Hot Air: What Causes Global Warming
Ball, Timothy, Canadian Dimension
The December 1989 issue of Forbes Magazine manifested a fear that I have been discussing in any forum possible for the last few years.
A brilliant red cover provides a backdrop to the captions, "The Global Warming Panic", "A Classic Case of Overreaction." This major business magazine presents an article that is well researched and focuses directly upon the major flaws in the argument about global warming as a result of the greenhouse effect.
It is an article that provides those in the business community who want it with all the ammunition they need to combat the pressure to change that is building from the political arena. Just when we were starting to convince the public and thereby the politicians that environmental problems need serious and longterm attention, we are likely to lose ground.
The major cause of the dilemma now facing us is that some scientists made public statements that cannot be supported scientifically. The media then took these statements and amplified the errors, and in doing so converted them to "truths". Now we have the problem that many of the claims about environmental damage and change do not bear scrutiny. A credibility gap is in danger of widening, to the detriment of efforts to establish policies. At the very time that sustainable development has become politically acceptable, supporters of the traditional definition of development as unbridled growth are being given comfort.
It is a feature of the 1980s that it is becoming almost impossible to have rational discussions about many issues without hysteria, emotionalism and irrationality taking over. Many issues demand action, but it is essential that clear and factual information be available before acting. The urgency is simply not that great that we cannot establish priorities.
The challenge for political leaders is enormous. They are beset by those who tell them the world environment is doomed. Some, such as David Suzuki, set a time limit for action of ten years. The media focus upon the extreme positions and select points that are dramatic. The public are thus given false impressions; in some cases incorrect information.
To add to their problems, politicians are given information by scientists who argue a singular view of a problem. As specialists, they are not usually familiar with the research being done in other disciplines. Nowhere is this more problematic than in climate and climate change.
The November 1989 issue of Scientific American expresses the problem in its section on Science and the Citizen, entitled "Not so Hot.":…
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Publication information: Article title: Hot Air: What Causes Global Warming. Contributors: Ball, Timothy - Author. Magazine title: Canadian Dimension. Volume: 24. Issue: 3 Publication date: April-May 1990. Page number: 22+. © 2009 Canadian Dimension Publication, Ltd. COPYRIGHT 1990 Gale Group.
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