Last Sunday, in The Washington Post (“The fossil-fuel industry’s campaign to mislead the American people”), Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., called for his opponents in the global warming debate to be charged under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, the law designed to put organized crime bosses in prison. His logic seems to be that there’s a vast conspiracy being perpetrated against the American public regarding global warming by the fossil-fuel industry.
From where I sit, neither side in this debate has much credibility left. It doesn’t take any conspiracy by the fossil-fuel industry to come to this conclusion. The “truthers” have taken care of that all by themselves. Al Gore, in his 2007 movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” told us that the polar ice caps would be devoid of ice by 2013. Guess what didn’t happen?
We’ve also got truthers running all over the Arctic, finding polar bears swimming in open sea water, supposedly because there’s no ice left. Come to find out, this is normal behavior for polar bears. They’ve been swimming in open sea water for millennia.
I believe that it is possible that mankind has caused some negative effects on the global climate. I’m also positive that we don’t have enough observational data over a long enough period of time to make that conclusion irrefutable. Ice ages last tens of thousands of years. It seems reasonable that there would be a natural opposite period of hotter-than-normal temperatures that may last tens of thousands of years also. We may be going into a naturally hotter period, about which there is little we can do.
We do not know what’s going to happen with the weather next week with any real certainty, yet we are not supposed to question the accuracy of models projecting the next 50 or 100 years?
I’m actually embarrassed for the supposed scientists who say this is settled. I’m not a scientist, but what I can most certainly say is that little about science is ever completely settled, especially in the contentious field of climate science. The most important point of the scientific method is that theories must be questioned. Are there scientists being paid by either side to come to different conclusions? Probably on both sides.
The idea that those who question the theory of global warming should be brought up on RICO charges is reminiscent of the Spanish Inquisition and McCarthyism, and is a direct attack on the First Amendment, the key to all of our freedoms. It is amazing the senator would even think that, never mind state it publicly.
Senator Whitehouse has lost all perspective. This is politics at its worst, and has little to do with science. I urge him to stop with the rhetoric and do something to about the failing economy of his home state.
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