Unsettled (Climate Science)

Wed, Oct 20 - Published in Alameda Sun newpaper

Get out the full-body armor; those face masks won’t do at all. The three-part article in the Alameda Sun from George Humphreys (“Analyzing the Draft EIR for the City’s General Plan 2040,” Sept. 17, 24, and Oct. 7) is just an appetizer for what we’re about to be hit with as the United Nations Climate Change Conference gets underway on Halloween in Glasgow, Scotland.

Before you start to freak out about all the forecasts of doom coming out of those quarters, kick back and enjoy a little science.  I definitely recommend the recent book by Steven Koonin, Unsettled. He’s a highly respected physicist who served as a top scientist in the Obama administration.  His politics leans toward the Democratic side; he’s not some right-wing fanatic.

 But he is very clear in demonstrating that we should not panic about rising sea levels, increasing storms, or the sundry other disasters supposedly just around the corner.  Yes, the evidence shows a warming trend over the past forty years or so, but how much and how different from the warming trend of 1910 to 1940? And how much is the result of human activity?

He makes many interesting points. For example, scientific studies of climate often have a lot of nuances and pose questions.  The assessments made by the United Nations or the U.S. government take a large group of scientific studies and tend to iron out the nuances and questions in them and present things to the lay audience in a more simplified way.  This distorts the message of the scientists, which is then distorted even more, in a kind of “telephone game” when the press reports on what the assessment reports say.

In my opinion, Humphreys gives boilerplate criticisms of nuclear power which just don’t measure up to the facts, especially when he says we have to stop population growth.  This Malthusian outlook is an ideology, almost a religion, which is tainting the vision of many in science, academia, and the media, so they twist facts, hold extravagant conferences and even devastate national economies in order to impose their unfortunate views on the world. How long can we tolerate this?

- Hunter Cobb, ACRP Attendee