• Columnist off base on climate
    June 17,2013
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    Columnist off base on climate

    John McClaughry’s June 13 article, ‘‘Gut check on ‘climate change,’” is a preposterous, disingenuous mixture of red herrings and tortured metaphor. First, he says that the concept of global warming was renamed global climate change because the warming “failed to appear.” That’s dead false on two counts. First, the warming has appeared, and the global temperature anomaly curve that McClaughry himself refers to shows a huge upswing since about 1976. Second, the new name for the phenomenon is actually more accurate. In addition to temperature, climate includes patterns of precipitation, humidity, wind and seasons. Global warming, which is an easily verifiable fact, causes climate change, both globally and locally.

    The next part of McClaughry’s article states that governments should not take a role in responding to climate change. I guess he doesn’t think that government should try to protect social stability or the economic interests of the people, and he’s entitled to his opinion. Personally, I think that weather extremes such as drought and floods are a problem, not just for life in general but for people’s livelihoods in particular. Worldwide precipitation data show that the extreme rainstorms of each year are becoming much more extreme. This is no scare story. It’s simply a fact.

    As to McClaughry’s bizarre metaphors that compare climate scientists to theologians and scientific fact to goblins, it would be comic genius if it weren’t sincere. Ninety-eight percent of climate scientists agree that the extreme changes we see in the past several decades are caused by human activity. That’s called scientific consensus. Unfortunately, climate change denial (a syndrome largely confined to the United States) doesn’t just affect the deniers, but everyone. We must, as individuals, communities and governments, take action now to prevent further catastrophic changes that have already harmed, and will continue to harm, our ecosystems, our economy and our stability.


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