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Monday, June 25, 2018

Academics & Research

Passing the blame for climate change


The on-going idea of climate change has been attributed to people and natural disasters. Yet to the scientists presenting their thoughts at the Law Center’s luncheon Thursday, the real driving force of climate change is the political arena.

“Science is being ruined by politics, and politics is ruining education,” said Willie Soon, an astrophysicist and geoscientist.

The debate-style forum of the presentation titled “Examining the Science of Climate Change” was led by Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and John Nielsen-Gammon, state climatologist and regents professor at Texas A&M University.  

Nielsen-Gammon said he agreed with Soon and said that many methods of climate study lack proper calibration, which can lead to misleading conclusions with the general public. Nielsen-Gammon said he feels that a human’s impact to climate change through common dioxide was minimal.

Soon said he agreed and he felt that human contribution to climate change was barely present.

“You spend more carbon dioxide walking two miles than you would if you drove the two miles,” Soon said.

A person walking two miles would be burning energy or food from the person. This food was most likely grown, cooked, transported and sold. That process would emit more CO2 than a brief two-mile drive, Soon said.

After the presentation, the conversation continued. Scientists in the audience had a chance to present their own ideas about climate change.

One of these scientists, Harold Doiron who works for NASA as a consultant said there is a difference between climate change and the scientific approach to it.

“If you want to follow climate science follow us, but if you want to follow climate change, follow the money,” Doiron said.

Larry Bell, UH director of Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and author of “Climate of Corruption,” said people aren’t the only factor in climate change and that other aspects play a role in it.

“The idea that global warming is caused by humans is a hoax,” Bell said.

Boston’s sea level is lower because of the new sky scrapers they just built, but Galveston’s sea level change is because of water taken from the aquifers, Soon said.

Tom Wysmuller, a former NASA meteorologist, said everything is cyclical. The real issue with climate change is what happens in the ocean. The top of the ocean radiates back to the atmosphere, Wysmuller said. He said scientists should be focusing more on keeping it balanced.

Dorion said despite the ocean’s prominent role to climate, in academia there is no federal-funded research group that studies anything but carbon dioxide.

Soon said people accuse scientists of being money-driven, but he said he is not.

“People imply I may be here for money, and I show him my raggedy bag and ask them ‘Does it look like I am here for money?’”

He said his compassion lies with evidence and data and that people choose whatever facts represent their ideology and then claim those arguments as theirs, regardless of evidence.

Both speakers agreed on the complexity of humans trying to comprehend something so beyond us such as climate change. Even the experts have a lot of unanswered questions, and scientists and future scientists should persevere and keep studying harder.

“Climate science changes every day, it is very complicated,” Soon said.

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