Some readers may recall a sophomoric comment from an “Ethan” at this post. He persists, but I doubt if anyone is following it any more other than him. So I thought I’d start a newer thread to continue the discussion, and hopefully educate him. He last wrote:
“Mass economic dislocation, poverty, disease and death,” though, are all consequences of climate change. Sea level rise will send billions of people scrambling for higher ground, competing with the existing population for dwindling resources. The deserts will spread, and indeed are already spreading, destroying millions of acres of arable land in the southwestern United States and northern Africa.
Now, I am not suggesting solutions to this problem. Massive government intervention leaves a bad taste in my mouth, too. But it makes me sick to think that there is still so much doubt about climate change and its consequences among the general population, when the science is solid. My statement that 1 percent of scientists think climate change might not be human caused may be “argumentum ad verecundiam,” but it is nearly accurate…the number varies slightly from survey to survey, but in all the reports I could find it has never been above 4%. So we’re looking at, at worst, 97% consensus that climate change is a reality, and that human activity is the driving force behind it.
I have read the “climategate” emails, and frankly, there is nothing in them that suggests a vast conspiracy of scientists. They contained unprofessional language concerning doubters of climate change, but all of the quotes which seem to point to such a conspiracy were obviously removed from their proper context when reprinted by the media. In fact, I blame the media for the fact that so many people in the United States are not sure if climate change is a reality. That 1 – 4% of scientists is given equal time with the 97 – 99% who are positive climate change is happening, which creates widespread doubt when it should be minimal.
Now, again, I don’t know exactly what should be done about climate change. Action on a large scale is needed, and frankly I don’t know if people are ready for that. But the consequences of inaction will be very high, and will be seen in my lifetime. The consensus is that our emissions of greenhouse gases (e.g., our consumption of fossil fuels) must peak by 2015 for the temperature to stabilize at no more than 2 degrees Celsius above temperatures at the end of the last century. So I don’t know about you, but I’m probably going to buy an electric car when they hit the streets, and I think I’ll be doing my shopping at local farmers’ markets whenever possible. Even those little things (buying potatoes grown in your state instead of ones that were flown or trucked across country) make a difference. I just hope those little things are enough.
I’m kind of swamped today, but I trust other readers will set him on the road to wisdom. I would suggest though (because it’s not obvious that he did) that he start (as I suggested at the time) by reading the piece I wrote at PJM that the post was partially about.