In an attempt to move beyond “speculation” as to the reality and principal source of current climate trends (haven’t we done that already?) the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in their fourth summary report released last week in Spain, states that the evidence of global warming is now “unequivocal”.
This summary report (the draft pdf version of which is available here) is important as it synthesizes the three previous summaries released by the IPCC earlier this year, and will act as a guiding document in the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Bali next month.
Writing in Wunderblog Rick Roud, a professor at the University of Michigan, says that the process leading to this fourth assessment report eliminates speculation, as much as is humanly possible, into the science of climate change. As such, the IPCC report is considered by many, including Roud, as “safe”, with some “late-breaking” data and emerging trends not included as there has not yet been adequate time given for the scientific scrutiny and peer review required for such certainty.
In his post, Roud states that he hopes the debate can now move beyond “argument, above the suspicion of hidden agendas” and into more positive and productive discussions on action and policy.
And not a moment too soon, if you asked me.
Name Calling in Pursuit of Science and Policy…
Given the pictures of Hillary on a witch’s broom and the general name calling and ad hominen arguments in some of the comments on Roud’s post, this will be harder said than done for some people. Some cling to what long ago became tiresome rhetoric, unable to move the discourse forward in any substantial way.
Nonetheless, there are interesting discussions on where we go from here. Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, outlined his ideas in the Huffington Post yesterday, and Cool It author Bjorn Lomborg, writing last month in the Washington Post offers an alternative view to the mainstream emphasis on carbon emission reduction.
What is clear to me is that what we face will not be solved in what has become the popular fashion of sound bites and divisive rhetoric, often leaning on shaky logical underpinnings. It’s going to be hard work.
As Roud states in his post, “all elements of society have a vested interest in the problem of climate change”. I couldn’t agree more.
Whether an MBA, blue collar worker, liberal, conservative, or libertarian, the climate simply doesn’t care. It will react to our actions as a species, not by any of the myriad sub-groups we assign ourselves and each other.
We can disagree and engage in honest debate about how to deal with climate change, but the time for posting a picture of Hillary Clinton riding a broom as a comment about global warming is long over.
It’s time we all grew up.