While watching the last Village of Valemount council meeting (March 22nd, 2016) on YouTube, I almost fell out of my chair when Mayor Townsend made the following statement at 54:00:
“They’ve dropped the global warming terms since NASA announced there has been no warming since 1998, so now it’s called climate change”.
This is not only incorrect, it’s grossly irresponsible for anyone in a role of leadership to have the audacity to mislead the public with such nonsensical woo. I’ve come to ignore most of the current Mayor’s dated rhetoric over the past year; but as a huge proponent for the scientific method and critical/skeptical thinking, I can’t in good conscience let such scientifically incorrect information spawn publicly from someone who obviously has no scientific understanding of what climate change really
is and what NASA’s official position is on it.
First off, climate change is global warming, it’s just more encompassing. As it states right on the NASA site:
“Within scientific journals, this is still how the two terms are used. Global warming refers to surface temperature increases, while climate change includes global warming and everything else that increasing greenhouse gas amounts will affect.”
It’s also fact that both NASA and over 97% of published climate scientists today agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are real, and all indicators point to human-caused greenhouse gas emissions as the catalyst. Moreover, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position.
Note the specificity of “published climate scientists” in that above statement. This is an important identifier because it’s the lacking premise so many “global warming deniers” fail to communicate. They cherry-pick warming denying scientists (the very few out there I might add), that have no practical or current knowledge about the earth’s climate system and spew it off as hard science-based evidence that global warming is a myth. Those cherry-picked endorsements are nothing short of meaningless! This is akin to seeking out an optometrist to treat lung cancer instead of going to a lung cancer specialist.
I have no idea where the Mayor got the idea that NASA changed its position on human-caused global warming, but I suspect it may have been seeded from a letter submitted to NASA back in the spring of 2012. The letter was from 49 former NASA employees opposing NASA’s official position on human CO2 emissions causing global warming/climate change. They include 25 administrators, 8 astronauts, 7 engineers, 5 technicians, and 4 scientists/mathematicians. An impressive list on the surface, but little more than 49 former NASA employees who, combined, have zero climate expertise, zero climate science publications, and zero years of climate field study. source: http://www.skepticalscience.com/NASA-climate-denialist-letter.html
If anyone wants to know what NASA’s true climate change position is based on fact and not the Mayor’s dated rhetoric, I recommend obtaining it direct from the source: http://climate.nasa.gov/
As most of us know, earth’s climate is extremely dynamic. It’s one of the largest, most complex systems of interrelated variables and feedback systems mankind has ever studied and is attempting to fully understand. Do I claim to understand the Earth’s climate? Not remotely; it’s on several orders of magnitude larger in scope than the layman not trained in climate science can comprehend.
That said, I listen to and believe specialists who have devoted their educational and professional lives studying,
hypothesizing, peer reviewing, and coming up with working theories that are supported by data, predictors, and repetition. When the vast majority of academia in the same & related fields concur, little doubt remains of what is fact, and what is fiction. That is after all the truth and awesome power of the scientific method. The best truth of the day with no predisposed positions or agendas to what is convenient, comforting, or beneficial.
Global warming or whatever Mayor Townsend wishes to call it, could after all turn out to be a flawed theory if some large missing piece of the climate puzzle is revealed; the truth of science demands it. I’m the first one to admit I would rejoice such a discovery; guilt free power-sports again, ya-hoo! Unfortunately for us, and much of life on our planet, that is not what the data is showing, nor what most of the dedicated men & women whose life work is understanding Earth’s climate are agreeing on, and trying their very best to communicate.
I strongly feel it’s the job and moral obligation of elected officials to correctly relay that information despite their own personal beliefs or views. If they can’t get that simple yet fundamental aspect of truthful & sincere governance correct, how can they be charged to make informed decisions that affect all of us? Yep, now I’m living in denial…