By Iris Ray Nunn
I just watched Oxford Uni's Head to Head on YouTube, a debate by world experts about whether human-made climate change was fact or fiction. It was interesting to hear a world-renowned sceptic on the subject, atmospheric scientist Richard Lindzen, admit that human-made climate change was 'possible'.
One wonders why 'possible' is not enough to inspire action to 'possibly' avert catastrophe?
Lindzen made a valid point when he said the environmental movement employed alarmist language to idealise the issue: 'Avert Catastrophe', 'Save the Planet', 'Our Planet is Dying'. He also stated that our movement only put forward what he called 'symbolic solutions': wind, solar, recycling, weak policies to reduce carbon emissions etc etc.
Another good point.
But then again, we don't claim to be scientists. No. Rather, we're looking to the scientific community for viable solutions.
So where are they?
The most directive thing I have heard from the scientific community this week has been 'revolt'.
Sceptical or not about climate change, scientists are not in an enviable position at this point in human history, charged as they are with responsibility for predicting what could happen if the planet continues to warm – and then offer solutions based on unknowns that often require lengthy debates.
In all that, my question to sceptics on climate change is this: If the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2013 Report, representing the views of more than 800 scientists, is possibly right that the climate is warming due to human behaviour, then I would like the sceptics to consider something my mother used to say; 'Isn't it better to be safe than sorry?'
How about we strike a deal to remove any confusion from the debate: even though the evidence for climate change is frightening to me, as an environmental activist I promise to stop using alarmist language and will encourage my colleagues to do the same, if you promise to stop debating small details and let 'it is possible' be enough to put your considerable expertise to work developing grown-up solutions to avert 'possible' devastation to our home, the Planet Earth.
After all, I agree, we're mostly only visionaries with 'gut feelings' that tell us that digging massive holes in the earth and burning materials found therein is not sustainable and dangerous to the health of the ecosystems that sustain life on our planet.
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