Today’s Lincoln Journal-Star has a classic Letter to the Editor, where the writer tries to debunk the concept of global warming. These are the sorts of letters that both amuse me (ignorant people are funny) and scare me (there are a lot of ignorant people out there). The writer of this letter follows the Global Warming Non-Believer Checklist pretty thoroughly:
- Attack Al Gore. Check. Here is an inconvenient truth: having Al Gore as one of the main voices of climate change does as much damage as it does good., due to his political history. Side question: Do you think these folks would still disbelieve if “An Inconvenient Truth” has been produced by Dick Cheney or Dan Quayle?
- Cite a Nobel Prize winner who does not believe in global warming. Check. Fortunately, our writer cites a Nobel winner who won for science (physics, in this case) as opposed to somebody who won for literature, peace, or something else not related. That said, a quick Google search will tell you that this particular winner did not win for anything related to the global climate. While our Nobel Laureate is likely a very smart man, his denial of global warming is a little like a neurosurgeon arguing with a mechanic over why the car won’t start. You may know, but I’m going to trust experts in the field, thank you very much.
- Cite a scientific sounding study/poll/website. Check. The writer cites an online poll of 31,487 “scientists” who all say global warming is bogus. Gosh, that sounds might definitive until you look at the criteria for signing – “formal educational degrees at the level of Bachelor of Science or higher in appropriate scientific fields”. Those “appropriate scientific fields”? They include Mathematics, Astronomy, and Political Science (that last one is made up). I’m guessing that if the internet had existed in the 1400s, tens of thousands of scientists would have “signed” an online petition stating the world was flat and you could fall off the edge if you got too close.
- Make reference to unseasonably cold weather/lack of extreme heat. Nope. I’m guessing the writer would have loved it if it was 10 below and snowing when he wrote his letter. Instead, it’s 50 degrees in the middle of December – which means the inch of rain we have received in the last 24 hours should be a foot of snow. Now don’t get me wrong – an unseasonably warm day is not a signal of global warming, but I’m still guessing the writer was bummed by the forecast.
Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter if you believe in global warming or not. The bigger question is: do you think the amount of pollution, waste, and reliance on fossil fuels is a good thing for the long-term health of our planet?
Look: I’m not scientist – even by the standards of the online petition (Bachelor of Journalism) – but it doesn’t take a scientist (or even a college graduate) to know that a couple of hundred years of burning fossil fuels in ever-increasing amounts is going to have an impact.
Surely, it cannot be good.