More specifically, is the perceived upward trend in average temperatures anything other than the normal fluctuations of Earth’s atmosphere? And if so, is it produced by human activity? And if so, what should be done?
I admit that this one feels pretty close to a slam-dunk to me: there is a problem, we’re part of it, and we need to act. That’s an opinion based on casual observation and listening to tons of back-and-forth between people much better informed than myself.
What I’d like to do is remove two groups of opinions on the subject: those coming from the far left, and those from the far right. In other words, information coming out of specifically pro-environmental think tanks MIGHT be considered suspect, and information coming out of specifically anti-regulation, anti-big government think tanks can be considered even more so.
After all, since forces on the Right have screamed that many of the specifically environmental agencies are merely stumping for research dollars, they’ve raised the reasonable specter of greed overpowering honesty. Once you’re entered that into the equation, you HAVE to note that Big Business has plenty of money to spread around, and that scientists who are willing to come out against Global Warming would likely be lathed with cash.
I do know that those who believe in Global Warming seem to have a presence across the political spectrum, but those strongly against it seem clustered on the Right…slightly suspicious to me. In other words, clustered right there with them are people seriously concerned about Government over-regulation, costs to Big Business, and perhaps even Fundamentalists who believe that the Last Times will come.
What disturbs me is the potential penalty for getting this wrong. IF we are disturbing Earth’s climate in a serious fashion and we don’t act appropriately, the maximum penalty could be death for hundreds of millions—or worse. IF we are NOT disturbing Earth’s climate in a serious fashion, and sign treaties and enforce regulations inappropriately, we could disrupt our economy. Maximum risk doesn’t seem to balance here.
So…just for my own peace of mind: who has references from scientists NOT in the paid pocket of either the Left or Right? In other words, not working for specific Right-Wing think tanks, not working for Big Oil or other monied interests, and not working specifically for Greenpeace or other declared environmental radicals.
I’m telling you that when I apply this standard, and just look down the middle, a large majority of what I see are worried scientists from around the world, of many political stripes, who are very, very, seriously concerned.
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Posted by Steven Barnes at 9:41 AM