The May 3 global warming denial letter by Tom Smiley largely mirrors a year old post to his Uncommon Common Sense blog (The Blog of Truth?). Had he updated his research he might have learned that while the "ad nauseum" claims of a 97 percent consensus on human caused warming have been cited for well over a decade, a new 2018 analysis of tens of thousands of peer reviewed scientific papers now pegs that consensus at 99.94 percent.
As author Mihai Andrei wrote, "At the end of the day, a difference between 97 percent and 99.94 percent is probably not going to sway many people who aren’t already convinced. As with smoking, public opinion is slow to follow the science, and the insidious marketing and lobby machine is working in full gear. Just like the tobacco companies knew about the damage that smoking can do, oil companies have been aware of climate change for decades, but continue to fund denier and pro-fossil fuel media."
Tom cited a 3-year-old debunked article from a business magazine to promote his belief in a stable arctic, when in fact it is one of the most rapidly warming areas on the planet. If Forbes is the go to publication for climate news, let’s at least rely on the most recent reporting that has evolved with the science.
A Snopes fact check regarding the cited "influential" weatherman, John Coleman, revealed that like most climate deniers "much of Coleman’s criticism of climate change dealt with impugning the motives of those engaged in that discipline rather than refuting the science behind their work." Often there will be an accompanying belief in some grand conspiracy of scientists and governments creating "fake science."
Tom's climate letter and blog post both mention the need to understand the "spiritual implications," yet no indication as to what they might be are offered. John Cromartie and Bill Coates were kind to offer their perspectives at the Brenau climate forum. It's a discussion that should continue, and I would value the chance to learn from Tom's concerns, perhaps in his next opinion piece.
Social phycologist Jonathan Haidt reminds us that we have much to gain from striving to understand why common values often are reflected differently in individual lives.
Coates once said, "Loving, accepting communities are of God; isolation and loneliness are not." I believe it is these communities that will be the most resilient in adapting to the challenges of an uncertain future, and I'm optimistic that Gainesville/Hall County will be one of them. We have a foundation of numerous local organizations providing the opportunity for citizens to get involved in so many ways, caring for one another as well as the natural world that sustains us.
Chattahoochee Riverkeeper's annual Wild & Scenic Film Festival at the Brenau Downtown center Saturday will begin with an environmental expo featuring a number of these groups that add so much to our quality of life. Tickets and more information available here.