Celebrity ‘warmists’

To the Editor:

Last week, Bar Harbor witnessed polemics from two of its chief climate worriers, one at the annual town meeting and the other in an op-ed column in this paper.

I respectfully disagree.

I am a skeptic, or in the derogatory term used by true believers, a denier of global warming. I am not mean. I am not motivated by vast amounts of lucre bestowed on me by large carbon-emitting enterprises. Nor am I mindless.

There are very good reasons not to accept the theory of man-caused climate change. For one, the earth has not warmed for 18.5 years and counting, despite the continued increase of CO2. For another, while it is true the sea level is rising, it has been doing so since the Little Ice Age in the 18th century. According to our National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it has been doing so at only 1.3 millimeters per year, and this rate has been decreasing. Residents of Ireson Hill will not be wading to their mailboxes any time soon.

True believers assert the science is settled. Au contraire! Science is never settled. A century ago, scientists thought they knew how the world worked and were shaken to their socks when they were forced to confront the experiments, theories and mathematics of the new physics which has become known as quantum mechanics.

More recently, a physics experiment yielded results contradicting Einstein’s theory of general relativity. Scientists immediately set about examining the data and considering the implications should the results have held true. Alas, the results proved erroneous, and Einstein once again stands tall. But most importantly, no one was accused of bad faith or pursuing a personal agenda.

Climate is a subject area more akin to the hypotheses and bodies of knowledge surrounding life around deep sea vents or dark matter in space, that is, a complex, ill-defined system constantly buffeted by new findings.

Furthermore, fact finding, experiments and calculations stand on their own; the motivations and credentials of investigators are not relevant. It does not matter that virtually all researchers work for a living, often for organizations with a stake in their research results. Subsequent investigation will confirm or contradict the truth of their conclusions; it is well-accepted theories that may have to be revised, reconstituted or even rejected.

What this field needs is fewer charges of dishonesty and more honesty evaluating and discussing data and information, whatever the source. One failing of celebrity “warmists” is they will not meet publicly those with whom they disagree, nor do they exhibit particularly diminutive carbon footprints themselves.

As my favorite blogger Glenn Reynolds puts it, “I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who claim it’s a crisis act like it’s a crisis.”

James Kitler

Bar Harbor

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