Austin Stahl | firstname.lastname@example.org | @AustinStahl24
A recent Post letter caught my attention. It was written by Dylan Gustafson, a sophomore studying finance and the communication chair for the OU College Republicans, and talked about global warming. It can be read here.
Last week, the Ohio University College Republicans hosted Robert Wagner, a professor at Ohio State, to give a talk about global warming as part of their Conservative Week. The letter said“Professor Wagner himself is a skeptic of global warming and has gone around the country explaining and debating his own theories about certain occurrences in nature and their relation to the activities of the human population.”
Unfortunately, I had class and was not able to attend the presentation, but I decided to do some background research. The letter did not mention that Wagner is a professor of finance and economics at Ohio State University and is not an expert in the field of climate science.
Gustafson also claimed, “the topic of global warming and its validity isn’t going away anytime soon.”
I agree and disagree. Global warming certainly isn’t going away anytime soon — the earth will continue heating up whether we like it or not. However, the validity of it has already been established. There really is no debate over whether the earth is heating up; every temperature record will show that. The question is, how much of it is caused by humans?
Even here, scientists are almost unanimously in agreement that we are indeed contributing to climate change. According to a study published in the National Academy of Sciences, 97-98 percent of top climate scientists agree that global warming is attributable to human activity.
Gustafson also wrote, “It was rare that you turn on a television and saw a scientist or a professor talking about the facts in context or without political motivation. Most of the time, it was a politician and some piece of legislation he or she was going to bring to the floor of the House or Senate.”
Bingo. We have arrived at the problem. By continuing to make the debate political instead of scientific, we are hindering progress toward addressing the problem. If it were kept scientific without these outside political factors, there really would be no debate. The scientists are already in agreement.
Gustafson’s statement may be true, but I find it misleading, making it sound like all scientists and professors have political motivation behind their work. Perhaps it is rare to find something unbiased on TV, but there are many scientific articles and countless scientific studies that have nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with science.
It’s 2012 — one would hope we would have reached a consensus by now and be moving forward as a society, collectively working together to fight climate change. Instead, it remains a political football, where science is sometimes ignored in favor of “skeptics.”
Meanwhile, the earth continues to heat up, and more extreme weather events occur. Good luck, kids!