Monday, February 28, 2005

A typical academic
Bernard Gui is a character in Eco's "The Name of the Rose", but he was also a real person who lived in France in the 14th century. I recently came across
this description of his life, which makes it clear that he was an intellectual
whose career path was similar to that of many modern day academics:

Due to Bernard Gui's health, intellect, and communication skills he was chosen to first study logic in his earlier years, then philosophy where he read commentaries about Aristotle. ... Bernard Gui went on to study theology, became a history writer, helped to build the first library in the province of Toulouse and finally was made inquisitor of Toulouse.
What modern academic would turn down such a choice position?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree that many people overstated the benefits and justification for Kyoto. But I don't see it as rising to the level of fraud. Rather, in any political process people tend to sell their side of the story as strongly as possible. One might as easily cry fraud over the arguments of skeptics.

Further, Kyoto proponents were right. As you note, the consensus has grown even stronger for a human role in warming. Even since the last IPCC report, it has continued to increase. The people who oversold Kyoto were ahead of the evidence, but they were right. Generally we respect people who are right before everyone else, we don't disparage them as frauds. This is society's way of rewarding and motivating people who bring us early truths.

A well known climatologist told me that he supports Kyoto even though it won't have any effect. The real purpose is to get a process going and create precedents and mechanisms for international cooperation on the issue. The point is not the specific Kyoto reduction targets, the point is the structure which Kyoto has created for monitoring the situation and motivating compliance. Once this is in place, it is a tool which can be used for more substantial and meaningful reductions in the future. And these reductions will in fact have an impact on climate.