This guest posting was submitted to a local newspaper recently in response to an opinion piece entitled “Why Dismiss Dissent” by right-wing ideologue Peter Worthington. While the said newspaper declined to publish it, I am happy to give it space here:
In this article, Mr. Worthington parrots the usual climate change-denying arguments and pseudo-science: Humans are too insignificant to cause climate change; carbon dioxide is our friend; climate change is a conspiracy by poor countries to dupe rich countries into giving them money; etc. What Mr. Worthington fails to do is address any of the vast body of research which shows convincingly that the earth is warming quickly and beyond normal variations. He also entirely fails to mention that virtually all reputable climate scientists from around the world and across numerous scientific disciplines agree that global warming is real and threatens humanity’s future, that it is caused by human activity and industry, and that the need to change this constitutes an emergency. While there are still some details of global warming which spark debate between serious scientists (i.e.those scientists who use their skills to look for the truth and not to promote an agenda), the basic facts have been settled. Moreover, despite Mr. Worthington’s claims, there is really no believable way in which all these diverse scientists from around the world could be conspiring to deceive the world into accepting global warming as real when it is not. And what would be the point? They don’t stand to gain anything and would actually stand to lose a great deal by lying. On the other hand, most prominent climate change deniers have either demonstrable links to organizations whom the status quo benefits (oil and coal producers, etc.) or, as with Mr. Worthington, to right-wing lobby groups who are funded by these organizations. One has to ask which group is more likely to be trying to deceive the public.
The situation is this: We are all on the Titanic speeding through the North Atlantic night. Someone has just spotted what looks like a very large iceberg dead ahead and we are bearing down on it fast. The crew begins rushing to avoid the collision but the ship owner shows up and begins shouting that we should all stop and discuss this first. Maybe the iceberg is smaller than it looks, or further away. Maybe the ship could survive the impact. Maybe the ship can turn faster than we think. Maybe turning sharply will cause some passengers to fall out of bed andsue the ship owner. We should probably just wait and see what happens.
Does this approach make ANY sense?
Mr. Worthington, given the relatively small long-term cost of changing our
greenhouse gas-emitting ways and the absolute catastrophe which awaits humanity if
scientists are right about climate change, isn’t your recommendation for continued
inaction kind of irresponsible?