Sunday, April 18, 2021

Reader: Federal Conservative Party Denying Reality

Dear Editor:

Although I saw the letter you received in response to my own letter submitted March 9th, I planned to ignore it. Presumably The Editor doesn’t need readers lobbing sticks and rocks back and forth at each other in the paper like it’s their own private chat room etc. Already did what I could. Better to just walk away.

Then today, a major political party, in Canada, in 2021, voted at their policy convention to refuse to add the words “We recognize that climate change is real” into their official Party platform. Fifty-four percent of Conservative delegates do not want the Conservative Party of Canada’s official platform to recognize that Climate Change is real. That’s some important Climate Change Denial right there. Pretty awkward for the Leader of the Party. Pretty bad news for any Country that might be thinking of electing them to govern.

So I re-read the letter you received about my submission. The gentleman from Clarksburg’s letter seems to me to say that he has no formal education in climate science. Has not taught the subject, conducted research on the topic, published a single paper in a peer-reviewed academic journal covering climate change topics, and doesn’t appear to have worked in a climate change-related job. I expect if any of that had happened he would have mentioned it in his letter. I’m not in a position to judge, but he references his credentials in a field or fields that have absolutely nothing to do with Climate Change research and they sound admirable. Just not relevant to a climate change discussion. He then goes on to imply that the real Climate Change scientists, who have in most cases devoted their entire professional careers to advancing their chosen field and our knowledge, have it all wrong. And that a bunch of other people who don’t actually do any work in the area support that view too.

It’s the part right before he calls me arrogant.

I expect that had a Climate Scientist come into Mr. Hartlen’s workplace to tell him his work product was total bunk his response would have centred around either “Who are you to say so?” and “Get out!”

It’s simple really. If we break our leg badly most of us head off to see a Medical Doctor trained in orthopaedic medicine. Not my friend Tim – a Doctor of Philosophy. Very few of us say, “I wonder if the guy down at the auto shop could set this? Or the kids’ Orthodontist? Do you know any really good geologists or geophysicists?” We want to see – and listen to – the advice of someone who’s spent their entire career in the field of – fixing badly broken legs. We want and need to listen to the experts.

I’m not a climate scientist either. My lowly Bachelor’s Degree (Hons., Biochemistry) only tells people I managed to pass enough courses in Biochemistry, Chemistry, Organic, Inorganic, Analytical , and Physical Chemistry, Physics, Biology, and a bunch of required Statistics and Probability stuff. Nothing more. (Kind of just scraped through the Physics parts if you want the honest truth. Aced the Organic. But they handed me the degree. And I kept it.)

Studying Biochemistry did make it shockingly clear to me how blissfully ignorant of my discipline other experienced scientists generally were, and how absolutely precious little I understood of theirs. You don’t find Biochemists talking to Inorganic Chemists at parties. Too little in common to talk about. I wouldn’t tell a Botanist, “I kinda think you misidentified the Kingdom and Division there, chum”. And you will never catch this guy trying to tell a genuine Climate Scientist with 40 years of experience at NASA or NOAA that “Me and the gang think you’re way off base. And a few of us are geophysicists, you know. We even have an Economist!” Simply doesn’t happen. I’m not that stupid. Or arrogant.

All those science classes did one thing else though. When I read the original work of some of the world’s foremost Climate Scientists, the books were easier to understand. Anybody who wants to could understand them really, but it was a tiny bit easier for people with my background. Books like James Hansen’s Storms of my Grandchildren, Michael Mann’s The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars, or Stephen Schneider’s Science as a Contact Sport. I learned to see through the lies and learned about the liars who tell the lies about Climate Change from Naomi Oreskes’s The Merchants of Doubt. It helped me enjoy both the science facts and the sad truth about Climate Denier nonsense in Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything.

Another quick tip of the hat to Naomi Oreskes. She regularly publishes an update to her important original paper. It looked at all the published work of the people who actually do climate change research. The people who understand it and know the science of climate change. The doctors you’d go to to get your broken leg set, not the auto repair guys, of Climate Change. The experts you can trust. Last version said 97% of the world’s experts on the subject believe climate change is both man-made and dangerous. The last 3% are still quibbling about “by how much” not “if”. So they are included in the “not completely on board” 3% still. There are no qualified scientists working in the field of Climate Change still denying that Climate Change is real and a serious danger to us all. And especially my grandkids. And yours.

Fifty-four percent of the Federal Conservatives still denying the reality though. That ain’t gonna help them get elected. Not at all. That could get a fellow just angry enough to grab his keyboard.

Bruce Mason, Meaford

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