‘Climategate’ Proponents are Missing the Point

Photo by searchengineland

I will openly admit that I am no scientist. I don’t study temperatures or the minutia of the ecosystem, and I’ve never seen a polar bear or its habitat in person. Then again, neither have most people. That’s what makes the debate about climate change so interesting. As with all things, we are presented with the facts by the people who are supposed to know what they’re talking about and we each get to decide what we believe. And while there are many people like myself who believe not only that climate change is real, but that man is it’s primary cause, there is quite a crowd on the other side of the fence who decry the idea of global warming as little more than fear-mongering and alarmism.

And boy, did those skeptics find what they were looking for when “Climategate” broke news.

In late November, in the days leading up to the Copenhagen climate summit, a file containing more than 1,000 e-mails sent from or to members of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit in England was allegedly hacked and posted on the Internet. Many say that the e-mails, from top environmental researchers, appear to question whether humans influence climate. And they were all the ammunition skeptics needed to contend that the messages prove scientists have falsified data to exaggerate the threat of global warming.

There’s just one problem with that assumption. It completely misses the point.

Let’s assume, just for one second, that climate change is nothing more than cyclical shifts in the the Earth’s temperatures that would happen without the influence of any outside factors. Let’s assume that humans live inside a bubble that doesn’t allow carbon emissions to get to the atmosphere. Even in this scenario, humans are still wreaking havoc on the environment in so many other ways.

We are flushing medicine down the toilet, which is in turn getting into our waterways and feminizing frogs and fish. We’re causing disastrous coal flyash spills like the one in Tennessee late last year that completely change the ecosystem in the immediate area of the incident. We have caused cities to be covered in smog, which on some days requires those cities to recommend that people stay indoors. We are throwing away millions of tons of trash, 80% of which is recyclable, which will eventually have to place to go but our parks and back yards.

What is there to question about those facts? Regardless of their impact on the climate, there can be no denying that these issues are real and will have an impact on the planet and the quality of life of its inhabitants. There’s also the huge tiny fact the Climactic Research Unit is far from being the only source of the science that shows global warming is caused by man.

Those who have jumped on the Climategate bandwagon have used it as an opportunity to deflect responsibility. They prefer to drive around in their gas-guzzling Hummers and SUVs, oblivious to the fact that the emissions from their vehicles ARE affecting the quality of the air around them. They prefer to continue living disposable lifestyles in which convenience is the motivating factor for every decision. And most of all, they prefer to continue lining their pockets by doing business and managing the government in a way that is destructive to the environment and latching on to any hope that what they’re doing is OK.

What frustrates me most about Climategate is that has started confusing the public, making them question whether global warming is real and whether the actions they have been taking have made an difference. It has the potential to make us regress, rather than move forward, because most people won’t separate the cause of one environmental problem from another.

All of this makes it incredibly clear that the result of the Copenhagen climate summit needs to be a decisive plan to combat global warming and regulations that mandate action. Because clearly, there are many people, businesses and government officials who won’t make any attempt to change on their own.

By jennae

Hi! I'm Jennae Petersen and I'm the eco diva who had the bright idea to share my journey toward green living with the blogosphere. Some of you may know me as the founder of Green Your Decor, my blog about eco-friendly home decor, as a Walmart Mom, from Twitter or from my organic cotton t-shirt line Differently Clothing. Stick around for a while!

3 comments

  1. Few climate change skeptics that I know use their skepticism as an excuse to further exploit the environment. This may not resonate well with you, but consider the other perspective. There are real, proven environmental problems that we have that lose the spotlight to climate change, such as the great pacific garbage patch. The science that supports the climate change theory does not irrefutably prove that CO2, manmade, causes climate change in the atmosphere. And it fails to adequately explore other possibilities, such as solar activity, water vapor, geological activity, and ocean current activity. So far, only theoretical models and bench-top experiments conducted at sea level (not atmospheric) support this view. By far the majority of CO2 produced is from natural sources, man-made only contributes 1/10 of 1% (1), an extremely minute amount. Moreover, there is data available that shows that the planet is still absorbing CO2 and capable of absorbing more (2), throwing out the claim that the earth is not capable of absorbing CO2 at the rate we emit it. Water vapor is a warming gas in the atmosphere, another product of combustion, how much are the scientists truly accounting for that (1)? If so many scientists are behind the global warming theory, then how come so many scientists don’t believe in it (3)?

    I’m fine with the fact that you may not completely understand it, nobody completely understands it. But that is the problem. We assume that all scientists support this, which they don’t, and that we should blindly believe them. These are the same scientists who purposefully manipulated data to hide any periods of warming we had prior to industrialization (4). Even if that doesn’t completely refute their theories, that completely throws the “peer-reviewed” claim out the window. Aside from that, if they are willing to manipulate data to support a view or hypothesis, what else are they manipulating? Can you really put any trust or credibility into scientists that lie to the public, so that they can get their careers going and their papers published to support a popular view? I can’t.

    You don’t have to take a side, I have chosen not to. I am not saying that anthropogenic climate change is real or false, for all I know it’s real but it could be something manmade that we haven’t accounted for yet. But I don’t look at it from political angle, from a religious angle, or from a socially-accepted angle, I look at it from a scientific angle. Scientists are skeptics by design, and should be open to all possibilities. And I’m not conforming to any argument just b/c it’s the only socially acceptable view.

    (1) http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html
    (2) http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1226808/Earth-absorbing-CO2-claims-climate-change-study.html
    (3) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming
    (4) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_e-mail_hacking_incident

  2. I always figure it doesn’t matter if climate change is true or not, when you get right down to it. I know that sounds crazy, but look at it this way: Whether or not it’s true, you still have a responsibility to the earth. If our kids have a messy room we get all upset. But many of us are fine with dumping several bags of trash out the door each week. What if, instead of putting that trash to the curb and having it magically disappear, you had to store it in your backyard? How would that look after a week, a month, a year, a decade? Not so pretty. So even if you believe your lifestyle doesn’t affect the planet (and I believe it does), your lifestyle affects something, someone, and in the end it affects you and your family. If we take care to protect our family from harmful substances, we in the end protect the earth as well.
    .-= Diane´s last blog ..Linden Flower (Tilia spp.) and its Uses =-.

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