I am both insulted and amused by my inclusion in the “vacuous political and pseudo-science class” and, regretfully, I have not participated in colloquiums sponsored by MENSA, a vacuous pseudo-science class if ever there was one. However, the scientific debate over global warming should not be trivialized and the gross misstatements printed need to be corrected.
The assertion that there is no scientific consensus on the increasing CO2 content of the atmosphere and the warming of the earth’s atmosphere is simply, and emphatically, completely false. While it is certainly true that there are dissenting scientists, the overwhelming majority, both American and international, believe that global warming is occurring and that it is largely an anthropogenic (manmade) event.
The Oreskes (2009) survey of 928 scientific articles found 75 percent in full agreement with the anthropogenic hypothesis, while 25 percent argued that further study was needed. A total of zero of the 928 articles confirmed the no warming/natural causes ideas.
The latest data from the National Academy of Sciences (2011) found that of the 428 scientists who had published peer-reviewed research articles on climate change in the last five years, more than 97 percent agreed that human-based carbon emissions were a significant generative cause of global warming. The statement that “there is not one shred of evidence” is correct: There are in fact vast volumes of evidence.
The idea that any scientists had made up or “purposefully skewed” their data is also false. In hearings conducted before the British Parliament Subcommittee on Science (and it was British money, not U.S., which funded the research in question), as well as in the findings of the U.S. Department of Commerce and the International Council of Scientists, no falsification of data was found and no retraction of conclusions was required. These scientists did not have the luxury of writing assertions in a local newspaper; they had to defend their research to peer-reviewed boards and in extensive investigation. They did successfully, so it’s time to stop saying they did not.
While certainly politicians and media may provide a distorted and sensationalized view of science, it is irresponsibly false to claim that human beings do not impact the global environment. More than 50 countries who have now passed significant emission capping laws and 22 first-world countries now explicitly regulate CO2 emissions under cap and trade policies. I think the weight of international action indicates, not that the United States is foolishly acting on pseudo-science, but rather that we are foolishly not acting based on real science.
The belief in anthropogenic global warming is not some momentary liberal and unscientific hoax or conspiracy. It is a simple acknowledgment of common sense and theological wisdom.
There are more than 7 billion human beings and we dominate the ecosystem of the planet. It is beyond obvious that those 7 billion impact the environment in which they live and all the anti-governmental and anti-scientific blather in the world will not change our obligation to leave this environment intact and healthy for generations to come.