I have sat on this one for a while. Another left-leaning blog that I frequent, “Pressing the Flesh”, has had several postings singing the praises of Al Gore’s latest theatrical success. One of the implicit arguments seeming to be that as the movie rakes in the dollars, the revenues are seen as votes of support for Gore, and his agenda. Of course, this has two effects. First, it ignores the fact that movie goers typically like a horror flick, and second that by arguing that box office sales equates to support, it keeps people like me away.
All this aside, we could have lengthy discussions about global warming and the impact of mankind on such an event. The debate is stifled though, by statements from media sources such as Earth and Sky radio show, where they state “The result is a warming climate -which no reputable scientist disputes anymore.” By making such a statement. (In all fairness, they backed off of on their website by saying “You’re right. We should not have said “no reputable scientist disagrees.” That is an incorrect statement and too strong a statement. We apologize. We should have said that the vast majority of climate scientists believe that global warming is real and caused by humans.” )
Here’s the problem, however. There are vast numbers of scientists, most with bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, and some with PhDs, that have come out supporting the notion that science has shown that mankind has caused global warming. But then there are those senior scientists, the chaired, full professors at major universities, that are essentially pulling on the reins. They aren’t saying that there isn’t climate change, and they aren’t saying that it might be a warming trend. They are saying that to make a causal conclusion (and thus infer we can “stop” the change) is imprudent.
For instance, Richard S. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT. I think we can all agree that MIT is a reputable science and engineering university, and that being a full professor in Atmospheric Science qualifies one to speak on the topic of climate change. In fact, being a Chaired Professor shows that the university believes him to have demonstrated expert knowledge in the area.
This being said, consider the opinion piece he has written for the Wall Street Journal. In this piece he tackles the assertion from Al Gore that “the debate in the scientific community is over.” Professor Lindzen points out that the debate is far from over. He lists the various bits of data that are mis-represented, mis-understood, or ignored by the “non-scientists” as they seek to achieve policy. What is most striking about this opinion article is that the Professor strikes a tone of balance, and reason. Perhaps this is the tone that should be brought back into the discussion?
Let’s reward scientists for good science, and not seek out those whose findings are the most scary, shocking, or sensational.