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Global Warming
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 native peoples.

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 meet.

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?


Anne Mareck
Houghton, MI - USA

About: Student studying rhetorical influence on global warming debate.

Related Viewpoint:

letter Global Warming Jihadists were out yesterday in full force. By Marvin Seibert



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