Cool Down, Climate Alarmists and Skeptics!
Choose one of the following: Life as we know it on Earth is coming to an end! Or, an entire scientific field is engaged in a giant conspiracy along with the media to perpetuate an enormous hoax on everyone!
Hyperbolic sentiments embody the blinding heat and viciousness of the current frenzied brawl over global warming.
You’re either with us or against us. Nuance? Please. There is no such thing. You must choose one extreme or the other, and become either a heretic or a hero. Choose wisely.
Given that there is no possible scientific benefit from this political impasse, is there a practical way we can work toward a détente? Here are a few ideas.
Everything starts with the researchers who propose their theories on climate change. They, like all scientists, must be absolutely forthcoming and transparent about admitting the limitations and uncertainties in their work. That is often not the case. Climate researchers often try to portray more certainty than their models actually allow.
As brilliant physicist Freeman Dyson has pointed out, models don’t incorporate individual clouds. Others don’t factor in biological activities on the surface of the Earth. This isn’t a knock on climate research; it’s simply impossible to design a perfect model. And even if a perfect model could be theoretically constructed, the computer power required to run it would be far too great.
As a result of this inherent uncertainty, the scientific community – and science journalists – must listen to criticism and healthy skepticism and reply with fact, not insult those who disagree.
Also, science journalists need to stop reporting every weather event as if it is tied to climate change. Any randomly selected storm is not necessarily caused by climate change (or lack thereof), and we need to stop using these events as “evidence.” This problem is exacerbated by the media’s eye for scary, calamitous doomsday stories and political agenda.
Furthermore, every effort should be made to separate climate science from climate policy.
Having said all that, the skeptics need to cool down too.
Those outside the field should not demonize the scientific establishment, which is trying to uncover the truth, not scheming en masse to pull wool over peoples’ eyes. Angry, insulted researchers (and journalists) whose work has been trashed out of hand are likely to denigrate detractors and feel the need to hide the uncertainties in their work.
As conservative commentator Charles Krauthammer –himself a climate change “agnostic” – has worried, it likely is not good to dump lots and lots of CO2 into the atmosphere. It is worth considering the potential consequences of human activities on the Earth and to take action if necessary.
Most scientists (except for some bad seeds) are not fundamentally driven by a political agenda. Their original goal was not to crucify the coal industry or shut down global business.
Thus, in my estimation, the real blame for this pointlessly poisonous situation lies with the media. Their endless search for controversy has resulted in our toxic political climate.