Saturday, February 10, 2007

Letter to the globe re AGW

I wrote the following as a letter to a writer at the Boston Globe

I was really shocked to read the following in your column, “ I would like to say we're at a point where global warming is impossible to deny. Let's just say that global warming deniers are now on a par with Holocaust deniers, though one denies the past and the other denies the present and future.”

This is simply not true. (What is denying the factuality of future events? They haven’t happened yet so theories that claim to describe them can’t be true or false) (note: the theory could be, but we couldn't tell until the future occured) However, the differences in evidence for the two events is instructive.

I have seen movies of the newly liberated camps, the corpses of those who died after liberation stacked like wood. I have meet survivors of the camps, my friends and relatives have meet others. I have read in part, the record and evidentiary documents of the Nuremburg trials. I have meet some of the prosecutors, doctors, and guards who served at Nuremburg and who spoke with the perpetrators. The holocaust undeniably happened. It is a fact of history.

The theory of human caused global warming is an opinion. While I am a non scientist, I have meet scientists, (none employed by the oil industry) who do not believe the earth is getting warmer. I have meet ones who are unsure if the earth is getting warmer. I have meet ones who are sure the earth is getting warmer, but are not at all sure that it is cause by humans. I have meet ones who believe it is getting warmer and that humans caused it. Is this consensus? (Leaving alone the value of consensus in science)

I am of course, not a scientist, but as a citizen of the Republic and as a human being, I take my responsibility to keep abreast of the debate on global warming seriously. I try to figure out what would be happening if this or that explanation was true. What I have read and observed leads me to believe that the earth may be getting warmer, but it may not. The cause (if there is global warming) is to my mind far from clear. CO2 is undoubtedly a greenhouse gas, but is it the cause of the warming that has been observed, (which is far from global by the way, mostly observable in the northern hemisphere) that is not certain. As I say, I am not a scientist, but I am trying to figure out what is going on.

From the above, I conclude that we need to spend a great deal of money on research to figure out what is happening. (I also recommend real estate investment in more northerly climes as a hedge against the possibility of global warming)

I am not impressed by a political statement that is allegedly based on a scientific document that has yet to be released. (Why weren’t they released at the same time? Desire to make the later conform to the former?) The fact that the report is released by the UN and under the approving sponsorship of 100 governments makes me the more nervous. The UN and governments have a huge interest in finding warming. It gives them a reason to expand their power. Have we learned nothing from the 20th century? Then there is the whole religious angle, global warming lets atheists (of which I am one) get in on the whole fire and brimstone act. Also look at the very real religious aspects of the environmental movement and look at its historical roots in the 20s and 30s.

The last thing that I want to say (which I hope you will not take to personally) is that while I am now a law student, I was for three years (Nov. 2000- Nov. 2003) a reporter. I saw the crap that came into the newsroom from all sorts of organizations in their press releases. I, trying to sort the wheat from the chaff would do a quick bit of research and call up the sender and ask a few critical questions. While most senders were full of it, three groups stand out in my mind, corporations, governments and environmental groups. The last were by far the worst offenders. They had the most slender evidence and made the most of what they had. I can’t be alone in this experience. Why, when a document (basically a press release) that is produced by a collaboration of governments and the environmental movement comes out, is meet with so little critical examination?

Very Sincerely Yours,

Stephen W. Houghton II

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