Warming opinion naive

Published 1:00 am Sunday, December 18, 2011

I grow increasingly tired of seeing the Editorial “Our Opinion” articles about scientific issues on which the writers are clearly unqualified to comment.

Everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, as the old saying goes, but some readers might even think that the “Our Opinion” writers actually know something about the subjects. The article on Dec. 5, titled “Warming” was one of the most egregious of several recent articles belittling and trying to cast doubt on global climate change. Citing such experts as Glen Beck and S. Fred Singer, the writers have tried to paint a totally erroneous view of the observations and reality of climate change.

S. Fred Singer is a paid climate change denier. He has no expertise in climatology, meteorology, or the geosciences, and has never done any research in these areas. Previously he was in the pay of the big tobacco companies, actively denying any link between smoking and cancer. Singer and two other prominent physicists formed a triumvirate of deniers, “merchants of doubt,” available for purchase by corporations and shadow foundations to promote “denial” of anything that was deemed anti-business.

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I recall hearing rumors at “energy resource” conferences 15 years ago that you could get a direct payment of $10,000 (which was later increased to $25,000) for publishing a paper that cast doubt on the science behind climate change, and specifically the human footprint-induced aspects of the changes.

Global warming is just one component of climate change; but in many ways, it is the most important, because it is the energy source driving the changes. The sentence in the “Our Opinion” article, “at someone else’s expense could be the theme of the global warming movement,” is really naive on several levels.

Generally most people attending national and international scientific and governmental conferences do so as paid delegates or as a legitimate aspect of their research grants. The terminology “global warming movement” implies an equivalence or similarity to a religious or a political or a cultural “movement.”

Global climate change is the focus of intense research and an overwhelming scientific consensus, among diverse scientific disciplines and scientific practitioners on every continent. These scientists are employed by universities, private research institutes, and government agencies (including the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense).

Dwain Butler