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Climate change: Let the debate continue

By: Dionesio Grava
First posted in :
on September 2011

FORMER Vice President Al Gore, who became a Nobel laureate by virtue of his A Inconvenient Truth advocacy, was in the news again the other day with the bizarre pronouncement about global warming skeptics being this generation’s racists and urging for their defeat in order to “win the conversation.” In an inerview with consumer advocate Alex Bogusky, Gore said, “some of the same people… who took money from the tobacco companies to put out lies about the science of smoking and health are now taking money from the coal and oil companies to put out lies about the science of global warming.”

Talks about how the earth is changing as a result of climate disruptions have stewed a great number of people as never before and have brought about many radical changes in the ways we live and look at things. The allegation that the CO2 generated by human activity is the main cause of the supposed ozone pollution, record high temperatures that rapidly melt glaciers and bring about severe drought that would cause the eventual extinction of this planet and all living species within has scared the bejesus of many. Suddenly coal and oil are energy sources to detest while solar panels, windmills, recycling and renewal energy are in; yes to electric cars and no-nos to smoking in public places, the hummers of the world, plastic, etc. Rally against the greenhouse effect and expect a clean, sustainable future.

Considering that planet earth has been in existence for eons, this kind of environmental debate is exceedingly very recent and with the great many changes that have since occurred and are occurring, it may be said that proponents of the new science have made their point across to so many people everywhere. Many have been convinced about the scope, and the urgency, of mitigating the threat. There are the true believers while others have adopted the position just because it is politically correct. There are also those who gain much from profitable businesses involving with the environment or for other reasons.

The reality, however, is that people are anything but identical and it is to be expected that any kind of change, especially this earth-shaking, would generate skepticism somewhere. There are simply those who would find it difficult to understand how this earth could have survived this long if it were true that human and animal activities have continuously been pushing it toward oblivion. There are those who entertain the idea that research findings depend much on who’s funding it. Also, how can we be sure that scientists concerned are not just making educated guesses of these all. As a matter of fact there are also many scientists who believe otherwise. The Deepwater Horizon oil spell last year in the Gulf of Mexico evoked a nightmarish Armageddon scenario but as it turned out, nature has a way of medicating itself. Outlandish claims can be checked and Gavin Atkins precisely did that at, debunking the list of things that the media have trumpeted as being the “first casualties of climate change.”

Environmentalists wield the upper hand in the current give-and-take and prudence dictates that they be generous, expansive even, in keeping the conversation going and in the process gain more adherents. But as the “almost President” Gore has indicated above, one can be an advocate for something that’s good and yet be intolerant with the views of others. Needless to state, topics of this magnitude need the input of as many as possible and resorting to insults and other pronouncements intended to intimidate the other side into silence could only mean a bankruptcy of ideas or even intellectual dishonesty. While closing our eyes to climate change could be dangerous to mankind, is closing our minds to the possibility that current theories are not what they claimed to be of lesser risk? Gore and his California counterpart, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, are not exactly icons of moderate lifestyles and energy consumption and yet they are being sanctimonious in urging the rest of us to do what they say. As TV anchor Brit Hume said, “In the end, you make your reputation and you have your success based upon credibility.”