Why Aren’t Climate Scientists Making More Whoopee?

Charles barkley laughing, climate changeComment by Mark Kneubuhl –

(June 11, 2012)  I like to watch sports. I love the playoffs of any sport. I could happily watch the national Curling championship!  Every evening as of late, I’ve been busy with the NBA playoffs.

I start with the pre-game show hosted by several former athletes, now sportscasters, pontificating about every aspect of the upcoming game.  It’s remarkable what these people know about the game and the players themselves. They know all their stats, any medical issues, how well one may “match-up” against another, their shoe size and even their favorite restaurants.  These pundits may even be psychic! They often correctly predict a game’s outcome and at halftime and they’ll quote –verbatim, what the coach is telling his players in the private confines of the locker room.

Last night, while in my usual state of awe over this extraordinary display of sports knowledge and extrasensory perception, I thought about the environment.

Admittedly, the thought came from way out in left field, but couldn’t help to draw some similarities between sportscasters talking about sports, and the media discussing the environment.

Loaded with a wealth of information, sports pontiffs scrutinize every aspect of the game to the ninth degree and then make their prediction. Then they write about it in some sports journal or talk about it in a televised group forum.

Loaded with a wealth of information, the scientists scrutinize every aspect of various environmental problems without making any prediction and generally remain silent about their finding.

The term “tipping point” was popularized in 1982, but while the theory of a point of no return has been proven over and over through ever-powerful super-computer models, no scientist has yet to put a date to the event.  A sportscaster would give us the day and the time!

Scientists, climate change activists and environmentalist alike contend that the real debate today is not whether the climate is changing but rather, to what degree and how much is influenced by human activity. It’s all about science, numbers and observations.

Non-scientists need to understand this as the nature of empirical science, while where the environment is concerned, the public is waiting for a climate scientist (for example), to make sportscaster predictions like, ‘global warming will reach a tipping on July 19, 2040, or that Bluefin Tuna will be all but extinct by the year 2018, or that in 15 years from now the average sea level will have risen by 25 centimeters.’

The public wants to hear specifics, which the science community can’t offer.

Why Aren’t Climate Scientists Making More Whoopee?

“Researchers find it hard to raise significant questions even within the climate science community for fear that it will be exploited by the skeptics,” says Daniel Sarewitz, the science and society professor from Arizona State University.

“Climate science is a huge, sprawling area of discussion,” explains Sarewitz, while skeptics are known to publicize knit-picked facts  as proof that the science linking human activity to global warming is questionable.

Still, I don’t think this is proper justification for scientists to remain silent.  Earlier in the playoffs, NBA Hall of Famer, Charles Barkley predicted that the LA Lakers would take the Oklahoma City Thunder in six games. I thought he was spot on while my son thought he was way off the mark.  So, my son and had a lot of fun mimicking the pundits while watching the series unfold.  Although sometimes heated, it was a healthy, week-long conversation that just added to all the hype.

Presently, and because of lack of willingness by scientists to comment more aggressively, the public is pretty much in the dark about climate change and often confuses the subject with that of meteorology.

Ask the average person what they think about climate change or global warming and the answer will invariably depend on the weather at the particular moment.

Virtually all climate scientists agree that now  -RIGHT NOW, is the time that governments need to act fast  to curb or delay a climate catastrophe, presently scheduled for sometime this century.

The public needs more information from real climate scientists, not Senators (Inhofe, for one), or not even the media who often propagate misconceptions about what is really happening.

Just Call The Game As You See It!

Sportscasters make predictions as a matter of discourse and usually they’re not far off the mark.

Some scientists need to take a lesson from Charles Barkley, especially when the outcome of their work may have dire consequences and threaten human civilization.  They need to learn to “call the game”.

When it comes to the apocalypse, us humans here would really appreciate a little heads-up.  And if you’re wrong –just like real sportscasters often are, we won’t hold it against you.

 

 

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Posted by at June 11, 2012
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