By Anne Mareck
June 25, 2006
On June 23, 2006 Marvin Seibert wrote "Remember Global Warming
is a religion not Real science, but Junk Science!"
Such statements are deeply dismaying. As a resident of Alaska
since the early '70s I am well aware of the effect of global
warming on the Arctic and subArctic, as are most Alaskans, especially
Statements by individuals such as Mr. Seibert are dangerous because
they work to convince the public that perhaps global warming
might be a hoax, a liberal plot, a political ploy.
In fact, the research on the relationship between global climate
and human activity might be seen as having begun in 1826 when
the French scientist calculated the temperature of the earth
and found that it should be frozen solid. He suggested that it
must be the atmosphere which held in heat like a blanket. A few
years later the Irish scientist John Tyndall discovered that
"coal gas" held in the sun's heat like a pane of glass
(remember Tyndall lived during the massivly polluting time of
the industrial revolution and). In 1896 the Nobel laurate Swedish
chemist Svante Arrhenius calculated the amount of CO2 emitted
by industry of the time ((remember that the human population
of the earth at the time was only 1 billion people)) and found
that it was possible for human activity to raise global temperature,
through the burning fossil fuels (coal gasses, so to speak) and
the burning of wood.
Of course, since then the earth's population has risen to 6 billion
and our consumption of fossil fuel and wood has increased porportionally.
As well, climate research has improved and contined and the conclusions
remain basically the same--human use of fossil fuels is changing
the earth's climate. But while the good, hard evidence for this
trend is massive--still the general public, in the US, wants
to believe it is a hoax. This may be due to the public's unfamiliarity
with how science works, especially the concept of "certainty."
Scientists are unlikely, if they are good, reputable scientists,
to say that anything is absolutely certain. There are always
circumstancs that may effect an outcome, thus bringing an element
of "uncertainty" to any conclusions.
For example, I cannot say, with absolute certainty, that I am
going to the store to pick up some milk and that I will be right
back. Why? Because I may have a car accident on the way; or a
heart attack; or another emergency may arise which distracts
my attention; or the store may be closed for unexpected reasons;
or the store may be out of milk. Most statements must be understood
to have an element of "uncertainty" And such uncertainty
is what good scientists know and recognize in their work.
At this point, such a huge mass of good, well-considered scientific
evidence on climate science has been done, that climate change
among the reputable science community, is a given. Yet still
the public wants to think it is a hoax. Statemnts by such individuals
as Mr. Seibert are dangerous and immoral. The time for all of
us to take action on climate change is right now. Today. This
minute. Yet this is a global challenge that may be, at best,
immensely difficult for us, collectively, around the world, to
Why would any moral person work against taking action on a problem
that is currently effecting populations in the desert areas of
the planet, and will effect our children, and their children,
and, if we don't do anything but fight about whether or not global
warming is "true" will perhaps, in a few generations,
the end of life as we know it on the planet. What a silly, unnecessary
risk to take. Even if climate change turned out to be less dire
than the global scientific community believes it to be, what
could be the harm in creating a cleaner, safer, more sustainable
way of life?
Mr. Seibert, I really don't understand why you would write such
a statement. I suggest you read the direct reports, in the original
professional scientific peer-reviewed journals, I suggest you
investigate the scientific principle of "uncertainty"
and why it exists and what it means. I suggest you think about
the quality of life your children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren
will likely face if views like yours prevail in the public conscience.
The Iriquois people believed that an elder's moral responsiblility
in all decision-making was to consider the effect of that decision
on the seventh generation to come. Do we not care about our grandchildren?
Houghton, MI - USA
About: Student studying rhetorical
influence on global warming debate.
Warming Jihadists were out yesterday in full force. By Marvin
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