Vail Valley Voices: Global warming is no hoax |

Vail Valley Voices: Global warming is no hoax

Scott Glasser
Vail, CO, Colorado

It is a difficult thing to ignore the hot and dry summer that has scorched large tracts of the lower Midwest. Of course, it would be easy to dismiss this as a natural climate variation, but what troubles me is that climatologists predicted this. And if their predictions continue to be accurate, this decade will be even hotter than the last.

I don’t understand how anyone, at this point, can think that Al Gore launched some massive hoax about global warming. Scientists have been writing about the effect of human activities on our environment and accurately predicting their effect since the 1970s.

Indeed, the following organizations concur with the notion that human activities are directly causing global warming: The National Academies of Science of the USA, Canada, Mexico, Russia, Japan, China, the United Kingdom, Sweden, France, Germany, Malaysia, Italy, Indonesia, South Africa, Belgium, Brazil and New Zealand, among others. And in addition, these private scientific organizations also concur: American Astronomical Society, American Chemical Society, American Institute of Physics, American Meteorological Society, American Physical Society, Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, European Society of Sciences and Arts, European Geosciences Union, European Science Foundation, Geological society of America, Geological Society of Australia, Geological Society of London, American Quaternary Association, International Union for Quaternary Research, National Research Council, Royal Meteorological Society, and World Meteorological Society, among many others.

These organizations and societies represent the best and brightest we have in climate research.

My own personal observations and readings also indicate the climate has warmed in my lifetime: It is safe to plant annuals at least three weeks earlier than I did as a boy in my hometown of Baltimore, and flowers bloom at least one week earlier there; there are no more glaciers in Glacier National Park; and it no longer requires cold-climbing equipment to scale Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro (most of the snow there has melted).

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There is now a Northwest Passage as the Arctic ice retreats, and huge chunks of the Arctic and Canadian ice shelves continue to break off and melt.

And I am merely an amateur. Now imagine how the world’s climatologists and researchers observe our environment. These are the brains that determine how fast the tectonic plates move and predict the path of hurricanes. They invent the machines that NASA shoots into space to rendezvous with small objects moving at thousands of miles an hour millions of miles away, and they dig the ice cores to study what the environment was like 800,000 years ago.

These are not small minds to trifle with or ignore. And, as noted above, they are entirely united in their scientific conclusions.

If they are warning us – and they are – it would be folly to ignore them.

The question is no longer “Is there human-caused (anthropogenic) global warming?” The questions should be “What will be the effects of global warming on humans? And can we realistically do anything about it?”

Perhaps the most poignant conclusion was posed in 2004 by the very prestigious journal Science in an editorial titled “The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change”: “The scientific consensus might be wrong. If the history of science teaches anything, it is humility, and no one can be faulted for failing to act on what is not known. But our grandchildren will surely blame us if they find that we understood the reality of anthropogenic climate change and failed to do anything about it.”

Lastly this: While I truly appreciate the Vail Daily’s wonderful policy of publishing so many of our letters, I take issue with its continued policy of placing the comments of certain extremist individuals under large boldface type – headlining their often hateful, implausible statements and thereby falsely lending added credence to their rantings. It is unfair and irresponsible. The issues we face are daunting and important. Can we please level the playing field?

Global warming is not an Al Gore hoax. It is the scientific consensus after years of dedicated, intelligent observation and research by some of the world’s most brilliant minds. But one doesn’t need to read those journals or the proceedings and minutes of the world’s greatest scientific bodies to understand how serious the problem is.

Just ask any Texas farmer.

Scott Glasser, M.D., is an Edwards resident.

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