Columnist a selective contrarian

"It is clear that there has been significant warming linked to burning fossil fuels."

Tom Fletcher’s “Inconvenient truths” (Trail Times, Dec. 1) column was highly selective in its choice of so-called climate “alarmist” examples.

Yes, contrarian examples exist, and can be used to make a point. For example, some glaciers are growing (around seven per cent, compared to more than 70 per cent that are shrinking).

One who would sympathize with some of Fletcher’s comments is the famous independent scientist James Lovelock, annoyed with some “environmentalists who emotionalize the arguments.”

But Lovelock, the father of the Gaia Theory, directs his focus not to these people but more importantly to the climate scientists, the results of their work, and the stark options facing civilization.

In his latest book, A Rough Ride to the Future, Lovelock notes that the fact that there has not been as much warming to date as most models were predicting has contributed to the denier perspective.

He sees early computer models as simulating the atmosphere well, whereas only now are models simulating the interaction between the oceans and the atmosphere, something much more complex to model.

It is clear that there has been significant warming linked to burning fossil fuels. Increasing parts per million of CO2 and other warming gases is documented, as is ocean acidification.

The built-up inertia in the Earth system, given these data, may be a tipping point from which it could be too late to take meaningful action. The nature of this issue means we cannot be 100 per cent certain, however the Precautionary Principle would urge action on 80 per cent confidence when the realization of a risk would be catastrophic.

Editorials that denigrate vocal activists and selectively choose data lower the quality of discussion, contribute to polarized discussion, and raise doubt as to whether any action is needed; just what climate change denial interests want.

Black Press, given that it touts itself as the largest independent news chain, can do better.

Kevin Tyler

Kamloops

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