Climate Wars: The Truth

Let’s begin with the preliminaries. The first is that global warming isn’t a scientific theory, it’s a scientific fact. The time for debate has ended. We can still argue over tipping points and the minutia — like when the arctic will become ice free during the summer months, or how much world sea levels will rise by 2050 — but the core truth is as solid as the rock of Gibraltar. Global warming is a scientific fact. We're just dotting the Is and crossing the Ts. Of course, many people, including Canada's Prime Minister and US Senator James Inahofe, have been bamboozled into believing that global warming is a hoax or a socialist money grab, ignoring the fact that conservative governments throughout the world are already vigorously fighting climate change. And many others think that scientists are still engaging in a vigorous debate. With thousands of studies all pointing in the same direction, how is that possible?

Well, we can thank the tobacco companies. In the 1980s, big tobacco paid big money to establish "independent" think tanks and "research" institutes that were charged with confusing the public over the dangers of sidestream smoke. The oil industry saw the way the wind was blowing. But rather than do the ethical thing, and join the fight to slow global warming, most companies took a page from the tobacco industry playbook. The created research institutes and public policy centers — all very official sounding — that are paid to distort and confuse. They aren't trying to disprove global warming; they're trying to convince decent folk everywhere that the debate is still ongoing, and that the scientific community still isn't speaking with one voice. In a nutshell, these groups are paid to lie in a very clever, media-savvy way.

In 2010 a Greenpeace investigation has identified a little-known, privately owned US oil company as the paymaster of global warming sceptics in the US and Europe. The environmental campaign group accuses Kansas-based Koch Industries, which owns refineries and operates oil pipelines, of funding 35 conservative and libertarian groups, as well as more than 20 congressmen and senators. Between them, Greenpeace says, these groups and individuals have spread misinformation about climate science and led a sustained assault on climate scientists and green alternatives to fossil fuels. To make a climate skeptic sputter, you need to as ask him for real evidence — published in a respected, peer-reviewed scientific journal and authored by a scientist with a PhD in climatology — that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 can rise above 450 parts per million (ppm) without affecting global temperatures. No expert will make that claim. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists believe that a global tragedy is drawing nigh.

 

Our parents have been described as the greatest generation. If we fail to act, we will be known as the selfish generation, and our children and grandchildren will remember us for the rest of our days — for all the wrong reasons.


Kemo D. 7

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