Addressing Climate Change

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On my final day at the Offshore Technology Conference, I attended a panel on climate change. Now, you might expect an oil and gas industry convention would prefer not to discuss the effects of CO2 emissions. But the panel included three scientists who all gave mini-lectures intended to convince the audience that global warming is underway and that it’s the direct result of human activity. The word of the day was “unequivocal.”

If you are the type to believe serious scientists aren’t part of some global leftist conspiracy, the data is quite convincing. However, the panel suffered from a lack of credible skepticism. The only panel member who doubted the “unequivocal” nature of the conclusions was a man named Carl Langner, a climate change hobbyist(for lack of a better word). Not only was he a last minute addition to the panel and thus without a nifty PowerPoint presentation, he also lacked a scientific background, making his remarks easy to discount.

Now, I’m sure a lot of people would say there is no such thing as credible skepticism on this issue because, they would argue, any skepticism is based on corrupt self interest or ignorance. Problem is, there are a lot of people who reject the scientific conclusions, such as Gateway Pundit, who also attended the session this morning and came away convinced the panel was nothing more than global warming religionists.

So how do we move forward? Well, with the Democrats solidly in control, skeptics will likely be pushed aside. But, really, the skeptics’ fixation on proving the science false is just a symptom of the greater issue — namely that a lot of people are concerned that action to reduce CO2 emissions will drastically harm our economy without any serious benefit to the climate.

If those who support combating global warming could drop the moralizing and adopt a “how can we do this without harming business” attitude, we might find more common ground. It’s fine for the President and others to talk about creating “Green jobs,” but we have to make sure we’re not sacrificing the jobs we actually have now for one’s which we may or may not have later.

The science may indeed be unequivocal, but our next step is still up for debate. We can’t let our fear of a warmer world lead us to take rash action. We must balance the total cost, weighing quality of life, employment, economic viability and our climate. We should take action. But we need to make sure it’s the right action.