Readers continue to send in letters perpetuating the myth that many prominent scientists do not agree with the man-made global-warming theory. I think the reason for this is that they hear it frequently on Fox News, see hoaxes on the Internet, and many Republicans often repeat it. Myths are hard to dispel because most people are not trained in the sciences and believe things if they hear them often enough. Scientists, on the other hand, are trained to look at the facts and evidence before drawing a conclusion.
There are a few scientists — I call them “tobacco scientists” — who prostitute themselves and misrepresent the evidence for personal gain. Most of the other scientists disagree with each other because of the weight they attach to individual pieces of evidence or studies. Because of this, there is always some disagreement by scientists, and you rarely get 100 percent agreement on a subject.
When the vast majority of scientists agree with a particular theory, I’d put money on it if I were a gambling man. With global warming, we are gambling the lives and livelihood of many people around the world, so the stakes are much higher. This is the reason I think the public needs to be informed of the facts and not believe in myths.
Every major scientific body in the United States, including the American Chemical Society, supports the man-made global warming science. The ACS alone has more than 160,000 members.
There are a lot of estimates and some conjecture about the effects and degree of global warming, and I think this is where the real discussion should be. It isn’t easy to predict the future because a scientific discovery or natural phenomenon such as a volcano eruption can alter things. It is impossible to predict with 100 percent accuracy what will happen, so scientists resort to probabilities, and many put the probability of catastrophic damage very high.
Here are a few facts that cannot be disputed by any scientist in the world.
1. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas.
2. A greenhouse gas, as the name implies, causes the atmosphere to trap heat.
3. Carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased about 30 percent in the past 100 years.
4. Humans have been dumping billions of tons of carbon dioxide into the air every year for most of the past century.
5. Most glaciers around the world and the polar ice caps are shrinking because the atmosphere is heating up.
6. Sea levels are rising.
I hope broadcaster Rush Limbaugh is right when he says that if you give the American public the facts, they will come to the right conclusion. It’s not rocket science.