Re: Guest column, Sept. 11, “Climate change fear mongering”

The referenced article politicizes that which is nonpolitical. Science has no left facts or right facts or alternative facts. It just has facts.

The referenced article said the “97 percent scientific consensus that warming is man-caused and dangerous has been debunked for several years.” It cited a May 2014 Wall Street Journal article by Joseph Bast and Roy Spencer.

Joseph Bast is the CEO of Heartland Institute known for its advocacy against scientific consensus and includes the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy. Arthur B. Robinson’s Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM), according to Wikipedia, circulated the “Oregon Petition” also known as “The Petition Project.” Signers of the petition back in 2009 urged “the United States government to reject the global warming Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and similar policies. …”

Most of the Bast and Spencer article attempted to discredit scientific consensus sources and offered as its evidence Robinson’s petition. The Wikipedia entry for the “Oregon Project” indicated only 113 of the 31,000 signers were atmospheric scientists and 39 were climatologists. The rest of the signers had degrees in assorted fields that were not necessarily relevant. Given the known anti-consensus stand of Bast, Spencer and Robinson, as well as the extremely small number of relevant expert signers, and the verification difficulties, use of the “Petition Project” serves as flimsy grounds for the debunking claim.

Deciding if climate change is real or just “fear mongering” should be based upon an objective, comprehensive review of the evidence. A great source for such a review is the NASA “Global Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet” website which is both inclusive and fascinating. It includes climate change statements from 18 scientific associations.

If you love your children and your grandkids, now is not a time to “relax.” Now is a time to educate and act. When faced with a difficult decision, wisdom says pick the option that gives you the most options. If we do nothing about climate change and this turns out to be wrong, then our kids and grandkids will pay by living in a less habitable world with more frequent wildfires; longer droughts; and increased number, duration and intensity of storms (NASA website). Sound familiar? If we choose to address climate change with green, adapting policies and mitigating technology, we will probably not stop it but at least we can slow the detrimental impacts to our wonderful earth while creating good, green jobs. If it turns out to be wrong, what is the cost for future generations?

As Pope Francis said, “If you don’t want to see, you won’t see.” Because our brains lead us to believe generally what we already think, I will probably not change minds on climate change, nor will the Pope. I do recommend fact-checking material being relied upon when considering this existential threat. Our kids’ lives depend upon it.

This guest column was written by Karen S. Rhodey, who is a resident of Destin.

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