Asking the questions
to get the result you want....

(from Howard Curnow; published in Methodist recorder, 22 Dec 11, and reproduced by permission)

When I read (Methodist Recorder, 8 Dec) "99 per cent of scientists believe that there is a link between human activity and climate change", my first reaction was not to say "then they must be right" but to wonder who conducted the survey, how they selected their sample group, who decided what were "relevant fields" and what questions were asked.

And when I went on to read about "the lobby against the plain science, funded largely by vested interests and laissez-faire politicians", I felt sure I was into the realms of propaganda rather than comment.

How much (if at all) the planet is warming and, if it is, whether carbon dioxide resulting from human activity is the cause, are issues which need to be the subject of ongoing study and investigation, not treated as if they were articles of faith, making those who have questions about them into heretics.

That the proportion of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has increased (though remaining a very small part) and that it is a greenhouse gas, are facts, but some of the predictions made on the back of these two facts are more the products of vivid imagination than scientific deduction.

I have heard suggestions that thould the Arctic ice melt this will result in (horrendous) rises in sea levels - however, O level Physics and Archimedes' Principle tell me that the melting of sea ice does not and cannot lead to rises in sea levels.

In a work of fiction ("Breathless", by Dean Koontz), one of the characters says this: "When a scientist tells you that 'the science is settled' in regard to any subject, he's ceased to be a scientist and has become an evangelist for one cult or another. The entire history of science is that nothing in science is ever settled." In the book, this had nothing whatever to do with climate change, but it seems to echo the way in which much of the discussion about climate change has gone since the term "global warming" was first used (30, 40 years ago?).

It may be that there are vested interests between much 'climate change' scepticism funding, but might there not be different, but no less real, vested interests behind 'believers' when it comes to finance?

We will not get closer to the truth about global warming (or anything else) unless we are willing to ask awkward questions which challenge the orthodoxy of the day.

Rev. Howard Curnow, Devon.

published by Habitat21, 9 Jan 2012, with thanks to Methodist Recorder and HC

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