In an effort to promote enlightened debate about one of the most salient issues of the day — global warming — magazine editor Guy Crittenden has posted an entry on his Blog to steer readers towards a fascinating article series by environmental policy analyst and writer Lawrence Solomon.
In his article series The Deniers (fourteen parts so far, which initially appeared in Canadas National Post newspaper), Solomon looks into the work and understanding of a list of high-profile scientists whose opinions have sometimes been dismissed by what he calls the orthodoxy around man-made climate change. These scientists, some of them top people in the climate and earth science field, are often dismissed as deniers for holding views (and sometimes publishing their work in peer reviewed journals) that contradict the conclusions of reports put out by the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The article series does not take a position for or against the notion that the Earth is heating up and whether human beings are the cause, but its clear from the articles that — at least to Solomon — the science of climate change is far from settled and that skeptics have routinely been bullied by government bureaucrats and academics who disagree with them.
I feel this article series is among the best journalism in the environmental field that Ive come across in recent years, says Crittenden, who notes that Solomon is not easy to dismiss, as he is a solutions-oriented environmentalist with a credible track record.
If people visit the website of Solomons Urban Renaissance Institute they can read the whole article series online, among other excellent pieces, Crittenden says. Some of the contents of these articles do the best possible job in reminding people that science is not simply a consensus-driven process and that many of the greatest advancements in science have come from outsiders — including Sir Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Albert Einstein — whose theories were initially dismissed or even mocked.
Crittenden feels that the climate change issue must be taken seriously and he advocates further investment in understanding climate processes and possible impacts on the natural carbon cycle from the burning of fossil fuels, but he is concerned that our environmental priorities may be in the process of becoming skewed prematurely because of the assumption that global warming is underway and is not part of a natural cycle that, among other factors, includes increased output from the Sun, whose cycles vary over time in long-term trends.
I think we should take a precautionary approach up to a point, says Crittenden. There are many simple things we can do to increase our energy efficiency and be less wasteful and polluting. We should take certain sensible steps now as an insurance policy in case the claims turn out to be true that emissions from human sources are responsible for any dangerous climate change.
However, Lawrence Solomon has done the public and policymakers a huge favor in reminding us of the complex dimensions of the climate change issue and the danger in reducing this to a caricature, as was done in Al Gores recent popular film An Inconvenient Truth. Worse theres real danger in scapegoating scientists just because their honest inquiries run contrary to the received wisdom of government bureaucrats. Or of calling someone a member of a Flat Earth Society because theyre unconvinced that the man-made climate change case is closed.
Read Crittendens Blog by clicking on Editors Blog at either www.solidwastemag.com or www.hazmatmag.com
Readers may be interested in visiting the Urban Renaissance Institute website and downloading Lawrence Solomons articles there at www.urban-renaissance.org