The ONE and ONLY thing we can do to END the debate over global warming
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Global warming is touted as the greatest threat facing humanity today. If it is happening, it has the potential to cause massive environmental change upsetting entire societies. War is a distinct possibility. Conversely, if it is a hoax, governments can use it as an excuse to strip away basic rights from billions of people. With the stakes so high, it is important we get the issue right. The problem is, we don't agree on the most basic facts.
It's time to remove the politics and the negativity from the discussion about global warming. Facts are not subject to politics, opinion, or money.
LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) -- As a person who often writes on the issue of global warming, I am most astounded by the lack of agreement between otherwise competent scientists. Both believers and skeptics boast impressive credentials. It is true that most scientists accept that global warming is real, and a threat to humanity, but numbers do not determine the truth. If they did, we could still be teaching the geocentric model.
There are three distinct problems that must be resolved.
1. Scientists disagree on measurement and method
2. Positions on global warming are akin to religious belief
3. It remains profitable to foster discord in the public forum
First, the most striking problem I encounter is the lack of agreement on how important metrics are measured. Global warming believers have plenty of charts revealing that temperatures are increasing. At the same time, skeptics can produce charts that show temperatures holding steady, or even in decline! We live on the same planet, and we have access to the same data, yet we see two different truths.
It isn't just temperature that's under dispute. Measurements of things like CO2, ice, sea level, and just how significant and important each of these things is, are commonly disputed. Again, both sides produce graphs and qualified scientists to support their claims.
It is obvious that a serious problem exists within the scientific community. There is no single authority which dictates the methods and measurements that must be used in global warming research. Instead, each scientist is on their own for deciding which method is best for their research. This subjectivity can allow bias into the scientific process and opponents are quick to pounce.
Even when self-styled authorities such as NASA, NOAA and the IPCC establish standards, those too can be called into question. Each agency is funded by political entities and political entities have agendas.
The only way to resolve this dispute seems to be to call skeptics and believers alike into a summit meeting where all sides agree on what the best methods should be. Unless the two sides agree on method and measurement, all the data in the world is moot.
The second problem is the near-religious fanaticism which pits normally reasonable and affable people against one another within some kind of scientific Thunderdome. It's entertaining theater to watch scientists verbally attack each other, and the scathing emails they fire back and forth are worthy of the tabloids. Yes, nerds can be bullies too.
All too often, evidence from both sides is dismissed out of hand by the other. Believers label skeptics as "deniers," a disgusting habit that compares them to neo-Nazis that deny the reality of the Holocaust. And skeptics dub believers "alarmists" as though they are no better than dangerous pranksters shouting "fire" in a crowded theater.
It's the 21st century equivalent of the Catholics vs. the Huguenots played across university campuses and the media with the occasional auto-da-fe hosted at the Capitol.
Both sides must now set aside history and commit to a new effort to work together and discern the facts. This means dropping the labels, the slander and libel, and the accusations of dishonesty, being on the dole or the take, and so on. Kumbaya optional.
The third problem is the media itself, which profits by the discord. Our media is awash in bias. Our news outlets no longer report truth, they report spin. The bias is so bad, some people only watch one channel religiously, and eschew all others. People who watch both MSNBC and FOX are rare.
The only way to stop the circus is to stop the acts themselves. The media will always be biased and will always sensationalize and spin everything because that's how media works. People don't buy newspapers, they buy confirmation bias.
Only a new, independent commission established equally by believers and skeptics, with methods agreed upon by the brightest minds in both camps, can decisively sway the debate between the two sides. This is the barometer that all the world should consult.
Until we make these changes, the issue of global warming will remain a hotly debated topic, regardless if sea levels rise, or glaciers grow. Given the ramifications of the problem, be it natural or political, we need to make changes on both sides, right now.
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