Re: Ceasing to Think (NG Times, May 15)
In the “Ceasing to Think” letter, Mr. Bertram presents his views on policy to respond to climate change and his sources for attempting to understand the science explaining the gravity of the situation.
Mr. Bertram presents a link to the “International Climate Science Coalition”. This name was well chosen from a marketing perspective, but has nothing to do with science on climate.
The group is supported financially by the Heartland Institute in the US (themselves funded by the Koch brothers and Exxon). The so-called “highly qualified practitioners” of ICSC include members of Friends of Science (funded by oil industry). A review of the list of ICSC advisors shows few that could be considered as having any expertise at all in the field of climatology. When I last looked, all ICSC advisors combined had produced precisely ZERO peer-reviewed scientific articles providing any evidence to support their assertions, despite their fundamentally opposed views on the matter.
The understanding of rising CO2 concentrations leading to increased greenhouse effect has been understood for centuries. The acidification of oceans is straightforward chemistry that already threatens to wipe out shell-building organisms and Canadian industries that depend on them. The NG Times interviewed experts at Environment and Climate Change Canada and captured well how we know what’s happening and the impacts to Canada (August 9, 2018 edition).
I agree with Mr. Bertram’s suggestion that we need to continue to talk and to think, but we need to think critically. Can we rely on internet searches and unqualified authors who are financially supported by the fossil fuel industry? Of course not. Dubious websites are not substitutes for peer-reviewed scientific journals.
It is only with a well-founded understanding of a given problem that we can meaningfully consider policies to address it. So let’s think critically. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Mr. Bertram stokes fear of the negative impacts of policy choices. We must be focussed on the whole – the impacts of climate change we already see and those coming, along with the efficacy and adequacy of policy choices to address and mitigate them.