Basic physics

To the Editor:

James Kitler’s letter (“Celebrity Warmists”) in a recent issue of the Islander, argued that all sides of climate change should be heard. In the world of science, they are.

Kitler’s examples illustrate this: a new idea challenges the established paradigm and is examined by a community of relevant experts; at some point, a consensus is reached either to accept or reject. If accepted, there is a new paradigm. If rejected, its proponents concede and come back only if they have new evidence or an improved theory. Not an infallible process, but it has served society well for hundreds of years.

One can argue that nothing is ever proven in science with absolutely certainty, but some questions are settled for all practical purposes. The basic physics of how greenhouse gases warm the planet hasn’t changed since the 19th century. The idea that human activity, primarily burning fossil fuels, is now the dominant driver has been the scientific consensus for more than 20 years. Doesn’t sound like “constant buffeting” to me.

Today, some who reject the scientific consensus avoid the scientific community and instead argue their case in the court of public opinion. It appears they want to create doubt and delay for their own political or financial benefit. Of the thousands of peer-reviewed climate change articles published since 1991, only a handful have challenged the consensus. None has been convincing. The door is always open for a new idea in science, but the price of admission is having some facts to back it up.

Neither the scientific evidence nor NOAA support Kitler’s climate assertions. Instead of catering to some special interests and ignoring the problem, our political leaders should take action now based on the scientific consensus to avoid big and growing problems in the future. So should we all.

I don’t know what a “warmist” is, and I’m not a celebrity. But I welcome the opportunity to discuss climate science with anyone honestly interested in it.

John Fehlauer

Mount Desert

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