Who among us, if told by 9 out of 10 neurosurgeons consulted that we had a malignant brain tumour, would go home and start surfing the internet trying to figure out how the experts (each with more than a decade of education and training in brain surgery) might be wrong? If we found a website where a dentist or a plumber offered “proof” with statistics that the odds of us actually having a tumour are very low, would we pay any attention to it? Would we then agree to have that plumber or dentist actually perform the surgery?
Not likely! So why is anyone paying attention to the non-qualified climate change denialists – backed by dubious “stink-tanks” – that proliferate on the internet and in the media these days? As Richard Somerville, a distinguished professor emeritus and research professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, recently said:
“Science…does not work by unqualified people making claims on television or the Internet,…The first thing that the world needs to do if it is going to confront the challenge of climate change wisely is to learn about what science has discovered and accept it.”
Rather than focusing on the divisive scientific debate (and I’ll listen to the contrarians that say NASA is wrong when they can prove to me that they can send a person into space), how about examining the risks? We all buy insurance for our house or cars on the off-chance that something bad will happen. When there’s a LOT of qualified people telling us that there is a VERY good chance that something VERY bad will happen, why wouldn’t we decrease the risk? Here’s what the small “c” conservative newspaper “The Economist” says about it:
“Although the benefits of averting that sort of catastrophe are incalculably large, the costs of doing so should not be enormous – as little as 1% of global output, if policy is well designed (see our special report). This newspaper reckons that the world should fork out, rather as householders spend similar proportions of their income on insuring their homes against disaster.”
I’m reposting high school science teacher Greg Craven’s video where he sets aside the contentious debate over the science, and asks “what’s the worst that could happen”?