In the spirit of the holidays, I’d rather not get into an argument with Boston Globe columnist Jeff Jacoby over his column about global warming today. Instead, I’d like to pose three questions to him. I’m going to send him the link to this item and ask him to respond, either by e-mail or by posting to Media Nation.
Anyway, here we go:
1. You make much of the fact that scientific predictions about the climate have changed considerably over time. For instance, you note that climatologist Reid Bryson, in the mid-1970s, predicted catastrophic global cooling.
Question: Do you believe science, and our ability to measure climate change, have advanced over the past 32 years? And if you do, don’t think you anything a scientist wrote in 1974 is utterly irrelevant?
2. Two words never appear in your column: “carbon dioxide.” Yet according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the level of atmospheric CO2 has risen from 280 parts per million to 370 parts per million since the start of the Industrial Revolution. “The concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere today, has not been exceeded in the last 420,000 years, and likely not in the last 20 million years,” according to the agency’s Web site.
Question: What evidence can you state for your apparent belief that rising CO2 levels have no effect on the climate?
3. Most serious people who’ve looked at global warming believe we need to undertake technological steps ranging from developing renewable energy sources such as solar and wind to building a safer generation of nuclear power plants. That was certainly one of the messages Al Gore puts forth in his film “An Inconvenient Truth.” In other words, though there may be a few alternative-lifestyle types who believe global warming can only be reversed by living like the Amish, most of us want to innovate our way out of this mess — a very American approach, I might add.
Question: How did global warming become part of the culture war? And why on earth have conservatives like you adopted the denial of global warming as a pet cause?
Please note that Questions 1 and 2 are very specific and call for specific answers. You may fulminate to your heart’s content in answering Question 3.
Update: David Bernstein observes that the administration of left-wing environmental extremist George W. Bush has concluded that global warming has endangered the polar bear.
Update II: Jacoby responds. Click here.