Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Isn't it Okay to Say, "I Don't Know"

From a Rapt Audience, a Call to Cool the Hype - New York Times: "Kevin Vranes, a climatologist at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado, said he sensed a growing backlash against exaggeration. While praising Mr. Gore for “getting the message out,” Dr. Vranes questioned whether his presentations were “overselling our certainty about knowing the future.”...Richard S. Lindzen, a climatologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, who has long expressed skepticism about dire climate predictions, accused Mr. Gore in The Wall Street Journal of “shrill alarmism.”
Some of Mr. Gore’s centrist detractors point to a report last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that studies global warming. The panel went further than ever before in saying that humans were the main cause of the globe’s warming since 1950, part of Mr. Gore’s message that few scientists dispute. But it also portrayed climate change as a slow-motion process.
It estimated that the world’s seas in this century would rise a maximum of 23 inches — down from earlier estimates. Mr. Gore, citing no particular time frame, envisions rises of up to 20 feet and depicts parts of New York, Florida and other heavily populated areas as sinking beneath the waves, implying, at least visually, that inundation is imminent."

Someone, and I do not remember who, recently said that Environmentalism has become a religion. I have felt that way about it too. Friends of mine kinda intimate that I am an idiot if I do not believe as they do that warming is an immediate issue that must be dealt with straight away. My response has been primarily two-fold. First, I don't see Gore as a good messenger. I wasn't fond of him before, and he hasn't done anything to make me more comfortable with him as of late. Secondly, it seems to me that the Earth has gone through many major climate and weather phenomena through the ages that could not have been blamed on industrialization, because there was none. I mean the breaking of the continents and the floods that helped form our beautiful mountains were not a result of human interference. So, while I am a very consistent recycler and very rarely drive, but in a two-seater when I do, I am not yet a true believer in the dire predictions and the immediacy of the problem. I can see that this could be a natural progression (certainly faster as a result of human's impact), that will swing back into a more normal climate era. I really believe the panel that said that climate change was a slow-motion process. That makes a great deal of sense to me. They are not saying that these things are going to happen in the next ten years, for example, they seem to instead have a more reasonable view of how these changes take place. I have to try and find the arguments on both sides that make sense. I have to take part in the effort to be a good steward of the Earth, while still not taking every alarming idea to heart until it makes sense to me and comes from a messenger I can believe in. It seems all of these people agree that humans cause damage to the climate. The extent of the damage and the time frame for the damage to materialize into catastrophe are still what I am fleshing out.

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