standing Letters

There have been several letters in recent issues of The Sun addressing climate change. I presume the writers do not doubt that the weather is changing. One need only look at the world’s weather to see the unprecedented extremes of droughts and floods, heat and cold, fires and hurricanes, as well as the breaking of the temperature records virtually every year for the last decade or two to accept this premise. The conflict ultimately centers on the role of human activity in causing and exacerbating this trend and the outcome of this trend on the earth and its population (both human and non-human).

The logic used by climate deniers displays their lack of knowledge and understanding of science and the scientific method. For example, they point out that predictions of the time to the so-called “tipping point” have been wrong. Yet if the tipping point is in 10 years, or in 30 years, or in some other number of years, is inconsequential. The difficulty in making a specific prediction as to when an event will occur does not change that it will occur. There is absolutely no evidence that the direction is other than toward its occurring. Their point that some “scientists” believe that human activity is not a factor, or at least a significant factor, in this movement toward catastrophic climate alteration also is inconsequential. As was pointed out by others, at least some of the quoted scientists are not scientists at all. But even if they were, the fact that some scientists doubt a particular thesis does not make that thesis wrong. The scientific method requires a thesis to be proposed and then subject to observation and study to confirm or deny it. When the vast majority of people knowledgeable about the issue agree with a thesis, they are likely correct. Currently, somewhere around 95% or more of climate scientists agree with the human effects on climate. I don’t doubt that there are some scientists who still hold that human activity is not causing and exacerbating the effects of climate change, much as some scientists denied that smoking caused cancer, or believe that the coronavirus is a hoax, or even that the earth is really flat. But when more than 95% of those with training in this area believe the opposite, that must carry a great deal of weight.

For me there is one more issue that is often not addressed but is important. Who would you hope is wrong? If the climate deniers turn out to be wrong, but their advice is followed, the earth will end up in a catastrophic state and a security and health nightmare. If those of us who believe in human-caused climate change are wrong and our advice is followed, many people may be inconvenienced and others may have to spend more money than they would have liked but the earth can be saved. What outcome would you like to see?

Kenneth Robbins


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