The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued an assessment report on Aug. 9 stating there are dire consequences coming from climate change which are inescapable, while there are other calamities which may yet be avoided if we (the world) take remedial measures now. It’s important that we all (including those of us who are not scientists) engage in serious conversations about the issue of climate change/global warming.
Such conversations should begin with an understanding of what the earth scientists and physicists are telling us. But, an issue is that many people who are skeptical about whether there actually is a problem think all scientists have the same attitude, all preaching to us about the dangers they see. That’s not correct. Scientists don’t have a completely monolithic viewpoint. While the vast majority are vocal about the dangers we face, there are others who don’t hold that view. Just look up two MIT professors: Kerry Emanuel, who sees great danger in climate change and Richard S. Lindzen, who has said for some time that the stated danger is overblown. No matter the starting point we have, we should look to the views science holds. There are enough scientific viewpoints to give a well-rounded assessment.
What we don’t need is to allow ourselves to be persuaded by folks who don’t have any more expertise in the field than we do. I’ve read that perhaps the most prolific commentator on global warming/climate change has been Rush Limbaugh. His comments were lopsidedly derogatory (all a “scam”; “environmental whackos”). We no longer have his voice, but now many politicians have taken up his mantra. Instead, we very much need to listen to the scientists and learn their viewpoints to help shape our own.
There is one statement, however, which Mr. Limbaugh got right. He said that global warming/climate change, even if it is an actual fact, will not destroy the earth, this third rock from the sun. When an asteroid or meteorite hit millions of years ago, Earth coughed and belched...and the dinosaurs disappeared. If the climate changes enough we may see coastal cities disappear, agriculture cease to feed the people, the polar ice melt, etc. If global warming/climate change causes Earth to cough and belch, while we may not survive, Mother Earth will.
We should all want to educate ourselves properly, for all our sakes.