Like most good liberals, I am very concerned about the environmental impact of our deeply profligate and wasteful consumption patterns, especially in a country whose energy policy is dictated by Texas oil men heavily indebted to fundamentalists who look forward to the End of Days like it was Coachella. However, being a layman of the non-scientific sort, I am easily confused -- when I read articles about how all the Alpine glaciers could be gone in the next 50 years, or the fact that the gulf stream may be stopping, how do I really know this is mankind's handiwork, and not just normal fluctuations in environmental conditions like Michael Crichton would have us believe?
That's why I'm happy when science types like our good friend The Disgruntled Chemist explain the debate in a way that we scientifically challenged can understand:
How people can continue to deny that global warming is a fact is absolutely beyond me. Glaciers are melting, migration patterns are changing, and not one single peer-reviewed journal article has disputed this. One guy did a survey of 900 articles in peer-review journals; 75% agreed that human activities are responsible for global warming, 25% drew no conclusion either way, leaving...hmmm..carry the seven...ZERO % of almost one thousand articles denying that anthropogenic climate change is happening. All of the people who do so are either funded by oil companies, working for the Bush administration, or looking for some attention.Well I guess that explains Michael Crichton.
Believe me, these people are out there, and they do an incredible disservice to the entire world by making it seem like there is no scientific consensus on global warming. There is, and it's that global climate change is a big freakin' problem. That first article is especially egregious...the quote that "[n]obody knows for sure" what the effects of pumping more CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is bullshit of the highest order. People do know: it will warm the climate. No serious scientist disputes this.Thanks, Chemist, for alerting us to the charlatans amongst us, and for reassuring me that when I fly into LAX and worry about that thick layer of noxious smog that common sense still counts for something.
Update: Over at Arse Poetica ae is wondering much the same thing.
(photo courtesy Stock.xchng)