either was over the top, especially if the reader is at all knowledgeable of the subject matter.

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