The letter by Michael John Wills on Feb. 23 about global warming inspired me to write.
I am not a denier of global warming, but neither am I a believer; perhaps, I could be identified, like a well-known author, as an “Agnostic” – a person who doubts the possibility of ultimate knowledge in this area of study. Wills attempted to insult a previous letter writer, John Donnelly, (unsuccessfully) by guessing what TV station he watches and then insulted leaders of the fossil fuel industry for, in his opinion, knowingly endangering the planet.
There remains much to be discussed on the “global warming” question, and it would be great if these discussions addressed differences of opinion and not the intelligence or the motives of others.
Like most believers, Wills uses the word “consensus” in describing scientific opinion on the subject, so I will quote what Michael Crichton (author, Harvard graduate, doctor) said in a speech to students at the California Institute of Technology:
“There is no such thing as consensus in science; science is one scientist being right.”
He went on to say that if someone mentions “consensus” in science, grab onto your wallet.
While it is true that most scientists who have spoken out on the subject support the concept of global warming, many are dependent on grants given to them to prove global warming is happening. One of the strange things about the global warming believers is the approach they use to advocate their position. The approach includes: manipulation of data, suppression of contradictory data, intimidation of scientists who disagree with them, sometimes through efforts to get them fired, and one of least attractive methods of all, perhaps first invented in Germany during the 1930s, tell the lie over and over again, louder and louder, and it becomes fact. The lie in this case is that the issue is settled and anyone who disagrees with that is either stupid, crazy or greedy.
Earth has warmed and cooled over and over again. During warming trends, agriculture output increased, populations grew, and great advances in civilization were made. (Think the Renaissance).
During cooling periods, agricultural output shrunk as well as populations, and war and the plague ravaged civilizations.
A study a few years ago estimated that many lives would be saved each winter if the United Kingdom warmed a few degrees, and the people in Boston might be happy to add a few degrees right now in their great city.
Most of the predictions of global warming are based on models, none of which has been proven accurate so far. Wills states that it is estimated that by 2030, the global average temperature will have risen 1 degree from 1990. His source is, no doubt, a model. I am reminded of the map of models shown by the news media when a hurricane is in the Atlantic.
One model might show the hurricane hitting Wilmington, N.C., while another shows it hitting Bermuda. Citizens and commuters in New York City were very angry recently when the city closed schools and shut down public transportation because of the great storm soon to arrive – though it missed.
If we cannot predict weather a day ahead of time, how can we assume we can predict weather 16 years from now?
The day has to come when the believers stop claiming it is global warming when it is warm and global warming when it is cold. They also need to understand that if a hurricane hits the coast, it is not because of global warming, and their predictions of bigger and more frequent storms are just scare tactics. Tell it to the Spanish sailors 500 years ago or the city of Galveston.
More honest research needs to be done, and scientific limitations must be recognized. If the research is honest and the debate respectful, we can eventually determine if there is a problem and if there is, solve it by working together.
The writer lives in Georgetown.