‘Thinking people’ choose more than one source
To the Editor:
I could comment on much of what John McLaughry says in his column of July 28th. But readers by now realize that he rejects climate science, and the data that supports it. Thus, I will refrain from point-by-point comments.
His latest column is basically a book where he endorses one that a noted climate skeptic has written that says climate science is not settled. Notably, the author’s only endorsements are from other climate skeptics (of which there are thankfully not that many anymore).
But I want to pick up on one thing that John says which could be interpreted as an insult to all of us. He states that “After a careful reading of [the Koonin book] thinking people are likely to believe that they are being fed insupportable exaggerations both by ignorant and sometimes corrupted producers and translators of The Science, and interests that are cynically promoting climate panic to advance their own economic and political fortunes.”
“Thinking people” are those who do not take the opinion of one author who writes a book on climate change. Thinking people are those who realize that the “interests” that have the biggest stake in trying to peddle misinformation on climate change are those that will lose money if measures are taken to stop it.
Instead of reading one book, “thinking people” would be better served by taking a look at the multi-author, multi-scientist report put out by the U.S. Government every four years.
Congress mandates that the federal government issue a National Climate Assessment (NCA) every four years, created through a collaborative effort of 14 different federal agencies. One was put out during the Obama Administration and then again during the Trump Administration. A new version will come out next year. This report is easy to read and each of its chapters (for example on heat, rainfall, extreme storms, etc.) has specific observations on the Northeast U.S. where we live, as well as projections for the future.
The Executive Summary of the 2017 National Climate Assessment, issued by the Trump Administration, can be found at https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/executive-summary/.
“Thinking people” have actually come to their own conclusions on climate change, as evidenced by recent polling. Yale research released last March shows that Americans who think global warming is happening outnumber those who think it is not happening by more than 4 to 1 (70 percent versus 15 percent). It also shows that 54 percent of Americans are either alarmed or concerned about climate change, versus only 17 percent who dismiss it at this point.
Mr. McLaughry should perhaps take a step back from his constant effort to discredit climate change. He is not doing Vermonters any favors, and likely doing them harm, by trying to play down climate change, with the possible result being that the necessary response to it is delayed.
The author is a senior fellow for climate & energy at Vermont Law School.