Politics worse than superstition

Letter writer raises concerns about Tom Fletcher's column on climate change

To Tom Fletcher, in response to his Oct. 4 column entitled “Science vs. Superstition.”

In your article, you appear to be speaking on behalf of a scientific viewpoint.  However, you begin this article by saying that you are skeptical of climate change science apparently because the predictions have not been entirely accurate so far. It is easy to point out how the predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have been inaccurate.

The global climate and weather patterns are a highly chaotic system.  That is why, despite incredibly advanced mathematical models and extremely powerful computers, even predictions of tomorrow’s weather on the news are often wrong.

However, hindsight is 20/20.  Looking at historical data, there is an overwhelmingly obvious correlation between human industrialization and levels of atmospheric CO2 (and other greenhouse gasses).  Also undeniable is how that correlation is progressing. There is no doubt that human activity will increase the concentration of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere.

The hard part is predicting exactly how that increase will heat our planet, affect our weather, alter the chemistry of our oceans and change our climate.

When the IPCC says that there is a 95 per cent chance that (to paraphrase) “it will be bad,” that five per cent uncertainty mostly comes from trying to sort out the chaotic global climate models.

If you value science as your article suggests, but you are skeptical of the findings of the IPCC, then there must be a comparable collection of peer-reviewed science that supports your skepticism.

Please point us to the science that shows that humans are not responsible for an unprecedented increase in the concentration of atmospheric CO2.

Failing that, who are the scientists that have developed better climate models that show that this increase will be benign?

It should be emphasized that funding for the IPCC comes from governments, including our own.

When I read in the news that the new conservative Australian government has dumped its minister of science, it is clear that conservative politicians worldwide are increasingly disliking what their own scientists are saying and so are simply choosing not to listen.

You are worried that our society is slipping “back toward superstition.” However, political ideology is a far greater threat to science and consequently, our ability to safeguard our environment, our economy and our society.

I am concerned, Mr. Fletcher, that you are not a skeptic as you claim, but a politician pretending to be one.


Danny Kermode