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Reader Ronald wrote:
The real inconvenient truth is that our scientists have no credibility on this issue – some of us still remember their global cooling scare from the early 70s, and their ridiculous proposed remedies (black powder over the ice caps, anyone?). Had we listened to them then, God knows what a mess we’d be in now. We should conserve energy so we have enough of it to last a longer time, and because coal is dirty and oil enriches our enemies. And we should face reality, and another inconvenient truth, and get on with the nuclear power plants that will be the only truly effective answer to our energy needs. And we should stop riding this latest special interest trend of global warming hysteria.
The science of global warming is very sound. I think there is no disputing that the average global temperature is rising. Also there is no denying that CO2 levels in the atmosphere are increasing also. For some info on this see the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I Report.). There is some uncertainty about how these changes will affect the global climate but the science there is getting better and better.
What is startling is that many of the early estimates of warming are being corroborated with new and better models. We are essentially refining the estimates, but most of them fall within the ranges that were generated 30 years ago. For a history of the science of global warming see The Discovery of Global Warming. It covers the global cooling issue.
I appreciate your comments about nuclear. I am not sure yet that nuclear is the solution, but what I do know is that the two coal power plants built in China each week are a disaster. I think the issue is to weigh the risks of nuclear (fuel storage, e.g.) against the potential future outcomes of climate change. We need to have an honest debate about this issue. Unfortunately, this is such a politicized issue, I don’t think it will get an honest and objective hearing.