I really must salute the Gazette for sustaining the climate change debate.
Most newspapers would have got bored and moved on, stating something like ‘this correspondence is now closed.’ But you are staying with it, perhaps recognising that it is probably the most important issue facing our future, other than the danger of a global viral pandemic or an asteroid strike.
However, sorting the valid from the invalid claims about climate change is no easy matter.
Take, for example, your recent letter from a ‘Rational, intelligent and well-educated woman ... with an open mind.’
This claim may well be true, but her letter (December 5) provides no confirmation that she has taken seriously any of the mass of evidence concerning climate change, and identifies none of the information sources from which she draws her contentious conclusions, so we cannot judge how credible they are.
Instead, it claims ‘lies, deceit, fabrication, and dishonourable behaviour’ among global warming advocates, who produce reports that are ‘erroneous, scaremongering, and seriously flawed.’ Hang on a bit, what happened to her open mind?
One problem with many letters that oppose the reality of climate change and humans’ responsibility for it, is that they offer very little or no credible evidence to counter the findings of scientific research.
May I make two fundamental points?
1 If sceptics are to convincingly oppose the reality of climate change, they need to offer a similar level of evidence to that on which the recent IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report was based.
For example, chapter one draws conclusions from more than 120 separate scientific research papers and chapter nine uses 1,200. Sceptics cannot possibly muster such a formidable array of evidence, because it simply does not exist.
The IPCC report is surely the most comprehensive collation of scientific evidence ever to have been assembled in human history. It is a stupendous achievement. Yet your correspondent doesn’t even mention having read it.
Further, she attempts to dismiss the chair of the IPCC, saying that he is not a scientist but a railway engineer, rather as if he were fresh from tightening bolts on the tracks.
However, according to wikipedia, Rajendra Pachauri was director of a research body in India, chancellor of a university which is described as ‘exploring the frontiers of knowledge’ and chairman of an international research institute at Columbia University.
Stating that he is (merely) a railwayman is a typical ploy of climate sceptics – that of being highly selective with the truth.
2 Whether or not you believe in climate change is irrelevant. Belief has no part to play, other than to undermine public confidence and sap the will of governments to do something about it.
Believing the Earth is flat doesn’t stop it being round.
Having dismissed climate change, your correspondent does at least recognise that ‘any potentially damaging emissions should be reduced’ and that ‘this debate needs to be put aside’ so that we can focus on the issue of wind turbines.
Fair enough, we can acknowledge the reality of climate.
Call for evidence change but still oppose the erection of turbines in beautiful landscapes.
Personally, I think they are rather elemental and magnificent, and can make a landscape feel even wilder, but I entirely appreciate that living in their vicinity is probably no treat, and that many people dislike them.
That doesn’t justify or necessitate a denial that climate change exists and must be managed, as far as possible and as a matter of urgency.