Getting Past Panic in the Climate Change Debate

Without including engineers, who are charged with coming up with solutions to the problem, things get pretty irrational, as the September-October 2010 edition of Geo-Strata notes:

Evolution has been at work on the climate situation recently. Let’s overlook the late 1970s forecast of an impending ice age and focus on the early- to mid-2000s ‘global warming’ discussion. Cooler temperatures and climate science research concerns notwithstanding, the term became ‘climate change’ even as governments sought to establish policies to restrict Man-generated green house gasses that were considered to be the cause of global warming. The transportation industry concluded in 2008 that the impacts of climate change could be handled best by adaptation strategies. The global warming evolution thus became ‘environmental change’ which permits consideration of non- climate processes, such as coastal subsidence, in a holistic way.

Global warming policies were created without significant input from engineers. Sensational sound bites and photos of pathetic polar bears played on a scientifically illiterate society to pit the environment against development. Skeptics of (Milutin) Milankovitch’s theory (the wobbling of the earth’s axis as it rotate around the Sun) found items to support their objections to it; Milankovitch was reported to have been untroubled by the criticisms, commenting that it was not his duty to educate the ignorant. Geo-engineers today should be aware of opportunities to ‘educate the ignorant,’ but society seems to be filled with well-meaning, but misinformed, people who are unduly influenced by Hollywood science and environmental activism, making the education task more challenging. It seems that the transportation industry’s adaptation strategy for dealing with climate change also may be the best approach for dealing with climate-change policies.

Emphasis mine.

The article is “Commentary: Is Uniformitarianism Sustainable in an Age of Environmental Change?” by Jeffrey R. Keaton.

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