How to talk to US conservatives about global warming
Michael Barnard
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I contend you have dismissed a large swath of Americans who see this issue in a completely different light. I identify as conservative or libertarian. To deny that the climate is changing is silly. However, I would ask any recognized scientist to show evidence of a time in our history when the climate was not changing. Further, the “observation” that science touts has a very short timeline. The earth is many millions of years old, and we are focusing on a snapshot in time. So far, the evidence that man is causing climate change is far from conclusive. The vast majority of studies are based on computer models, not a library of empirical evidence. Also in the group of recognized climate ‘experts’ we count some scientists and non-scientists whose field of study is far from specialized.

This debate also centers on an interesting assumption: that the climate of our youth is the optimum climate for the earth. Very shortsighted. Greenland wasn’t so named because it is a frozen ice chest — it was once green and lush. I haven’t heard any scientist express concern over its former crop-producing climate as a disaster of the ages. We are more concerned that the world we have become accustomed to may be negatively effected: we have built on coastlines, in flood plains, in areas such as New Orleans that are even below sea level — at the coast line! It doesn’t take much brainpower to see a connection between location and disaster. The assumption that all the current human race is used to, and all that we have done to ignore nature’s constraints may be done with impunity is troubling and puzzling.

One more factor to consider: avoid fake news, such as:

“…2017’s unprecedented string of high-severity hurricanes”

This claim is easily debunked by going to primary sources, such as NOSA, where I found the following:

“Landsea et al. (2010) documented a rather large increase in short-lived tropical storms and hurricanes in the last decade, which is likely due to improved monitoring capabilities, that may be influencing the climatological average number of TCs in the Atlantic basin. With the artificial jump in the 2000s in the frequency of short-lived systems, a more realistic estimate of the long-term climatology may be closer to 13 tropical storms and hurricanes per year.
* 1950 is recorded as the busiest season in the whole database for number of Major Hurricanes with 8.
+ 1886 is recorded as the most active hurricane season for the continental USA with 7 landfalling hurricanes.”

Available data include the the 2017 hurricane season: there were a total of 10 hurricanes, with six of them labeled “major.” While this reveals the season to be higher than average, it is by no means “unprecedented,” nor is it anywhere near the worst year on record, which is 1950. Gee, isn’t that long before the global warming crisis?

There are many of us out here, both liberal and conservative, who resist the panic mentality to “do something!” in favor of data-based conclusions — not computer models. The earth’s climate has undergone ice ages and warming cycles for millennia. I’d like to see the evidence that man caused those cycles.

There is no question that we must insist on responsible stewardship of our world. But that same responsibility demands that we don’t jump off the bridge without thinking. So far, there is no empirical proof that man is causing the change we see — only that change is occurring.

So….how do you talk to a conservative about global warming? Use facts and avoid hyperbole. That’s a good start. And remember that correlation doesn’t equate to causation.

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