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Scalia, Clown of Climate Science

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyNovember 30, 2006 4:14 AM


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From my friend Eli Kintisch, reporting on today's Supreme Court global warming hearing:

"We are not asking the court to pass judgment on the science of climate change," said Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General James Milkey in his opening arguments. That may be fortunate for some justices, including Antonin Scalia, who asserted erroneously that global warming occurs in the stratosphere before Milkey corrected him by noting that it was a tropospheric phenomenon. Scalia then confessed his scientific limitations: "I told you I'm not a scientist. That's why I don't want to deal with global warming." That confession didn't prevent him from venturing into some deep scientific waters, however. At one point, Scalia questioned whether greenhouse gases should even be considered pollutants, noting that the resulting carbon dioxide is produced in a portion of the atmosphere not in direct contact with people. Milkey offered a counterexample, noting that Congress had authorized the regulation of sulfur dioxide, which people don't encounter directly but which causes harm after it washes out of the air in the form of acid rain.

P.S.: Thanks to Mike of Crooks and Liars for linking this post and sending lotsa traffic my way....if any of you visitors are interested in the hurricane-global warming and what it means, that's my next big thing.

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