There’s no denying how science describes global warming

Letter to the Editor, The Times of  Gainesville, Georgia
October 24, 2013

The letter by W.T. Hinds in The Times on Friday cannot be permitted to stand unanswered. His inaccurate and distorted description of this year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report is breathtaking.

I have no notion of his intent in describing the IPCC Report as a political document. IPCC, a body established by the United Nations, has been a driving force in asking questions and urging scientists to do the research that can answer the critical questions about the warming of the Earth’s atmosphere and its waters, which was first reported in 1979. Reports are summaries, analyses and predictions derived from thousands of scientific studies.

The IPCC is meticulous in reporting level of certainty for all data and conclusions reported. The information is collected and made available to governments (political entities) so that they may develop remedies and prepare their nations for the radical changes coming. Science, the journal of record for general science states: “The latest assessment includes plenty of highly confident statements about how humans are messing with the climate… In fact, the new report presents the consensus range (how much/how soon) with far more certainty than ever before.” The full report and the excellent summary may be found at www.ipcc.ch.

Mr. Hinds quotes a single meteorologist known for years for his stance denying the facts of the Earth’s changing climate. Highly compensated by carbon-based energy industries, Dr. Richard Lindzen’s claims that the Earth is no longer warming have been readily refuted by many. This from the National Geographic website: “‘If you take 1998 out, there is no pause,’ (Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist with NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) said. According to NASA data, the 10 hottest years since 1880 have all happened since 1998, with 2010 being the hottest of all.”

The falsehoods repeated by Mr. Hinds and his selected mentor, Lindzen, are not simple differences of opinion. They rise to the level of psychological denial and are an invitation to dangerous willing ignorance.

W. Lorraine Watkins


More on violence

I don’t believe limiting or at least delaying access to lethal weapons will resolve all or even most issues of alienation and violence. I also don’t see how unlimited access is related to freedom.

Knowing of and fearing violence in this country has already led to severe limitations on travel and full joyful participation in certain public events and the fear continues to spread.  Now every time I shop at the Gainesvile  PetSmart I wonder if the people in front of me are likely to pull out guns as they did a few weeks ago. Now I find myself being less trustful and friendly in chatting with strangers standing in line.

While individual pursuits bring their own esteem and joy, participation with others in common ventures and goals bring trust and the sense of importance and belonging. It diminishes the feelings of alienation that drives the rage at and fear of faceless others (the public) that creates mass killers.  IMO we as a culture have tipped the balance too far away from public projects in favor of privatization of enterprises which by definition lead to a less cooperative and more competitive, even dangerous social atmosphere. Inevitably there are those who become so excluded by lack of power, fraud, random chance or incompetence that they become alienated and fodder for violence.

Average people living in nations that have public spaces and shared activities along with a modicum of decent conditions of living are just more peaceful and happier. The need for collaborative national events, projects and goals is proven in the very fact that “terrorism” is defined as violence against the public and those episodes do bring so more widespread reactions than “private violence.”  About the only projects of any size the citizens in this nation have shared in for years is the violence of war.