A Letter to my Environmental Science Professor Who Does Not Believe in Climate Change, Along with Some Reflections on Personal Cowardice

Oh what a terrible thing it is to be confronted with one’s own cowardice and the ensuing impotence. At the very moment that it would have been right and decent and honorable to pipe up, I did nothing but sit with my brow furrowed and my lips pursed. I did not speak. There were some salient points I could have raised. There were a few inconvenient truths I could have pointed out. But I was afraid. Although there was little to lose, I said nothing.

I who view myself as a stalwart champion and defender of the proper order and value of things, I who see myself as part of the last hold-out against total moral corruption and flagrant oppression and falsehood, I who fancy myself as possessor of some level of accurate insight and grasp of reality, I who identify with the outspoken revolutionaries and writers and the ones exiled to Siberia for refusing to put down their pens, I who have so very much to explicate and orate when surrounded by minds of a similar slant… today I stayed silent.

The following is a list of the questions I was not brave enough to ask:

On what basis do you discredit 98-99% of “the world’s climatologists?” Is it acceptable in science to say something is “lies” without proof? Is the scientific method only accurate when you personally agree with its findings? Did you know that believing Or disbelieving in something has no bearing on its veracity or falsehood? Did you know that your anecdotal, region-specific, selective memory-based evidence cannot win out against calculated, global measurements made by hundreds of sophisticated weather- and temperature-tracking devices outfitted with the latest in technology?

Why, Professor, did you only show us one side of the story and present it as true without showing us the other side’s evidence (which is far more plentiful and respected within the scientific community)? Doesn’t this video sound and look like propaganda? And when you present one side of an argument as absolute truth without entertaining thoughts that the other side may have some validity to it, do you not engage in the same refusal to listen that you so delightedly  accuse “pro-global warming” advocates of? Did you confirm or check any of the facts presented as truth in the documentary we viewed? Did you know a cursory Google search unearthed several detailed refutations of the video and your beliefs, by people with actual pedigrees in the field? Did you know expertise in the sciences is neither equivalent nor interchangeable? Is it possible you don’t understand the complexities of the climatology field as well as people who have dedicated their entire lives to its study? Did you know the crux of your argument–that volcanoes emit more CO2 than human activity–is not only patently false but was acknowledged as false by the director of the film, who later removed it from the movie? Did you know that the theory of cosmic rays as a cause of global warming has been definitively debunked, despite your vehemence otherwise? Did you know the MIT oceanographer whose credentials you gloated over and paused the movie for with the crowing “Do you think he’s qualified?” claimed after viewing the movie that he was duped into appearing and was unaware of the actual intent of the film? Did you mention that this program was slammed by scientists and critics after its release and contains numerous acknowledged inaccuracies and misleading charts and figures?

Do you know who paid for the production of this program? Did you know Lord Lawson of Blaby, who was featured in the film, not only contributed to the film but voted for the deregulation of financial markets and founded a climate change denialist think tank? Do you think he has no personal financial interest in denying climate change? Do you assume that people who agree with you have no biases or agendas? Did you know that oil, gas, coal, and other industries have agendas and goals which are at odds with the reality of climate change? Is it any coincidence then that they argue against the existence of human activity-induced climate change, against the regulation of their trade, and against the expected severity of climate change?

Have you ever thought that perhaps you find yourself in this particular scientific minority not because you are oppressed and “the establishment” is against you, not because the mass media has a very large, earth-sized chip on its shoulder against the forces of industry, but because you are flat-out wrong? You tell us of “fake news,” but is it possible your news is fabricated as well? Did you know that at all times forces are acting on us to convince us what to think and how to behave? Did you ever stop to think that maybe you are also being lied to? If you think we have all been duped by malevolent forces, is it not then logical to think you may have been duped as well?

As for me, I must examine the subject further. Certainly, oceans and aerosols and weather patterns and the sun and other greenhouse gases have some effect on climate. I do not claim to know the complexities, but it may be possible that your side has some validity to its claims. Despite my aversion to their findings, I will have to delve into their arguments without the impediment of personal bias (as much as is possible–I am only human after all). It may be that some of the claims are indeed false. It may also be that some of them are true. I wonder, though, if you would be willing to do the same.


If you are interested, the video, available on YouTube, is called “The Great Global Warming Swindle.”


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