My friend, colleague and chief editor, John Dodge, has disagreed with me again, this time over global warming. In his blog, John writes, “Where I disagree (with Chuck) is with the suggestion that global warming is a media invention, which he all but says.”
Alright, let’s take a breath here. As you said, John, I didn’t say that. And there’s a reason I didn’t say it: I don’t believe that.
To anyone who’s watched this story unfold over the past 15 years, it’s very, very obvious that global warming isn’t a media invention. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change obviously believes that global warming is a problem. So do the framers of the Kyoto Protocol, along with members of the United Nations, scores of scientific societies, and countless university professors. So, yes, I’m aware the media didn’t invent this phenomenon.
I did write, though, that some of the consumer media stories have gone too far when they’d said the global warming debate is over. I simply don’t believe the debate is over. And, according to our own web site’s poll (in which 62% of respondents said they don’t think global warming is a threat to life on earth), a lot of our engineers don’t believe it, either.
So let’s make it clear: I don’t believe this is a media conspiracy or a scam. And I don’t believe that global warming was carried out by someone lurking on a grassy knoll.
But I still do think that engineers are “show-me” people, and they haven’t seen enough data yet. What’s more, engineers may have their own reasons for being skeptical. Most of us have performed a computer analysis or two, usually on something as small as a plastic cell phone or a car. And we know how hard that can be. So, yes, we’re a little leery when we see results of a computer study of the atmosphere of the entire earth over the next hundred years.
Those of us who are old enough also remember a similar outcry over nuclear power 30 years ago. Remember that? Now, we’re talking about using nuclear power as a solution to global warming. Or how about Dr. Paul Ehrlich’s famous “population bomb” of the 1960s, the one that was supposed to starve hundreds of millions of Americans to death? I don’t see anyone wearing “zero population growth” badges anymore.
So, yes, I believe we should keep an open mind. There are plenty of esteemed meteorologists, atmospheric physicists, and science writers who say the debate is far from over.
I’m just suggesting we listen to them, John.