In response to Cal Thomas’ column: Facts matter, and on climate change they are clear (letter)
July 7, 2018
I was very disappointed that the Vail Daily would give space to a highly inaccurate and misleading piece on climate science. ("Thirty years of 'global warming' panic," by Cal Thomas, Sunday, July 1). Where to start?
First, the science behind our changing climate is well established and has been extensively peer reviewed. Talk of "activist meteorologists" is a nonsensical cheap shot. I would refer Mr. Thomas to the Fourth National Climate Assessment of the U.S. Global Change Research Program: a group of 13 US government departments and agencies including the Department of Commerce (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the Department of Defense, the Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency and NASA.
It will suffice to quote their "Key Finding No. 1," offered with "high confidence":
"The global climate continues to change rapidly compared to the pace of the natural variations in climate that have occurred throughout Earth's history. Trends in globally averaged temperature, sea level rise, upper-ocean heat content, land-based ice melt, arctic sea ice, depth of seasonal permafrost thaw and other climate variables provide consistent evidence of a warming planet. These observed trends are robust and have been confirmed by multiple independent research groups around the world."
You can always quote a few alternative views on any position, as does Mr. Thomas. But in this case, there is simply no serious "debate," no "on the one hand, on the other hand." As NASA notes on its website:
"Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities."
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Second, Thomas says people who "attempt to claim that we are seeing the problems right now" are spouting "propaganda." Frankly, you must be willfully blind of the myriad changes in our natural environment to insult our intelligence, and the evidence of our own eyes, with that assertion. I refer Mr. Thomas to the summary assessment of the University of Colorado Boulder Environmental Center:
"Here in the Western United States we already see the effects of climate change. The Western United States has seen a larger increase in average temperature in the past decade than any other part of the country. This exacerbates already existing problems such as snowpack, water scarcity, drought, pine beetle infestation, etc."
Third, Mr. Thomas gives his anti-science and partisan game away when he suggests that those thousands of scientists who have documented the reality of climate change are working toward the "objective of big government robbing us of more of our freedoms."
So, when you don't like the facts, impugn the motives of the messengers and try deflecting from the substance of the science and make it about politics. Last time I checked, our earth doesn't have a political position; it is neither liberal nor conservative!
Facts matter. On climate change they are clear. And Mr. Thomas is very clearly wrong.