Striking to see two leading stories, one in the New York Times, the other in the Washington Post concerning the Bush administration's attempts to mute or silence its own climate scientists with regard to global warming.

The Bush administration is likely to be judged as amongst the worst in American history if not the absolute worst (although its certainly a front runner for that position at the moment), and its stubborn refusal to acknowledge the seriousness of climate change will be among its most heinous faults.

Paradoxically, though, I think there is relatively little it can do about it now. The main industrial growth regions are no longer the in the US but in emerging economies such as those of China and India. It will take drastic and essentially unpalatable actions by those governments to throttle back – a very unlikely occurence.

But we may be past the point of no return in any case. The current warming of the Canadian and Russian permafrost will lead to a large infusion of marsh gas (methane) into the atmosphere. This greenhouse gas will accelerate change.

Human beings are going to be challenged with adaptive stresses on a vast scale. It is likely that some will survive. Less certain is the fate of the rest of the flora and fauna of this planet, much of which is already lost and continues to be so.

Not cheerful thoughts.

Consider this quote from Andrew C. Revkin's NYT article:

"The fight between Dr. Hansen and administration officials echoes other recent disputes. At climate laboratories of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, for example, many scientists who routinely took calls from reporters five years ago can now do so only if the interview is approved by administration officials in Washington, and then only if a public affairs officer is present or on the phone."

Sounds rather totalitarian, doesn't it?