Climate change is a fact, but that doesn't mean the discussion should be closed.
It’s not often that a column in the New York Times causes the heads of those on the left to explode, but the debut piece from conservative writer Bret Stephens suggesting we should not just blindly follow along with the climate change activists’ recommendations certainly struck many a nerve.
Full disclosure, I am not a climate change denier, and I fully believe the climate is changing and that humans and the industrial revolution are part of the problem. I also believe the climate of the Earth has changed many times over the eons, with absolutely no human intervention. I will have nothing to say that will deny the science behind the findings on climate change, but I will question some of the conclusions drawn and the motives behind them.
I’m sure many will ask; how can you question “settled science” when it pertains to climate change? Well, the term “settled science” itself is troubling to me, and it should be to anyone with an open mind. If history has not proven anything else, it has shown that science is only as good as its next discovery. It seems almost daily a new finding turns what has been accepted as scientific fact on its head, either proving the prevalent theory was not correct, or showing that an alternative set of events could have been possible.
What makes climate change so dynamic is most of the conversation is about what will happen in the future, admittedly based on what has happened in the past. But all the dire predictions are modified with this one statement, or one similar to it, that being, “if all conditions remain the same.” Another lesson learned from history is that all conditions never remain the same.
A statement such as the world has warmed by one degree in the last 50 years would indicate that in 2117, the world’s temperature will be three degrees warmer, if all conditions remain the same. I can also predict that, since I haven’t died in the last 50 years, I will be still around in 2067, if all conditions remain the same. Neither of those statements are true because all conditions will not remain the same.
The best evidence we currently have may suggest that the world will indeed be three degrees warmer in 2117, but it is still just a prediction, and not a “settled science,” amazingly because conditions will not remain the same.
Ironically, environmental activists are doing their cause more harm by making these dire predictions about the distant future. One, because the general public typically doesn’t get excited by 100-year predictions of doom, and two, because they remember similar type predictions from 25 to 30 years ago that failed to materialize, because conditions did not remain the same.
We, as citizens of the Earth, should definitely be working towards reducing emissions and greenhouse gasses, and taking steps to save the world’s resources, but it can’t happen overnight. There must be viable and adequate replacements for these resources to continue to support the world’s economies before we can discontinue their use. To save the planet by causing mass starvation and hardships on its inhabitants is counter-productive.
What would happen if we immediately banned the use of gasoline and diesel fuel? Food prices would skyrocket, as farmers could no longer cultivate and harvest their fields, and there would be no means of transportation to get the food to the cities and towns that depend on rail service and trucks.
I am not advocating the denial of climate change, but it is more complicated than either side will admit, and failing to listen to others with differing opinions and strategies only make the issues harder to deal with.
If you believe in “settled science,” you have no reason to continue to research, because you already have all the answers. That would mean that new evidence to the contrary would be ignored. That would be a real tragedy, because, as we discussed earlier, conditions do not remain the same.