A Change of View on Climate Change

By Tom Harris Created: June 12, 2011 Last Updated: June 12, 2011
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As Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC), I would like to put a different perspective on David Suzuki’s article, We Shouldn’t Expect the Kids to Clean Up Our Mess.

He writes, "We owe it to our children and grandchildren to help clean up the messes we’ve made."

I couldn’t agree more. But we also owe it to our descendants to differentiate between what really are messes and what are politically-correct, but scientifically unsubstantiated crusades. If we don’t, then we waste vast resources chasing phantom scares at the expense of solving real problems.

The climate alarm that Suzuki references is a good example. Contrary to what he has been telling us for years, the possibility that humans can significantly affect climate by reducing our carbon dioxide emissions is highly unlikely. The future of our planet’s climate is simply unknown and our impact on this phenomenon is even less understood, although it appears to be very small. Natural factors such as changes in the brightness of the Sun are being shown to have far more climatic influence than anything humanity is doing. This is not a mere fringe view of outlier scientists, as Suzuki would have us believe. Many of the world’s leading experts do not support the hypothesis that we are causing, and so can stop, climate change.

So, what will our children and grandchildren think when they look back at this period? Meteorologist Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology predicts: "The fact that the developed world went into hysterics over changes in global mean temperature anomaly of a few tenths of a degree will astound future generations." This is especially true when they see what problems we are not handling properly, such things as cleaning up toxic waste dumps, securing vitally needed energy supplies and constructing wells for the roughly five million Africans (mostly children) who die each year due to contaminated drinking water.

Dismissing global warming concerns as "contemplating our climatic navel", Lindzen concludes, "It’s going to look silly for the future." I would say it’s going to look criminal.

Tom Harris
Executive Director, International Climate Science Coalition
Ottawa, Canada


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