Friday, March 11, 2011

Former NOAA Administrator: "Bleak Assessment"

Former NOAA Administrator D. James Baker wrote the following letter published in the March 7 issue of The New Yorker:
Hendrik Hertzberg’s bleak assessment of American climate policy is on the mark, and should be viewed in the context of an even bleaker global scene, in which China and India will continue their rapid economic growth and accompanying emissions (Comment, February 7th). History shows that changes in energy-capital infrastructure take decades; barring a technical miracle, the concentration of greenhouse gases will likely double or triple by the end of the century, bringing a new and inhospitable planet Earth, rife with extreme weather and other climate disruptions. We should do everything we can to produce green and carbon-free economies while at the same time recognizing that there must be a major effort to adapt to this new Earth. It can be done, but it won’t be easy. The ineffective response to Hurricane Katrina shows that even the most developed countries are unable to respond well to extremes of weather. If that is the best we can do, we have much to learn about how to be prepared for the new climate.
Baker was NOAA Administrator from May 1993 to January 2001. According to his biography (scroll down):
Dr. Baker received his B.S. from Stanford University, and holds a PhD in experimental physics from Cornell University. He has held faculty positions at numerous prestigious research universities, and is the founding President of the Oceanography Society. Author of Planet Earth: The View from Space, Dr. Baker has written more than 100 articles on climate, oceanography, space technology, natural resource management and sustainable development.

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