Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Michael Crichton compares global warming to Y2K

I wanted to give this post the title, "Idiot Interviews Idiot" but thought I should be more specific. Flying home on the plane yesterday I watched a canned news interview by John Stossel of ABC's 20/20 program. Stossel is famous for reporting fake test results saying organic food was dangerous on the 20/20 program, was allowed to keep his job, and now is interviewing Crichton, who makes up bookful of fake information in denial of global warming in his novel, State of Fear.

I decided to write about the interview when I heard Crichton say that just as Y2K turned out to be no big deal, global warming will turn out to be no big deal. A number of denialists say global warming is overrated, but the irony is that they're most likely to be right if no one listens to them. The low end of the temperature range for the increase predicted by the scientific consensus depends on a small increase in greenhouse gas concentrations, while the high end results from more "business as usual" increases. (Note: reasonable confirmation at that site, but I'd like to find a better information source). This is what makes Crichton's comparison to Y2K so ironic - the reason why Y2K turned out well was the massive preparation involved in fixing the computer glitch. Fortunately, Crichton wasn't spouting nonsense about ignoring Y2K in the late 90's, or we might have been less prepared. Too bad he couldn't just stay quiet. Or take me up on my global warming bets.

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