The Daily Express has printed a shockingly awful front page today, claiming that the current weather conditions prove that Anthropogenic Global Warming is a conspiracy. You wonder whether it's ever worth responding to these things, but on the grounds that a drip will eventually bore a hole in granite, I sent the following :
The Express 'prides itself on strong views and opinions' (unquote). Not truthful or balanced opinions, just strong ones. Unfortunately, when it comes to global warming/climate change, opinions without evidence, knowledge and understanding are just noise.
Unfortunately, the science involves collecting vast amounts of data from many different fields of study and identifying very faint patterns. Like it or not, we and our politicians are in the hands of the scientists who have access to that data and the means to interpret it. Whilst it's possible that 5% of scientists have a political agenda and perverse motivation, it seems a bit unlikely that 95% (in countries across the world with completely different political systems) share in some global conspiracy. I don't understand what they're supposed to be gaining from it if it is a conspiracy. Short term research grants? Is that worth prostituting your reputation for? And why would any politician want to believe the scientists' predictions, given that it creates enormous additional political challenges - on top of all the others? I just don't understand why it's in anybody's interest to spin such a conspiracy.
95% of scientists directly involved in climate studies seem to agree that we are faced with climate change as a result of human-generated carbon emissions. Of the other 5%, from the limited information I've seen, about half are funded by the oil and coal industry. If there is any actual evidence of conspiracy it's in the right-wing 'free market' think tanks and oil industry links to prominent 'deniers'.
I'm not hearing much dispute about the likely consequences if long range climate change is a reality (however it may be caused) - the consequences are extremely severe, not just for the physical environment but for the political chaos it might unleash. Your editorial comment asserts "if global warming is still occurring it is by no means disastrous for this country". So Africa and Latin America can go hang! Brazil and India are rapidly becoming world superpowers - what kind of strategy is that? What might be the implications of 20 million refugees from Bangladesh alone?
Even if only 10% of climate scientists were expressing alarm about AGW we ought to be seriously concerned and taking immediate steps to reduce carbon emissions in case that 10% were right. One thing's for certain, if a warming trend has been established there will be no quick fix.
A 'balanced opinion' would then report that 1 in 10 scientists believed in man-made global warming - but those odds would be more than compensated for by the extreme consequences of their being right. If I play Russian Roulette there's only a one in six chance of blowing my head off . . . but "on balance", I'd rather not play Russian roulette, thanks.
But in fact more than 9 out of 10 are warning of extremely severe consequences of inaction.
There's nothing clever or 'balanced' about playing Russian Roulette with all but one of the revolver's chambers loaded - and pointing the gun at your baby granddaughter, not your own head. And there is nothing balanced or clever about printing the irresponsible article you have done today.