In the course of my day I engage in conversation a variety of people of different political persuasions. Some are willing participants and others, by the nature of their circumstance, become “captive” audiences in the literal and figurative sense of the word-often times to the chagrin of my wife.
A frequent topic is global climate change. Surprisingly I find that, despite the consensus of the majority of scientists throughout the world, a few people are still not convinced that increasing CO2 levels are driving global climate change.
Unfortunately this group of naysayers includes our own Senator Robert Bennett, who on one hand admits climate change is happening but on the other hand opposes a sensible solution to deal with the problem.
As a concerned citizen I often write to our elected representatives and in return I receive their respectful replies. I get the usual opening remarks thanking me for my letter and their appreciation for hearing from me and welcoming the opportunity to respond.
Their responses at times are disingenuous and distortions of fact. An excellent example is my recent response from Senator Bennett who is opposed to the proposed Cap and Trade regulatory bills under consideration. This legislation intends to use a free market based solution to regulate green house emissions in order to slow the very real global warming of our planet.
Senator Bennett writes that he is hesitant “ to impose such strict measures when the effects of manmade emissions are not yet clearly understood.” Mr. Bennett supports this half truth by referring to his conversations with “ experts at several of the Departments of Energy’s national laboratories who have validated and researched the climate change models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessment reports.”
Senator Bennett finishes with his conclusion that the “science surrounding the effect of human green house gas (GHG) emissions on the global climate is still unsettled, and additional research is still required.”
For those of you who may be persuaded by our senator’s internal logic let me point out the common sense logic that rational adults use in refuting these types of arguments.
First, the overwhelming global consensus of scientists is that man made GHGs are driving global warming. The science surrounding local or regional climate change is unsettled but, as it should come as no surprise, weather forecasts are too and both use computer modeling to make their predictions.
In virtually every field of science one will find dissenting viewpoints, deliberate manipulation of data and conclusions based on the incorrect use of statistics. An example of this is within the medical sciences wherein reviews of the peer reviewed literature reveal that 40-50% of the papers have not used the correct statistical approach or tests in the analysis of their experiments. Yet virtually no one questions their surgeons, pediatricians, doctors or pharmacists when they turn to them for their healthcare.
When experiments are repeated thousands of times and the results are the same we have reached a consensus. Such is the state of the science of human driven global warming being the direct result of increasing GHGs.
Finally, the sensible solution which would allow the EPA to regulate GHG emissions through Cap and Trade is already a proven winner. But our Republican Senator’s response is that it’s cost to benefit ratio is unacceptable, conveniently omitting that President Bush Sr. signed into law, as part of the Clean Air Act, a Cap and Trade system that not only succeeded 100% in stopping acid rain but saved the country billions of dollars in the long run. Sounds rational to me.