Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr.
As I read about many instances of the immoral exploitation of Katrina’s impacts to advance a political agenda, it seems to me that there is a good opportunity for the media to contribute constructively to this issue. So Prometheus-reading reporters, by all means ask your experts if Katrina is a result of global warming. But don’t stop there. Please also ask the following question:
“If the US (or the world) were to begin taking more aggressive actions on emissions reductions, when could we expect to see the effects of such policies in the impacts of future hurricanes, and how large would those effects be?”
The question of hurricanes and global warming is interesting scientifically, of course, but for society broadly the question is important for the actions that we might take in the future. So please, go ahead and ask the above question and take the question of hurricanes/global warming to its logical conclusion.
Finally, the considerable misuse of science in the case of Katrina should give serious pause to anyone who thinks that the politicization of science is mainly a US or conservative phenomena. It is not.