In today’s The Age Geoff Strong repeats federal Environment Minister Ian Campbell’s announcement of last week in The Australian, and Tim Flannery’s recommendation in The Weather Makers, that we should stop debating the science of global warming and just accept a human influence on climate.
But why would a secular society that respects evidence and the scientific process ever stop researching and debating an issue as important as climate change?
Let’s say we all broadly accepted the pronouncements of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Tim Flannery’s and Geoff Strong’s of the world – that is we all broadly accepted anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Wouldn’t we nevertheless still encourage debate and discussion and fund scientists to continue to scrutinize the emerging theories and test the predictions?
We still fund scientists to challenge and debate Einstein‘s Theory of Relativity.
As I understand it, the difference between science and a religion is that the latter is essentially faith-based. There is no real potential for debate of the core issue. Growing up in a Christian community I’ld always been told belief in God is ultimately a question of faith.
I am an atheist, however, I respect those who believe in God and I don’t challenge their belief, because I understand that it is ultimately a question of faith.
Is this how we want to proceed with global warming issues? If this is the case then let’s remove the discussion from the discipline of science and let us proceed as we might with an issue of faith.
I hear the followers of Tim Flannery et al say, but Jennifer, it is not that we don’t want discussion, it is just that if there was less debate there would be more action.
Really? As far as I can tell we’ve got Kyoto and while the Australian government hasn’t signed up it is intent on meeting its Kyoto targets.
Furthermore, neither the Prime Minister of Australia nor the President of the United States have recently denied the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW). Quite the contrary! Didn’t President Bush go along with all the rhetoric at the recent meeting in Scotland? Prime Minister Howard just says it doesn’t make economic sense – he doesn’t argue the science. If the Australian Conservation Foundation and a few others weren’t so opposed to nuclear power we could start putting in place plans to swap from coal to nuclear etcetera and really do something about the rising atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. There are no shortage of real technical and political options all of which will have economic and environmental implications.
Couldn’t one of more of these options be pursued while the debate about the science of climate change was encouraged?
Unless we want to insist that AWG is a core belief – a faith – then criticism and debate should really be encouraged?