Let's proceed with caution, open minds with climate change
In Our Opinion
The debate over climate change sometimes takes on the sound and feel of an elementary school playground argument.
You remember how it used to go in sing-song fashion. “It is so,” yells one. “Is not,” responds the other. “So. Not. So. Not,” the exchange continues.
Then, as happens when the dispute moves to the monkey bars, out come the personal insults, the mother and father barbs. Such as when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry did when he called those who have not bought into the theory as “flat-earthers.” That of course, is the reference to the pre-Columbus thinkers who thought those who sailed over the distance horizon fell off the earth.
But when those who do not believe the findings of the reported 90-something percent of mainstream climate scientists, and others who report the debate is over and the science is settled, they are branded as “deniers,” a word whose context is anything but respectful.
Enough of the rhetoric. There’s been more than enough of that to go around.
After months and months of the subject surfacing just occasionally, climate change has elevated itself higher into the news cycle recently. Why, when it ranks way down the list of things on the minds of Americans, one can only speculate.
Perhaps it’s partly due to our crazy national winter weather and the emergence of that sinister polar vortex that became part of our language after national news sources from A to Y discovered this term that has actually been around for decades.
An all-night discussion of the subject took place on the U.S. Senate floor Monday, March 10 where over two-dozen Democratic Senators spoke on behalf of climate change, and the pressing concern it is to our nation.
However there is not the consensus behind this subject that members of Congress and the news media might have everyone believe. In 2013, a survey of 1,800 responding members of the American Meteorological Society revealed only 52 percent — not 97 — said they believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Anthropogenic, as Merriam-Webster defines as, “relating to, or resulting from the influence of human beings on nature.”
Last week’s Cheney Free Press editorial contributor, Lu Nelsen, wrote, “Our nation spent nearly $7 billion responding to extreme weather in 2013,” adding such events “highlight the need for action.”
But research from scientist Roger Pielke of the University of Colorado indicate hurricanes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage in the U.S. since 1900.
For every “is so,” there’s quite likely an “is not.” There is no data that’s cast in stone.
So before we charge headlong into the relative unknown of carbon taxes and similar kinds of remedies that someone, somewhere, determined might — that is might — be a solution for something we’re not entirely sold on is a problem, we need to stop and take a breath.
Firefighters carefully craft a strategy before entering a burning building. Police take similar measures when dealing with a person with a gun.
Ask yourself, is taxing our very fragile economy an answer, considering the United States is well behind emerging economies like China and India as generators of greenhouse gases and the harm it is reported to bring?
No amount of carbon taxes imposed here that potentially raise our electrical rates and the cost of a gallon of gas do a single thing to keep the prevailing winds from sending pollution our way.
For 40 years, now, the term Energy Crisis has been in our lexicon. The urgency to wean us from fossil fuels ebbs and flows based on wars, the economy and many other factors. Yet with the amazing minds and problem solvers the world has in its midst, no viable alternative way to power vehicles has broken through the technological and political barrier.
There is a belief that there is a tipping point with a finite amount of space and resources on the planet. What and where that is remains to be seen.
Mother Nature always has things up her sleeves, like the potential for the Yellowstone Super Volcano to wreak instant havoc that would put the glacial pace of any possible rising sea levels to shame.
The earth is an amazing adaptive place. It has recovered from both a fiery and frozen past.
And just as there’s one camp that offers messages of sincere concern, there’s another side who says not so fast.
When it comes to climate change, we should proceed with minds wide open.