Archive for April 1, 2010

A Nuanced View on Global Climate Change

Sometimes our polarized political views on issues like global climate change don’t allow for grey areas. Well, here’s a big grey area- a scientist who thinks climate change is man-made, that pro-warming theorists are full of it, and that there’s not a hell of a lot we earthlings can do about it.

The BBC broadcast an interview this week with the 91-year-old scientist who developed the “Gaia” theory which posits that the entire earth is one, large living organism.

Professor James Lovelock believes, as the BBC puts it:

…the earth’s climate will not conveniently comply with the models of modern climate scientists. As the record winter cold testifies, he says, global temperatures move in “jerks and jumps”, and we cannot confidently predict what the future holds.

He also points out that a cottage industry has emerged of scientists who’ve staked their careers on the premise that they know how the earth’s climate will change:

Prof Lovelock does not pull his punches on the politicians and scientists who are set to gain from the idea that we can predict climate change and save the planet ourselves. Scientists, he says, have moved from investigating nature as a vocation, to being caught in a career path where it makes sense to “fudge the data”.

He also points out that our march to renewable energy sources is admirable and makes business sense, but is not based on “good practical engineering.”

So good luck trying to put a label on this guy.  In a nutshell:

♦ Liberals will applaud that he thinks global climate change is the result of human industrialization.
♦ Conservatives will cheer that he thinks many scientists have developed an agenda and try to twist the facts to defend their notions.
♦ Those in the moderate middle, like me, can agree with his argument that nobody really knows what’s happening out there and that no one can confidently predict the future.
♦ Cynics can nod their heads when he says humans are so insignificant and clueless and the earth so large and complex, that it’s presumptious for anyone to think we could actually “fix” or alter the earth’s climate.

There is, however, one thing Professor Lovelock believes that we can all agree on. He doesn’t know if Earth will adjust or fix itself from whatever we may have done to it, but, ultimately, he concludes that all we can do is:

 …enjoy life while you can.

Amen, Brother Lovelock.