Peter Ricci's Blog

ramblings of a peripheral visionary

Debate on Climate change

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I often find myself in a debate about climate change. Even within my own family there is a variety of views. My view is not so much about who is right or wrong, it is about what happens if either side is wrong. Sometimes I speak with friends and family about these issues and it frustrates me that they are on one side of the argument not because of their understanding, but because of their ideologies.

I will let you know my position from the outset, I believe that climate change is caused predominantly by humans, I don’t believe the extremes, but I do believe we can and should do what we are advised. Who am I to question the men and women scientists that dedicate their lives to research and data, sometimes in the most inhospitable regions on our planet?

A friend recently purchased two books from Amazon.com and delivered to my door, I never asked for them and at first did not know who they were from. These books were from the other side of the climate debate, I dislike the term ‘deniers’ because that implicitly deems them to be wrong by default. However, I was not pleased to receive these books, in fact I was furious.

To understand why, you have to understand my rules. I have only a 3 rules in my scientific research, the first being that the person must submit their findings to be openly peer reviewed, the second being that their livelihoods not be adversely affected by a finding either way and the third being that they are qualified in the field of discussion, whether through schooling or experience years in that field.

The first book was called Air Con by Ian Wishart and it only takes a few minutes of research to realize this guy has some serious problems when it comes to reporting facts, he often writes books for the sake of being on the other side of the argument and has no experience in science or climate science, he also dismisses evolution in favor of creationism and Intelligent design, so as you can see, this man automatically disqualifies himself from being anyone to be taken seriously. So out goes that book.

The second book however is a different story, I have read some of the work of Ian Plimer and actually really like his writing style and he has got the qualifications needed to question or challenge the science! This book ‘Heaven and Earth’ is his take on global warming and last night I sat down and read the first few chapters. However, I cannot take his word and it makes it hurt because he actually is well respected, educated on the correct fields of science. But he is a director of 3 mining companies and he has admitted that his companies will be adversely affected by any legislation. I will continue to read this excellent and mostly factual book. However I cannot trust between the lines as we all know that authors all stamp their feelings on a book – even a purely research book and he is no different.

I will continue to research and hopefully will find some more authors whose livelihoods do not depend greatly on their opinions, however for now, my debate will be stymied by people who think that Polar Bears are not endangered and that the hockey stick controversy is actually a controversy.

I don’t believe all I read or hear, in fact I do believe that the debate has gotten ridiculous with each side trying to discredit each other so much that this is all that ever gets reported. I am also very skeptical of the approaches of the UN and most Western Countries to reduce CO2 emissionsm, but I am in favour of a start, however small it is.

What if I am wrong? There is a reasonable probability for both sides to be wrong, from my perspective, we may finally end our dependence on oil and coal, we may finally harness the sun, wind and water’s energy where it makes sense to do so and possibly a few companies will no longer enjoy the riches they have taken for granted for decades.

However, if any of my friends and family on the other side are wrong and keep in mind it depends who you listen to, then the consequences seem to be a little more severe. Given our limited knowldge on these subjects, I prefer to trust the majority of people actually doing the research.

Out! PJR

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Written by peterricci

November 9, 2009 at 12:14 pm

Posted in Posterous

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