They call Global Warming skeptics “anti-science.” The term is a misnomer, however, because the skeptics are not actually against science, they are merely skeptical of the claims of its believers. Here are some reasons for their skepticism:
• Apocalyptic forecasts. Future climate forecasts for virtually every region in the world tend to be apocalyptic in nature. If you live in a dry area, it will only get drier. Areas of tremendous precipitation will only get rainier. More flooding will inundate areas prone to flooding; more heavy winter snowfalls will blanket areas traditionally hit with heavy winter snowfalls. Even in the short-term, nothing ever improves. You might assume that growing seasons in Siberia or Canada might lengthen due to warming, and they might receive bountiful harvests for a few decades. Perhaps the Sahara Desert will receive more rain and transform into a more hospitable savannah. Such changes are never predicted. Instead, we hear nothing but catastrophic scenarios. In my opinion, this is intentionally designed to frighten the public into action. It is understandable for politicians to engage in such hyperbole since most politicians tend to stretch or exaggerate the truth but scientists should be above spewing pseudoscience.
• Scientific neutrality. Scientists claim to be neutral, speak only the truth, and are above personal politics. Ironically, this cannot be the case, since I have heard scientists who accept Climate Change label scientists who question Climate Change as dishonest or tools of Big Oil or Big Tobacco (yes, Big Tobacco! They just cannot kill enough children with their cigarettes, so now they want to destroy the entire planet!). Skeptics sometimes point to a late snowstorm or cold spell as evidence against Global Warming. Climatologists, meteorologists, and other scientists denounce such evidence, explaining that one atypical storm or weather event does not disprove a climate theory. They are correct. Unusual local or regional weather incidents and climate are not necessarily connected. In addition, Climate Change will transpire over decades, and may not be observable over a season, a year, or even several years. However, when defenders of Climate Change use that very same storm as evidence to confirm their scientific beliefs, the scientific community is eerily silent. An impartial and honest scientist would be as quick to denounce the latter claim as well as the former. However, their silence, along with the apocalyptic scenarios mentioned above, demonstrates that many scientists are as inconsistent and biased as the skeptical scientists and non-scientists they condemn.
• Climate Change is responsible for everything. Whether it is Tropical Storm Sandy, Hurricane Katrina, or a brutal winter blizzard, all are attributed to Climate Change. A cool day in the middle of summer? A warm day in the middle of winter? Sleet? Wind? Freezing rain? There is no need to accept unseasonable weather, blame God, or even indict “Mother Earth”, because Climate Change is the real perpetrator. Some also attribute tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic activity to Climate Change. Apparently, none of these “natural events” ever occurred before man-induced (anthropogenic) Climate Change. Incidentally, this all-encompassing culpability is the reason they altered the name from Global Warming to Climate Change. It allows its promoters to blame any “act of God”, unwelcome weather, or abnormally cold weather on man’s activities.
• Storm damage and lost lives. Every blizzard, hurricane, or major storm takes a tragic toll on human life. Everyone grieves for the loss of life, and we should continue to do all we can to minimize these seemingly senseless deaths. However, all claims that storms are becoming costlier and deadlier is deceptive. Real estate in general is worth more today than it was decades ago. Buildings and structures also cost more, and construction often takes place in precarious areas, such as flood zones, near earthquake fault lines, or even below sea level near the ocean. In addition, population has increased significantly in a very short time. In the last fifty years, the US alone gained over 120 million more people; Canada and Australia’s population has virtually doubled; the UK added nearly 10 million people; China and India’s populations have swelled by over 600 million each; and the world has added over 4.5 billion MORE people. Any large storm will impose larger monetary damages and tragically take more lives, simply because the cost of real estate has increased and the world’s population has grown.
• Carbon footprint. It is the epitome of hypocrisy when the wealthy fly private jets to global warming conferences, eco-conscious celebrities are chauffeured in gas-guzzling limousines to movie openings and award ceremonies, and performing artists fly and truckload staff and equipment from city to city on a worldwide tour, all the while preaching ecological platitudes during their performances. Perhaps when they heat, cool, and light their mansions with genuine renewable energy sources, and walk, ride bikes, or at least carpool to their destinations, skeptics will begin to believe. Whatever happened to leading by example? Imagine a rally to save a local park from development. Celebrities, politicians, and other speakers lament what would be the loss of pristine beauty. They call for the community to come together and do whatever it takes to save the park. After the rally ends, paper bags, empty water bottles, plastic bags, flyers, and other assorted debris litter the park. Would anyone really believe that the speakers and their supporters were serious? And why is it acceptable to exclude the rich and famous from practicing what they preach, simply by virtue of their position?
• Carbon Credits. This brings us to carbon credits. Paying a company to invest in green energy might be a sound investment; using that investment as an excuse to continue a carbon-profligate lifestyle is duplicitous. Many Climate Change leaders claim to be “carbon neutral” simply because they purchased carbon credits. The easiest way to see if this works is by asking a simple question. What if everyone bought carbon credits, technically became carbon neutral, but continued to live in disregard to their lifestyle? Clearly, this would accomplish very little in fighting Climate Change. We do not possess the technology for the entire world or even entire nations to become carbon neutral. Carbon credits are a way for very rich people to “buy” their way out of altering their lifestyles. This gives the impression of real sacrifice for the cause, and allows them to continue to denounce those who remain skeptical of Climate Change. During the American Civil War, the wealthy avoided fighting in the battles by paying a fee or finding a substitute. They may have contributed to the cause but everyone knows they did not participate in the actual fighting.
• Kyoto Treaty. During the Clinton Administration, the Kyoto Treaty failed to secure even a single vote in the US Senate. Among its many proposals, the Kyoto Protocol attempted to set worldwide standard carbon emissions. Not even “environmental senators” voted for it. Nearly all global greenhouse emission proposals exclude China (the largest “carbon polluter” country) and India, the two most populous countries in the world. The argument against their inclusion is primarily economics. Emission cuts will cripple their economies, leading to an increase in poverty. If this is true for China and India’s economies, it is also true for other countries as well. In addition, proponents argue that those two countries, and Third World or Developing countries, should be exempted, because they did not cause the problem. Culpability lies with the Western industrial countries. Even if this is true, exempting countries from emissions only worsens the problem, since they will continue to emit greenhouse gasses. Is the goal to assuage our Western guilt or save the planet?
• Satellite evidence. Large storms recorded from weather satellites are visually impressive. Experts point to video of huge storms and claim that their enormous size reflects the impact of Climate Change. They make a similar argument with Arctic sea ice. Through satellites, we can now accurately measure the summer meltback of ice each year, and science can confirm that the polar ice cap has shrunk in the past few decades. However, while these observations might indicate a change in climate, according to NASA, the first successful Geosynchronous Satellite was launched in 1964. Polar satellites did not exist until the 1970s. We simply do not possess any satellite data before that time. Thus, from a climate perspective, most of this scientific information and observation, while valid, is very recent.
• Al Gore. It certainly does not help a scientific movement when the person most associated with that undertaking is a politician. No doubt, people hold different opinions about the politics and personality of former Vice President Al Gore. But what is not debatable is that he possesses no scientific training. I would also argue that he does not understand scientific argument or method, and it is unparalleled chutzpah when he questions the scientific expertise of those who disagree with him. If having a former politician like Al Gore as the face of fighting Climate Change does not bother you, then imagine that face is Dick Cheney, Tony Blair, John Howard, Stephen Harper, or even Sarah Palin.
• Transfer of Wealth. It also does not help the cause of Climate Change when there is official discussion at the international level about the transfer of wealth from the wealthy countries to the poorer countries. Remember, the stated objective of Climate Change fighters is to lower carbon emissions worldwide. That goal is sensible and desirable. However, transferring money from one group to another is social engineering, and once again an attempt to placate Western guilt. It certainly has little to do with lowering world carbon emissions.
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