Cumberland Times-News


February 15, 2014

Everyone else takes it seriously

Here’s one of the great curiosities of modern U.S. life. We live in an ocean of science — from the science that gives us the internet, to the science that gives us healthier lives through medicine, to a multitude of other influences on our lives.

Yet when thousands of scientists around the world tell us there is climate change, that such climate change is not only observable — for example, glaciers disappearing at unprecedented speed — and that climate change is caused by humans in mathematically demonstrable ways — a vocal minority cry liberal hoax.

The curiosity? That only 47 percent of Americans take climate change seriously, while the rest of the industrialized world takes it very seriously.

Science is math. A scientific proposition or research experiment must be stated mathematically, and that math must be reproducible — not to mention be reviewed by other scientists for accuracy.

Over the past 21 years, out of 13,950 articles on global climate change that were peer reviewed, only 24 rejected human causation. Of the scientists who have commented on global climate change, over 97 percent say it is real and caused by humans.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is made up of thousands of scientists working voluntarily, states a 95 percent guarantee that climate change is caused by humans.

Dr. Roberto Mera writes, “Advances in (computer)modeling also have enhanced scientists’ ability to separate natural causes from human activities’ influence on the climate system. Natural changes alone can’t explain the temperature changes that have occurred over the last 150 years.”

Dr. Richard Muller, a conservative and climate change skeptic, did a two-year meta-study of global warming, partially funded by the Koch brothers, two men who have made billions from fossil fuel and who want to make billions more from the same source.

Muller reported that his study showed conclusively that the world is warming, and that the math had not been manipulated. About the same time, we learned that green house gas emissions in the U.S. had increased another 3 percent.

The IPCC says we have about 15 years to rein in our carbon emissions or face consequences that are anything but pretty.

Why are we slogging along a path to suicide without seriously trying to avoid that suicide?

For one, the fossil fuel industry, led by the Koch brothers, spends millions trying to persuade us that all is well. The greedy few would sacrifice us all for a few more billion dollars. For another, our media is more interested in Bieber’s drunkenness than an issue that threatens to end life on this planet.

Closely related are people like Brit Hume who recently said, “It’s only my opinion,” but there’s nothing to climate change. Brit is no scientist and obviously hasn’t read the science, yet he offers an “opinion” on the science.

Anyone can have an opinion on anything. I can believe the earth is the center of the universe. That’s an opinion. But I can’t support it with any math.

Unfortunately, people like Brit Hume have large audiences who take his unsubstantiated opinion as truth, and that’s dangerous. In this case, his view can’t be substantiated by the scientific facts.

And thus, we are all at risk as we do nothing to address the most serious problem facing humanity.

In closing, let me ask those who will attack this piece — Bill Arthur (“Global climate stagnation real problem facing environment,” Feb. 7 Times-News) and Steve Baker (“Many people make money pushing global warming hoax,” Nov. 15) in all probability — to do one thing.

Offer scientific evidence that refutes global climate change. Big generalizations or opinions without support simply won’t do on a topic this important. Let’s discuss facts and leave the politics out of the discussion.

Craig Etchison

Fort Ashby, W.Va.


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