Letter to the Editor

Climate change: Safe, not sorry

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Anyone following the climate change issue should know that the scientific consensus is as follows: That climate change is happening is unequivocal. Surely there can be no conscious individual who doubts this any longer. In terms of the cause, the consensus is that there is greater than a 90 percent probability that human activities are a significant contributor. This is what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported in 2007. There has since been no research undermining that assessment.

If someone were diagnosed with cancer and sought further opinion -- as is reasonable -- and were advised that the probability of cancer is greater than 90 percent, he or she would have every right to seek further opinion and keep seeking it until finding one acceptable individual who says he or she is fine. He or she would have every right to reject the trained experts and accept the preferred advice. After all, if they die, he or she alone plus their friends and family suffer.

In the case of climate change, however, we are dealing with the future of life on the planet as we know it. If we reduce greenhouse gases and find they are not the cause, the worst case is we have a cleaner atmosphere. On the other hand, if we do nothing and just seek more research, we may reach the point of no return when our planetary life support system is totally devastated. In both cases, most folks would rather be safe than sorry. This reflects sanity, not politics.

ALAN JOURNET, Cape Girardeau