climate change
pme's March 2014 cover

The process must continue

Just read your article “The debate is over.”

I don’t normally like to see political statements in my technical journals. It tends to lead me to believe that the people producing the journals are political animals and have an agenda other than good, solid engineering.

I hope your mind had writer’s block and you had a weak moment.

Even so, do you really believe the debate is over when it comes to a matter that is as far reaching as global climate change? When it comes to much smaller technical issues, the debate is never ending. There is always new information to be added, new discoveries and new theories. Claiming the debate is over shuts down the scientific process. That is a mistake. The world needs to debate this as much as possible.

In science, there are theories, proven with experiments and then repeatable experiments and then acceptance as a law. With global climate change, there are only theories and computer simulations. The experiment to test this theory is too big, it cannot be tested. It includes the entire planet. Results can only be inferred. So in essence, the theory has not been scientifically vetted. The naysayers are correct, global climate change is not a proven scientific fact.

The computer simulations that predicted doom and gloom for the world have been miscalculating too many times that the scientists need to keep going back and revising them. The computer simulations are just too complicated to predict an entire planet’s future. We are lucky if they can predict the weather accurately a week in advance, let alone decades from now.

The worst thing that happened to global climate change is that it became a political football when Al Gore decided to make it a partisan topic. Never mind that he doesn’t practice what he preaches by using more fossil fuels than the average American.

If the American people really believe the theories about the planet’s temperature changing so as to cause world havoc, they have an unbelievably cavalier attitude about it. It would be similar to standing in front a herd of buffalo stampeding straight at you and not bothering to side-step them because you’re too tired. I suspect that most Americans don’t believe that it is drastic, don’t believe it is man-made or simply don’t believe it. The scientific community has let the politicians do all the talking and politicians say things like “The debate is over.” 

Incidentally, the vast majority of scientists who believe that global climate change is real, do not align their thinking with the IPCC.

As an American citizen or a scientist, please say things like “the debate has just begun.”

John Milenius, PE, LEED AP BD +C
Director of Mechanical Engineering
Tec Inc. Engineering & Design
Eastlake, Ohio


Generational gap

You wrote a great article in the pme this month. I think if the polls of belief in climate change were segmented by age groups, those of us under 40 would be at least 90% believers.

I’ve seen these news shows where they “debate” global warming. I believe in free speech, but these anchors should be ashamed to go on television and blatantly argue against undeniable facts. They’ll take things out of context or not let the guests speak freely. It’s bizarre and infuriating.

I saw a show where a former senior executive with a major oil firm came on as a guest. He quit the oil business to concentrate on solving environmental problems. This news anchor just tore this guy to shreds and tried to punch holes in everything that was said. Rather than coming to terms on some common points, this hard-nosed, aggressive stance to deny global warming just propagates the ideas that all of our pollution hasn’t affected the environment. Let’s just call it climate change and move on.

My role as a sales engineer is to get engineers and contractors to step out of their box and look at the big picture when it comes to the true cost of jobs. “Yes the initial cost is higher, but you have a product that’s faster, safer, highly consistent, highly reliable and backed by a warranty.” 

Yet there are those individuals who don’t see the benefit. Recently in Scientific American magazine I read an article about Einstellung Effect. It puts some science to explain how people get this ‘old school’ mentality. If you have a minute, Google search Einstellung Effect.

Anyway, thanks for having the courage to speak the truth.

Dan Goellner
Industrial Accounts Manager

The debate rolls along

First, the Yale Project on Climate Change Communications? Really? Do you have even an inkling that this organization is any more unbiased than MSNBC or Fox News?

Second, climate change has been a fact since the very beginning of time. So, the fact that only 69% of Americans believe that “there is solid evidence of global warming” is evidence that overall, they really don’t know.

Barry Stephens
Zehnder America
Greenland, N.H.