Climate change needs scientists and engineers

They say igorance is bliss. But if you don’t understand what’s going on it’s easier to pass over the difficult stuff and focus on something else–blissfully unaware.

All this talk about climate change is confusing. In some parts of India it’s hitting 51 centigrade. The Paris talks on climate change were supposed to keep warming to 2 degrees in 20 years’ time. How come hundreds of people in India are dying of heat stroke right now?

And then there’s reports about CO2 emissions being decoupled somehow from energy consumption, but then what’s going on when CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere keep increasing, and we are now at more than 400 ppm compared to less than 300 ppm a few decades back? And how big is a tiny ppm anyway and what does it all mean?

So one way to look at it is to ask who’s in charge. If you’re in a train or an airplane you might expect the driver or pilot to at least be qualified. To know a bit more than you about what he’s doing. To have a bit of training you might say. You wouldn’t expect a dentist to be driving your train, or an economist to be flying your plane. You might say: hang on a sec. Does anyone here know what they’re doing?

The truth is that most of the people in charge of managing climate change and proposing solutions really don’t know what they are doing. We’ve got lawyers, sociologists, political scientists, and all sorts of people trying to take charge and saying they can lead us out of the mess we’re in. But the signs are not good. Take Ted Cruz. Ted was trained as a lawyer. So basically Ted doesn’t know hydroponics from hydropower, and thinks hydropower is probably what you need to get your hydroponic tomatoes up and running. So everyone should have a bit of hydropower in his garden to keep the lawn green. Makes sense.

Ted also thinks there’s only one satellite that counts: the one that can’t detect any temperature rise on Earth. Ted really likes this satellite. Never mind that everyone else’s data (and that’s like every national research agency on the planet) points to a definite and continuing increase in global temperatures. But Ted’s not interested in comparing notes and figuring out what going on, is he? That’s not what lawyers do.

And then there’s Donald Trump. Do you really want a real estate mogul running your climate change policy? Donald thinks that climate change can be negotiated. You gotta love it. Exactly who is Donald going to negoiate with in order to reduce the impacts of climate change? Does he think he can get a better deal with the melting greenland ice sheet?

But wait: BREAKING NEWS !!

You guessed it. Trump just loves buiding stuff. He’s got walls going up all over the place. Why not Greenland? Why not the Greenland icesheet? You can’t get any bigger than that. And what better way to deal with melting ice than to build a wall around it. Works for me.

There’s a whole lot of stuff that Trunp doesn’t understand, but of course that never stopped Donald Trump from ignoring anything science-based that might put a spoke in the Trump wheel of fortune. It will of course be extremely gratifying to watch as the Trump real estate on the Florida south east coast gradually and inexorably gets flooded out. It may take a few more years but stay tuned.

Many reporters are not much better. They mix up megawatts (power) with megawathours (energy). They think a 3 megawatt wind turbine always delivers 3 megawatts when its operating, just like they believe a 5 MW photovoltaic plant always produces 5 MW during the day. That little word ‘peak’ attached to the 5 MW is ignored.

And then there’s the ‘free speech’ debate. This argument has it that even if you know absolutely diddly squat, you have the right to be heard. To stand up and be counted. To get your five minutes in court.

This is the argument used by the climate change deniers that insist on being given equal time in front of the media. But the climate change debate is not about free speech. The debate is about the science of climate change: what we are sure about; what is certain; and what still needs work and further study. Above all it is about trying to define and quantify the threats that are confronting the planet. The pseudo-scientists that are in the pocket of the oil and petrochemical companies? Sorry guys, you don’t qualify. Climate change is a serious issue—one that needs to be examined and discussed by people who know what they are talking about. The climate change deniers are wasting our time with their ploys, their games, and their nonsense.

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