Climate Change – has our desire to do good overridden good science?

EPA’s major news this week to regulate CO2 has evoked a lot of emotion.  Depending upon your understanding of the global warming issue or “what side you’re on” with respect to whether humans are the cause or not, you are either elated and think that EPA rocks or you are despondent and just want EPA to go away.  One-hundred years from now, the scientific uncertainty will no longer be uncertain and planet earthlings will have perspicacious insight into the theories and predictions of AGW and whether they were true.

Throughout the tumult, there have been many scientists and pundits opining on this very complicated matter, some out of complete ignorance and some more rational than others.  I have expressed my strong disappointment in the herding mentality of the scientific community on AGW, affected largely by the toxic political environment in which the debate has played out.  However, I can appreciate that what to me appears as herding, may just as well be rationally and rightly construed by others as the scientific consensus.  Just yesterday, Steve Hayward posted this interesting tale involving the latest outrage from the climate enforcers.  My disappointment and dismay is not to dismiss the noble pursuit and endeavor by credible scientists who are attempting to understand and explain AGW.  I, like many, just want to know the truth – the objective truth -and help advance a reasonable policy response, but regrettably there seems to be a paucity of those willing to acknowledge the complexity of the climate change and what we know and don’t know.  Humility is eerily absent in the climate pandemonium.  And too manyseem to be gripped by passion rather than reason.  AGW is neither a hoax nor an apocalyptic phenomena.

This past week, the House Subcommittee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing on examining the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change process.  One of the witnesses was Daniel Botkin, Professor Emeritus, Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara.  My colleague, Tracy Mehan, and I have covered the work of Dr. Botkin and his important contributions to science.   Botkin is extremely thoughtful and well-respected within the scientific community.  And he has been studying climate change since the late 1960s.  His primary thesis is that climate change is occurring and it is something we must work to address.  However, Botkin, like me and a handful of others, believes strongly that there are many equally, if not more, pressing environmental issues that must be addressed, based on their risk to humanity and the environment.  Botkin makes some serious and compelling arguments, which are ably covered at the blog Watts Up With That?  It’s well worth the read – and may enlighten many readers.   As Botkin notes, “the desire to do good has ironically overridden the desire to do the best science.”