by Robert Wilkinson
While I usually counsel friends and clients to put a lot of distance between themselves and disputatious people, I also believe that when appropriate we should stand up for what we know is good, true, and beautiful. Humanity is confronting a serious issue unlike any it's ever known before - a climate that's changing globally at a pace that will affect all the Earth's creature for thousands of years. There are those who argue this is not happening. What do we say in the face of such willful ignorance?
This is not a doom and gloom article about the major geological changes already happening on Earth. We can and will adapt to our changing climate, and do what we must to ensure the continuation of life on Earth, just as we've done in other times when our Earth did its changes. However, as we move toward a changing world, here and there we encounter those who will not admit that any climate change is happening due to human technology and behavior.
Once upon a time I was a political blogger. In those ancient days those of us concerned about global warming and how it could play out for Earth and its creatures gave ourselves a name: "the reality-based community." We understood that climate change is real and something we should all be concerned about, since that view is in fact based in "hard science." And yet we heard over and over that climate change is not real, that it's all an opinion of a few scientists who are lying/making money/have an agenda, and were offered many "arguments" supposedly refuting the science around climate change.
Now I'm not one to put all my faith in everything the scientists say, since in some areas they do tend toward self-serving goals. Think pharmaceuticals, alternative therapy deniers, as well as any area modern medicine has chosen not to honestly investigate. And of course, there are scientists whose testimony can be bought.
Climate change science, as it measures countless variables in how the Earth and its waters and atmosphere are changing, is one area of science where I'm inclined to accept the data. Not many scientists go into climate science for personal gain. Plus it's harder to get away with speculation not backed by some form of observed and measured data.
One argument against scientific conclusions about climate change is that climate scientists occasionally "cherry-pick" data. This is not a refutation, since everyone with something to prove does this, whether scientific, philosophical, or even mere gamblers. And it's harder to get away with cherry picking data in this field than in many other areas.
That's because there are so many overlapping fields within the greater field of study, and so there are many vectors of approaching various elements involved in climate change that have been studied. If someone comes up with a set of data that refutes other data, or shows an anomaly requiring a change of a scientific assumption, it's likely to get a hearing at some point. Then the theories are revised or not, depending on the strength of the proof. And sometimes the data overwhelmingly points to certain probable conclusions.
So today I'll give you an interesting site I found called Skeptical Science where the subheader reads "Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism." It has a lot of hard data refuting almost any argument a climate change denier could offer up, and even breaks some of the arguments down into basic, intermediate, and advanced levels of science.
Among the areas addressed are the Sun's effect in causing global warming, whether this climate change is a normal part of a long cycle, is the Earth really cooling, why super storms are really getting stronger, whether the Arctic and/or Antarctic ice shelves are melting or not, the CO2 factor, Al Gore, whether there's consensus or not among scientists and whether a few actually tried to "hide something," cosmic rays, volcanoes, humidity, the Amazon rain forests, rising sea levels, what the 2nd law of thermodynamics says, and the Greenhouse effect, as well as other arguments.
It'll be worth a look, if only to familiarize yourselves with what has actually been measured, and what the official scientific line is on the vast subject of climate change, global warming and all the related areas within these. And of course, in the immortal words of an American Bard, "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows...."
Copyright © 2011 Robert Wilkinson