We owe future generations our best efforts to preserve the planet

Posted 17 February 2019 at 8:09 am


This is in response to Kimberly Kennedy and her position on climate change. She requests data and evidence.

The topic is being studied by thousands of people. These people start their study by first spending years of their lives to get advanced degrees at universities – building their ability to comprehend the subject. They then obtain jobs at universities and research institutions, where they then spend their careers specializing in a very narrow slice of science.

They study the climate, take ice core samples in the artic, measure aspects of our oceans, and design satellites to record environmental data. Detailed information gets shared at talks at local universities, conferences throughout the world, and is published in tens of thousands of pages of scientific journals.

Anyone who wants direct access to the data and evidence can read the journals either at a major library or though places such as the American Physical Society (aps.org). However, this can be a very difficult and time-consuming task as the journals can be hard to understand without sufficient training. But if you have the time this option is there. I personally don’t have that much spare time available.

The manageable and trustworthy alternative is to read the reports that these scientists generate for the public. Yes, institutions such as NASA, NOAA, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are places where knowledgeable scientists work on such reports.

I’ve seen no comparable diligence behind the arguments of those who feel a need to publicly express disbelief in climate change. Having any stretch of cold weather is not all the proof you need that things are just fine. Very little time and effort seems to be put into developing solid evidence to support their position, yet they often quickly dismiss the work of experts. And referencing experts is not being lazy.

Let’s step back and consider the topic of fossil fuels for a moment. Think of the word fossil. Fossil fuels have built up in the ground over a period of hundreds of thousands to a few million years. Over the last several decades we have been accessing more and more of these deposits and burning them. Doesn’t it seem to be common sense that releasing this material back into our environment so quickly might result in consequences?

If climate change does result in a bad future, there isn’t any easy alternative to the Earth for us to go to. It seems to me to be prudent to hedge our bets and pursue the reasonable and affordable options of renewable energy that we have available. We are just short-term occupants of our planet and we owe it to those who will follow us to preserve our planet as best we can.

Jason Dragon, Ph.D. – Physics, SUNY Buffalo, ‘97