About a week ago the New York Times printed an article reporting the Earth was hotter over the last three years than previously. This is about “global warming” or “climate change” and is testimony that the phenomenon is happening.
Of course, other more conservative news sources challenge the data. For example, Robert Tracinski (with a varied academic background) in the Federalist reports: “For the benefit of science reporters and other people who are unfamiliar with the scientific method, let me point out that the margin of error for these measurements is plus or minus one tenth of a degree Celsius. The temperature difference that is supposedly being measured is one one-hundredth of a degree—one tenth the size of the margin of error. To go back to sports reporting, that’s like saying that the football is on the 10-yard line—give or take a hundred yards.”
About the same time, California Senator Kamela Harris questioned CIA Director Nominee Pompeo about climate change. Her direction of questioning was based on what she cited as consensus NASA conclusions about climate change making it a settled science. She incredulously wondered if it was “debatable”.
As a counterpoint previously published, Richard Lindzen, an MIT emeritus in atmospheric physics points out that there are both proponents and skeptics regarding the potential for detriment impact from client change in the scientific community. He defines that much of the debate comes from non-scientist based parties who include the media, environmental groups, and politicians. Of course, industry has to be added to this third group. The difficulty is separating out and understanding exactly what is meant by climate change and what the true effects will be over time. It appears to me that much of this useful dialogue is avoided when the constant claim is made that 97% of the scientist agreement that there is climate change and by implication it will be adverse to the interest of all Americans. So what about this 97% of the scientists?
Quoting Virginia Representative Don Beyer, Politifact reviews this 97% conclusion. His specific statement was “Over 97 percent of the scientific community … believes that humans are contributing to climate change.” Politifact concludes that his statement is “mostly true.”
On the other hand Alex Epstein a proponent of fossil fuels writing in Forbes defines a argument where he works at refuting the 97% of scientists argument. His conclusion is “Think about how many times you hear that 97 percent or some similar figure thrown around. It’s based on crude manipulation propagated by people whose ideological agenda it serves. It is a license to intimidate.”
Another article in Forbes written by Earl Ritchie who is currently an academic but previously worked in the energy industry provides a significant survey of the studies. His conclusion is that 97% is not the only number. It may be 80% or 97%, but the essential conclusion is that most scientists believe that human activity does influence climate. My reading of the article suggests the author feels the devil is in the nuances and details of a very complicated subject.
After reviewing the sources I am neither a climate change believer or denier. I really need to understand more. What exactly can we expect from man-made climate change? Also, in the end there should be a clear understanding of who the winner and losers will be from the legislation that is proposed in the name of the 97%. My question is whether the benefit to the winners in money and power are more compelling to some legislators than the 97% claims which have been made. Is this issue more political than scientific because its murky, pending future offers tremendous “leverage” from a prophesied cataclysm?
I am interested in understanding this better, but it is difficult to understand what the projected scientific and economic effects may be in a decade or two. Who are the winners and who are the losers economically? What impact will it have on the ability of a normal American in urban, suburban, and rural settings to live a good and happy life? What will it do for the life of the coal miner or the oil field worker. I hear from friends we will have a wonderful electric future, but will this future be available to the breadth of American populations? Will it be affordable as fossil fuels have generally been?
My experience with science as a rationale includes air regulations. The result has been a curtailment in agricultural burning and prohibiting and discouraging wood stoves. This is touted as a victory for our environment, but based on my experience I am a skeptic about this. It seems to me that other activities such as consistent forest practices including increasing timber production would mitigate against large smoke producing forest fires could serve us better. Because of other “environmental” priorities related to forest preservation this is difficult. As a result, on many a cold night we cannot warm the home with a wood stove, but in the Summer gigantic fires often burn with copious quantities of smoke.
If it were a perfect World we could trust the political community that advances the climate change mantra. The World is not perfect, however, so the various questions I have presented should be fully addressed to enhance transparency about this important matter.