Letter to the editor – climate change

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Dear Editor,

Last week’s Times included a letter in which criticism was made of my choice of a link to a list of scientists who offer different degrees of divergent views to the apparent ‘orthodoxy’ on climate issues. While it is true that the oil industry has at times in the past, to some extent, participated in making such information available, is this really a valid reason for rejecting out of hand the views of those whose names are to be found on the list I provided? I say: So what! I thank those who permit valuable information to come to light! Let’s see, after all, what everyone has to say without suppressing contrary views! I recognise, of course, that many people seem to prefer to quote those who are only funded directly or indirectly from government/public sources. Of course, governments and related sources do not themselves have “hidden agendas”. Right? Hmm. Maybe not. But let’s leave that aside for a moment, and have a look at merely one of the 143 names included in my link of two weeks ago.

For example, the following lecture by Richard Lindzen, Ph.D. and retired professor of Atmospheric Physics at MIT: (www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2018/10/Lindzen-AnnualGWPF-lecture.pdf) would be brief, but useful, reading by anyone seriously interested in understanding the complexity of climate and trying to assess current measures by certain politically motivated governments to manipulate public thinking on this subject. Remember – after having a look at doctor Lindzen’s lecture, there are 142 other scientists, on this list alone, who have views which run contrary to those of what some refer to as the “climate consensus”. And remember – is it the content of these people’s thinking that is important? Or the fact that their names have been selected for inclusion on a particular list. I personally lean towards content, as opposed to censoring authors and thinkers because their names are on a list.

My interest in this issue, as a non-scientist, is simply that of an intellectually active citizen. One whose interest in my country and its people leads me to be concerned for the expenditure of huge amounts of public treasure, which can only be spent once, on projects of climate and climate control. My question is: what if current climate control policies are ill founded? What if current government climate rationales are based more on politicized science rather than thinking based in science itself? Ask yourselves: don’t you want to be reasonably sure that money – which could be spent on the health and education systems and left in the hands of private entrepreneurs and workers – is being well spent if spent on huge projects and costly policies to supposedly control climate changes? Just asking. And I think I know the answer.

Mr. Lindzen’s lecture isn’t long. And it isn’t baffling or hard to understand. And, in the final analysis, I myself certainly can’t say whether climate changes, currently said to be underway, are occurring and are potentially deadly to us. But my point is, if people like Mr. Lindzen hold points of view which give reason to question current orthodoxy of thinking in the climate domain, I am concerned. And no amount of name-calling (denier, etc) will curb my independence of thought on this or other subjects. Readers, make your judgements based on “lists” if you wish. I will continue to read widely and ask: if the science around global warming (euphemistically referred to now as ‘climate change’) is indeed “settled”, how is it that so many advanced scientific thinkers don’t think so? Just another one of my pesky questions.

Jim Bertram

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