Global warming keeps me up at night

I should have begun my editorial journey with this commentary, as this is the most introductory column I will offer. Though I will continue to address as wide a variety of environmental topics possible, in some way each will relate to global warming.

Whether it is electric cars, Indonesian agriculture, or perhaps the latest developments in the attempt to renegotiate the Kyoto Protocol, this one bottom line - global warming - will apply. In place of the almighty dollar or profit, will be the almighty carbon footprint.

Uncertainty around the issue of global warming has not arisen spontaneously. Through a deliberately misleading, highly-organized and well-funded campaign of public relations, and political lobbying and championship of “science” without any experimental or statistical support, the fossil fuel industry and various suspect scientists have created a climate of confusion.

According to an award-winning 2006 Globe and Mail report by Charles Montgomery, “between 2000 and 2003, ExxonMobil alone gave more than $8.6-million (U.S.) to think tanks, consumer groups and policy organizations engaged in anti-Kyoto messaging.”

Much the same as ‘grassroots’ organizations were created to fight on behalf of the cigarette industry, similar organizations with similar funding sources and goals have professionally aimed to divide and confuse public opinion on climate change.

One of the main contemporary perpetrators, according to David Suzuki Foundation chair James Hoggan in his book Climate Cover-Up, is Canadian Dr. Tim Ball. Though Ball repeatedly positions himself as an expert on climatology, in fact Ball has not published a proper scientific study in at least a decade. Additionally, Ball worked as a geography professor and is an historical expert of the 18th and 19th century climate of Northern Canada, not a climatologist studying contemporary trends and data. Ball has even gone so far as to criticize teachers for addressing global warming in their classrooms as recently as last month.

Hoggan further explains how, detail-by-detail, a “matter of well-established science [has been] skillfully recast as a subject for debate.”

A great number of people have worked very hard and spent a great deal of money in an effort to establish and spread that confusion […] taking advantage of mainstream journalists’ willingness – even eagerness – to feature contrarian and controversial science stories, regardless of whether the controversy was actually occurring in reputable scientific publications.”

I would like to eliminate this misleading, dangerous debate before it begins, once again, in this publication, as it has in essentially every media outlet. Over the following months, no allusion will be made in this column to the “debate” over climate change. Such a debate simply does not exist, at least as far as scientists are concerned.

The ‘Greenhouse Effect’ of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in Earth’s atmosphere was proven in 1858 by Irish physicist John Tyndall—150 years ago.

You are not meant to take my word that this is happening. I am less qualified than the laughably unqualified ‘scientists’ who have served as global warming skeptics.

I do hope that, given these ‘outrageous’ claims, you will seek research to refute them – as your ongoing university training commands you to.

However, you will not find any evidence disproving global warming in scholarly, peer-reviewed science-based journals. There isn’t any.

Once again, please do not take my word for it. It’s not even my word; I haven’t had to do a thing.

University of California history and science professor Naomi Oreskes, did it all for us.

Extensively surveying scientific reports of global warming in peer-reviewed, scientific journals over a critical decade from 1993-2003, Oreskes reported a very one-sided tally. The final score? 928 articles that supported, or at the very least did not refute climate change and a big, decisive ZERO articles that did refute climate change.

928-0. Sucks to be ExxonMobil and Tim Ball.

If you continue to ignore everything global warming related under the guise that it is a) not a big deal, and that through our technology and our intelligence, we will figure it out; or b) so clearly out of control that there’s no point in fighting it; or that c) humanity sucks and deserves to be wiped out, then I will not waste words attempting to push you towards action.

Just don’t say it’s a hoax, debate, or liberal conspiracy. It just is, unfortunately.

Months ago, I was writing a travel column. Now, given the horrendously large carbon footprint of even short flights, I can’t possibly fly clear skies with a clear conscience – I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.

This isn’t a burden I necessarily hope to pass on to each reader of this column. I only hope to deliver new information, help readers make responsible choices, and, if nothing else, spark desire for others to do a little research themselves. The results may be surprising.

//Jens Ourom

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com