Warming? Cooling? Mongering?

Risking the possible label of "denialist"  (labeling being the favorite human game for supremely prejudicial distinction), I note this article by a reporter who feels he's been had.


Let me back up. Because of manmade global warming, I warned in 1996, that “sea levels could rise as much as three feet by the year 2100 … warming can lead to hotter and more frequent heat waves … stronger and more frequent hurricanes to Hawai‘i … endanger native plants species [and] coral reefs.” These dire predictions came from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Researchers at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia provide much of the IPCC’s analysis and predictions. In November 2009, hackers released thousands of e-mails from the CRU, going back years, and it is these e-mails that reveal the very unscientific, unethical activities I described above.

I feel I’ve been had.

One thing I could not have known in 1996 was that the IPCC’s warming predictions would be wrong. Mean global surface temperatures have not risen since 1998, and, by some measures, have dropped since 2001. The CRU e-mails show scientists trying to hide this decline, to give one detail—I don’t have room in this column to detail the extent of CRU’s shenanigans, nor could I tell the story as well as others

 He hasn't been.  Many scientists acting in good faith have made such errors in the past, and a good many on the peripheries of this scandal spent a great deal of time filtering data and trying to distinguish real information from surrounding noise.  While there is no denying that malfeasance has played a large role in some of the climate change research, it would be unfair and unseemly to tar all the research with the same brush.

Additionally, as I continue to point out--it is entirely beside the point.  The point is, if there are things that can be reasonably done to reduce our impact on the world around us, is it not just wise to do those things and create a more sustainable future?  Who cares if there is global warming, anthropogenic or otherwise, the conditions of our local natural environments are enough to signal to us that they are stressed.  So, warming or not, is it right when reasonable measures can be taken  to prevent harm that we choose not to do so?  It seems to me that this question is actually more interesting and more important than the highly debateable question of which way the temperature is going.

I think the warming crisis is simply being used as the catalyst to propel us to the next level of concern.  As creatures of habit, we tend not to react unless threatened.  And perhaps this threat has galvanized a certain sensitivity to the world around us.


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