The following is an imaginary conversation I would imagine happening between myself and one of my children…..The facts are all correct.
M. You know, when we get together again with the family, you’re likely to get into another debate about Global Warming with someone like St***.
F. Well, its not going to happen again. I’ve run out of patience having those kind of debates with people who know nothing but what opinions they have read in some newspaper or internet site.
M. I’m not sure I understand.
F. Look, your father has some 40 years behind him of study related in one way or another to what was once called “Global Warming” and has since been rebranded as “Climate Change”. None of these folks, with one exception that I’ve encountered, have ever done a lick of actual investigation into the subject, have never looked at a single bit of the data and have not a clue as to what is behind the science involved. How do you have a conversation with someone like that. I give it up…it’s not worth the oxygen. I don’t mean to sound arrogant but it’s a waste of time and energy.
M. Wait a minute, how do you have that much experience with this? It’s only come up in the past couple decade or so.
F. Back in the 70’s, the world of science rediscovered what was once called “Continental Drift” and is now termed “Plate Tectonics”. It was a product of the Cold War. The US needed a lot of detailed information about the oceans and especially the floor of the oceans so that they could hide our submarines and the listening posts that they wanted to deploy to find the submarines of the Russians. So the government spent a lot of money doing soundings and measurements all over the globe. That data became public over time and it confirmed that the continents had moved around over millions of years.
M. Wait a minute – I remember those drawings and clay models you built. We thought you were a bit nuts.
F. For no particular reason, I was fascinated by the developments and as an observer, I got into the field in the beginnings. There were hundreds of drawings and models I did trying to make sense of the developments. It was a pretty exciting time. Every year brought more detailed maps and more precise measurements. It was also the time when I first heard noise about a changing world climate….except at that time, the concerns were that we were headed into an Ice Age. Do you remember that wall where I had all those cartoons and pictures and words? Well, one of them was a cutting from a scientific magazine that read “The Ice Age Comith”. There is a rather famous article in Newsweek magazine that gets referenced once in a while that spoke to it. A copy of the article is in one of our scrapbooks.
This is also when I first gained a rather critical or skeptical attitude about science when it is connected to politics. Remember that I said, “rediscovered” before? Well, somewhere along the way I encountered a book by a fellow named Wegner who positively proved the theory back in then1920’s. Only, this was in the 20’s and the world was just out of what they called “The Great War” which we call World War 1 and Germans were very unpopular and Wegner was a German. So his book was laughed at and ridiculed and ignored. Except that anyone reading it could see that he made a slam-dunk case for the migration of the planets. So I learned that whenever science is connected in any way to politics, you had better be very careful.
Remember the debates about “second hand smoke”? That taught me that if you throw a lot of money at an issue and hire a bunch of people to do research, they will most likely give you the results that they already know that you want to see.
M. But what about CO2? I thought that was the real issue?