Writing in the fall, 2011 issue of The Wildlife Professional the U.S. Interior Department Deputy Secretary begins with this statement: “Accelerating climate change poses the single biggest threat to wildlife in the United States.” Shifting temperatures, patterns of precipitation, violent storm events... altering entire ecosystems, habitats, and virtually all species...” The Interior Department’s answer? “...a first ever coordinated departmental strategy to address current and future impacts of climate change...” That’s no answer! It’s business as usual. Interior joins the lemming-like rush to the brink: “Let’s sidestep change and see how far we can go before greenhouse gasses make our planet uninhabitable.”
The accelerated rhetoric of this election year includes declarations that man-caused global climate change is a political or religious belief! Of course, beliefs are the unalienable rights of individuals. On the other hand, none of us has the right to ignore overwhelming scientific evidence because it defines a truth that is inconvenient and unpopular. Science operates differently than politics and religion. It doesn’t generate “belief” but uses a structured process to painstakingly discover sound evidence to establish fundamental truth.
Society has historically rejected unpopular science. Copernicus (1473-1543) used mathematical evidence to conclude that the center of the earth was not the center of the universe, flying in the face of that popular belief. In response, religious leaders sought to stamp out “Copernicanism,” alleging that mathematical numbers were a mere product of the intellect without any physical reality.
Similarly, today’s climate science is condemned on grounds that include use of the issue by scientists merely to generate funds for their research. Poppycock! The physical/chemical properties of carbon dioxide, its “greenhouse” effect, and its exponentially increasing concentration in the atmosphere are fundamental facts. All major scientific associations absolutely accept the evidence of man-caused climate change caused by the accelerated production of greenhouse gasses. Naysayers led by energy companies like Exxon use misinformation to lure opinion and politics down their road to nowhere. We must demand better from our leaders and this important political year is a good time to start.