Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Global Warming Debate: Crichton Speaks Out

There is an interesting account of a debate between global warming enthusiasts and skeptics in the Inhofe EPW Press Blog. (Executive summary: It looks like the skeptics won.)

I particularly enjoyed the comments of author Michael Crichton, below:

"I would like to suggest a few symbolic actions that [m]ight—might really mean something. One of them, which is very simple, 99% of the American population doesn’t care, is ban private jets. Nobody needs to fly in them, ban them now. And, and in addition, [APPLAUSE] "Let’s have the NRDC (Natural Resources Defense Council), the Sierra Club and Greenpeace make it a rule that all of their members, cannot fly on private jets. They must get their houses off the [electrical] grid. They must live in the way that they’re telling everyone else to live. And if they won’t do that, why should we? And why should we take them seriously? [APPLAUSE]"
"I suddenly think about my friends, you know, getting on their private jets. And I think, well, you know, maybe they have the right idea. Maybe all that we have to do is mouth a few platitudes, show a good, expression of concern on our faces, buy a Prius, drive it around for a while and give it to the maid, attend a few fundraisers and you’re done. Because, actually, all anybody really wants to do is talk about it."
"I mean, haven’t we actually raised temperatures so much that we, as stewards of the planet, have to act? These are the questions that friends of mine ask as they are getting on board their private jets to fly to their second and third homes. [LAUGHTER]"
"Everyday 30,000 people on this planet die of the diseases of poverty. There are, a third of the planet doesn’t have electricity. We have a billion people with no clean water. We have half a billion people going to bed hungry every night. Do we care about this? It seems that we don’t. It seems that we would rather look a hundred years into the future than pay attention to what’s going on now. I think that's unacceptable. I think that’s really a disgrace."

True enough, Crichton is a novelist, not an environmental scientist (though there were indeed other scientists on the skeptic side). But his comments about hypocrisy and priorities make a lot of sense.


Anonymous said...

To cite a sci-fi novelist as a credible commentator on global warming, as our dear leader Mr. Bush also has done, would be laughable if it wasn't so frighteningly misguided. To get sucked in by his logic twists here is unbelievable. Sure, there is hypocrisy in the environmental movement, just as there is in the opposition, but to reduce the argument to finger-pointing and name-calling is ridiculous. More could be done by those who preach change, of course, but to argue the issue based on that point rather than on the science -- which Mr. Crichton, in this short excerpt, anyway, seems unable to do -- is simply childish.

Anonymous said...

Does the previous comment attempt to discredit Crichton because his writings are considered "sci-fi"?

Perhaps if he was preaching global warming doom then his sci-fi status would contribute to him being thought of as "visionary"?