Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shouldn’t the burden of proof be on climate change deniers that it isn’t happening?

When you think of it there is no solid evidence that tornadoes—like the one in Joplin, Missouri –haven’t been caused by Climate Change. 

But wouldn’t it be a reasonable assumption that future reporting on extreme weather events (which are predicted by Climate Change) would at least mention ‘Climate Change”? 

In this article by National Public Radio (NPR), I was amazed to hear, “There's also no solid evidence that tornadoes have been influenced by climate change.” (5/23/2011) Scientists At A Loss To Predict Bad Tornado Seasons : NPR  NPR mentioned Climate Change in the same article as a weather event. 

Mostly, though we don’t have our weather reports including Climate Change, even though Climate Change predicts more extreme weather, heat waves, droughts, more snowfall, less snow pack, rising water levels, more glacier melt, and a lot more.  Let’s face it, weather people haven’t been onboard with the latest climate science: On Global Warming, Scientists and TV Weathercasters Are at Odds - NYTimes.com 

The reasoning not to equate single weather events with climate change is probably sound at this point because the science of making causal relationships with individual events is in its infancy. 

But think about this: Given that a lot of the seven billion people trying to adapt to modern living are burning up carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases at an unprecedented rate since the Industrial revolutions (there were two) isn’t it a reasonable assumption that there would be atmospheric consequences? 

How can we understand the extreme weather events we are experiencing if we don’t include Climate Change in our assessments? 

What (and I know this notion is going to be interpreted as extreme) if we put the burden of proof on our weather predictors to prove that Climate Change wasn’t responsible for the increase in forest fires (Russia last summer,) floods (Pakistan last summer) and this week’s tornado?
A reasonably intelligent species trying to sustain their existence would take the knowledge they have about how their environment works and then do everything in their power to understand how their environment works before they started seriously meddling with it. 

Short of attainting all the facts and understanding of how such a complex system works, these reasonable intelligent creatures would then proceed cautiously, assuming the precautionary principle before embarking on say burning fossil fuels on a large scale.  Not having done that wouldn’t a reasonably intelligent creature then assume that if a billion folks who were suddenly (in the last two hundred years) burning fossil fuels which put a greenhouse gas into our atmosphere and into our oceans expect that it would wreak havoc on their weather? 

It seems reasonable to me that all of our fossil fuel burning would warm the planet—even if I couldn’t prove it beyond a climate change deniers exacting standards.  (Joke intended.)  It doesn’t seem to be reasonable for a reasonable species to assume that because climate scientists cannot exactly prove individual events are caused by Climate Change that they are not. 

Wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that Climate Change is changing our weather and our weather predictors would at least consider Climate Change in their understanding of our weather? 
This isn’t all just nonsense spilling from my mind.  Check out this story about linking future weather with Climate Change:
With Eye on Climate Change, Chicago Prepares for a Warmer Future - NYTimes.com “CHICAGO — The Windy City is preparing for a heat wave — a permanent one. Climate scientists have told city planners that based on current trends, Chicago will feel more like Baton Rouge than a Northern metropolis before the end of this century.  So, Chicago is getting ready for a wetter, steamier future.” (5/22/2011)
Why don’t we be reasonable and assume that our weather (now that carbon dioxide is 390 parts per million in our atmosphere, when it was 280 parts per million before the 1850’s) is being heavily influenced by Climate Change—and stop howling that every little tornado can’t be linked with climate Change? 

Prove it isn’t.

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