last moon

Thursday, January 23, 2014

When scientist must shout

The overwhelming consensus among climate scientists is that human-caused climate change is happening. Yet a fringe minority of our populace clings to an irrational rejection of well-estabilished science. This virulent strain of anti-science infects the halls of Congress, the pages of leading  newpapers  and what we see in TV , leading to the appearance of a debate where none should exist.
In fact, there is broad agreement among climate scientists not only that climate change is real, (a survey and a review of the scientific literature published say about 97 percent agree) but that we must respond to the dangers of a warming planet. If one is looking for real differences among mainstream scientists, they can be found on two fronts: the precise implications of those higher temperatures, and which technologies and policies offer the best solution to reducing, on a global scale, the emission of greenhouse gases.
For example, should we go full-bore on nuclear power? Invest in and deploy renewable Energy – wind, solar and geothermal – on a huge scale? Price carbon emissions through cap-and-trade legislation or by imposing a carbon tax? Until the public fully understands the danger of our present trajectory, those debate are likely to continue to founder.
This is where scientists come in. In my view, it is no longer acceptable for scientists to remain on the sidelines. I had no choice but to enter the fray. I was hounded by elected officials, threatened with violence and more, after a single study I co-wrote a decade and a half ago found that the Northern Hemisphere’s average warmth had no precedent in at least the past 1,000 years. Back in 2003, when asked in a Senate hearing to comment on a metter of policy, I risponded that “I am not a specialist in public policy” And it would not “be useful for me to testify on that.” It is not an uncommon view among scientists that we potentially compromise our objectivity if we choose to wade into policy matters or the societal implications of our work. But there is nothing inappropriate about drawing on our scientific knowledge to speak out about the very real implications of our research.
If scientists choose not to engage in the public debate, we leave a vacuum that will be filled by those whose agenda is one of short-term self-in-terest. In fact, it would be an abrogation of our responsibility to society if we remained quiet in the face of such a grave threat.
How will history judge us if we watch the threat unfold before our eyes, but fail to comunicate the urgency of acting to avert potential disaster? How would I explain to the future children of my 8-year-old daughter that their grandfather saw the threat, but didn’t speak up in time?

Michael E. Mann from International NYT
If you want to know more about Distinguish Professor Michael E. Mann and about the subject please go to the link below

You can also found an italian translation by Angelo Ruggeri in the blog: http//

1 comment: